KBB Ranks Tundra Second To Last In 2010 Truck Comparison

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While there are some caveats given, Kelly Blue Book’s 2010 truck comparison placed the Tundra 4th overall behind the F-150 (1st), Ram 1500 (2nd), and Chevy-GMC 1500 (3rd), with the Titan coming in last (5th). While it’s not very clear as to how the scoring system works or how exactly the Tundra comes in 4th, here are the criteria used by KBB and how each truck was ranked in their comparison:

Exterior Styling Interior Styling Driving Dynamics Value Safety Crash Test Ratings Score Final Ranking
Ford F-150 1st 1st 2nd 3rd 3rd 1st 83.9 1st
Ram 1500 3rd 2nd 1st 2nd 4th 2nd 83.8 2nd
Chevy-GMC 1500 4th 4th 3rd 1st 1st 2nd 80.0 3rd
Toyota Tundra 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 1st 5th 75.6 4th
Nissan Titan 5th 5th 5th 5th 5th 4th 66.9 5th

According to KBB.com, the Tundra’s main shortcoming is that it is “Not as configurable as the domestics.” While it’s certainly not surprising to see the Tundra dinged for offering fewer versions of the truck – Toyota simply doesn’t compete with Ford, GM, or Ram when it comes to Toyota’s very limited new vehicle ordering process – it’s a little odd to see this listed as the main shortcoming of a vehicle. After all, if a particular individual was perfectly content with one of the Tundra’s standard configurations, the Tundra would then have no “main” shortcomings.

It’s also odd to see “exterior styling” carry an equal weight in a comparison like this. Something so subjective really has no business in a comparison. Even the Tundra’s looks were 2nd best, so what? Who among us wouldn’t drive the ugliest truck in the world if it did the job we needed? Even though ride and handling feel are a little objective as well, there are some real-world implications. Looks? They shouldn’t matter to anyone.

Areas where the Tundra is admittedly weak:

  • Ride – Compared to the Ram, all other half-ton trucks ride pretty poorly. Compared to the newest F-150, the Tundra’s ride is a step behind. Compared to the newer GM trucks? It depends on the suspension package the truck comes with.
  • Handling feel – Put the trucks on a skidpad, and there’s not a lot of difference in their abilities. However, the Tundra’s steering feel is very “Toyota-esque”, which is to say it’s a little vague.

Areas where the Tundra is strong:

  • Safety – KBB’s comparison has the Tundra tied for 1st place in their safety rating, yet for some inexplicable reason they have the Tundra listed 5th in crash test ratings. If you look at the IIHS ratings for 2010 pickups, as well as NHTSA ratings, it’s hard to understand how KBB came to the conclusion the Tundra’s crash test results were the worst of the bunch. Perhaps it’s because the 2010 Regular Cab Tundra only gets 4 stars from NHTSA in driver’s side tests?
  • Engine and Transmission – The Tundra’s 6-speed transmission is consistently hailed as the best available in the class, and KBB supports this saying that one of the Tundra’s strengths is a “powerful, smooth powertrain.”
  • Brakes – The Tundra still has the largest front and rear disc brakes in it’s class, despite the design being older than Ford’s F-150, GM’s trucks, or the Ram. KBB didn’t compare the braking power of the trucks (at least, if they did, they didn’t publish their findings).
  • Towing ability – While the F-150’s integrated trailer brake controller and towing stability control system are best in class, the Tundra’s strong powertrain and big brakes offer excellent performance while towing. Larger brakes are more resistant to fade, and considering how much most reviewer’s like the Tundra’s power it should be at or near the top of the list in this category. Unfortunately, KBB didn’t compare towing either.
  • Resale value – Toyota resale value has taken a hit in the last few months, but it has historically been significantly better than other models. KBB didn’t include resale in their comparison.

KBB’s comparison says that, even though the Tundra comes in 4th, it’s “one of the four worth considering.” While the Tundra definitely isn’t head and shoulders above the competition like it was 3 years ago, it’s still a very good truck. The good news is that, all things being equal, almost all of the half-ton trucks on the market today are very, very good.


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  1. Beezwax says:

    How does the Tundra get 1st in Safety but 5th in Crash Test?

  2. Brian J says:

    That is an awefully subjective score. I drove 3 of those 5 trucks before settling on my Tundra. The Chevy was ho-hum, th Ford was nice, but not quite my style, and the Tundra was just awesome (amazing since I went to rule OUT the Tundra, not buy one). The exterior/interior styling, ride, and value are all awesome in my opinion. I like a truck that rides…well, like a truck! If I wanted a car-like ride I would buy an SUV or a car. And how do u measure value anyway? I think their test is bogus. Also, it was easier to get a Tundra equipped how I wanted for the price I wanted to pay than it was to get a Ford or Chevy with similar options and the same big V-8 tow package, so I think availability is also subjective to what you desire in a truck. No doubt the domestics have more options, but do we really need all of them?

  3. mk says:

    Best ride= Dodge Ram and then probably Chevy Silverado/Ford then tundra (choppier over rough roads) (no experience with titan)
    Best engine and tranny and brakes=Tundra no question about it
    Best turning radius=tundra well better than Chevy Silverado
    Best looks=subjective, but my opinion only is Tundra, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Titan

    When all is said and done, I choose the best engine/tranny/brakes when it comes to a truck despite the tundra’s minor flaws here and there.

  4. Mickey says:

    I agree with Beez. How can they state safety and we got a bad mark in crash safety. Another reason I prefer NADA over Kelly blue book.

  5. danny says:

    jason wrote “Tundra’s steering feel is very “Toyota-esque”, which is to say it’s a little vague.”

    I thought it was just me. I had never heard anyone mention this before. To me, the steering feels it has toooo much power steering assistance and the tight/fast turning radius makes for over compensation at highway speeds.
    As for “ride”, i’m still not use to the jiggling feeling. I dont know which is worse, a serious “thud” in a chevy or a bunch of lil’ jiggles in a Tundra.
    Engine and tranny, excellent so far!
    Looks, a 2 way tie. Tundra crew max and the crew cab F-150. crew cab Sierra/Silverado in 3rd(with the z-85 and/or z-71 package)
    Braking, definitely Tundra. Found out 1st hand 2 days ago. I thought i was gonna get ejected through the front windshield.
    Interior styling, well the Tundra needs some ergonomic work but i do like it’s simplicity.

  6. mk says:

    don’t agree with the tundra having vague steering and overcompensating at hwy. speeds. Must be you since mine is fine although my 2009 Corolla sure does suck compared to my 2010 tundra’s steering. The corolla has the new electronic steering eliminating the power steering fluid and is way to vague steering at hwy. speeds. Basically, no feel to the electronic pwr. steering and won’t be surprised this system gets recalled down the line for it’s horid feel and possible failure down the line. Sorry to get off topic, but tons of complaints on this electronice pwr. steering on the 2009 corolla on up are pouring in. Just heard on the news another potential recall on engine failure might happen on a couple of cars toyota/lexus has on the road. Gee, Toyota has their work cut out for them to restore consumer faith and loyalty. Sorry to get off topic a tad.

  7. Jason says:

    mk – A lot of people dislike electronic steering, but I suspect automakers will have it calibrated soon. As for the Tundra’s vague feel, it’s definitely subjective. I’ve never been a fan of Toyota steering feel, but every car is a little different, so maybe I’ve just had some with extra assist.

  8. Justin says:

    Regarding why the Tundra got 1st in Safety, but 5th in Crash Test Ratings, here are my thoughts. The Tundra may have VSC, side-curtain airbags and all the other safety items to boost it to the top of available safety equipment. But when the truck is in an accident, it depends on how the trucks crumples and how the driver is impacted (injuries) in the crash. So yes you could have all the safety equipment in the world, but that doesn’t mean the truck itself is good in an accident. Just means you have more equipment to protect you, doesn’t mean that equipment works to the best of its ability.

    And of course as most will know, these results don’t surprise me one bit. Sure some of the items may be subjective, but they stated this in the article if you had read it. And it wasn’t just one person judging the trucks, was a group decision. They came out with their likes/dislikes of these trucks. Does it mean they are right? No. And because you disagree, does that mean you are right? No.

    Keep in mind this statement they made “But remember, the truck we rated tops isn’t necessarily the best choice for you and your needs. For instance, the best truck for towing isn’t the most comfortable on the highway, so the final decision rests on your shoulders.” To me they rated these trucks as the best “overall” top to bottom. Doesn’t mean it has to be #1 in every category, but was near the top in most categories and as the #1 Synopsis states “The best all-around pickup available today”.

  9. Jason says:

    Justin – Good point about crash safety. My guess is that 5th place in crash tests sounds a lot worse than it really is. Based on NHTSA and IIHS ratings, there’s not a lot of difference between these trucks.

    I hear what you’re saying about the inherent subjectivity of comparisons like this. If a person was forced to consider only one truck regardless of personal circumstance or experience, the F150 is probably the safe bet. Ford offers 100’s of different configurations (one for every buyer), their quality is very good, and they’re roughly as capable as any truck on the road (give or take). Having said that, I think buying a Tundra is a damn good choice. Great power, solid safety, and above-average resale make it a very safe choice.

    In fact, I’d say that every truck on the list is worth considering…even the lowly Titan! 🙂

  10. Garry says:

    Well I was an avid F-150 til the comparison power performance kills all others look at the raptor 8.1sec 0-60mph …with all that engine that is as far as ford is willing to go? I would hate to see what Toyota would do if they were ever inclined to offer multiple platforms. As far as looks.. tundra and dodge ram Hands down look like they would jerk the frame out from whatever vehicle to do a Money comparison yeah the tundra is a pricey beast but look at what you would have to pay to get the same performance stats as a tundra

  11. Justin says:

    Garry: I’m still curious, exactly what is the big deal with 0-60 times in a full-size truck again? Unless it’s a sport truck similar to a Lightning that is. Oh yeah, for bragging rights, I forgot. Look at the figures Ford is generating out of the new and much smaller 5.0L Coyote. I’m sure Ford could compare to the Tundra in 0-60 times using the 6.2L and come close with the 5.0L, depending on how they set these trucks up. But you know what, full-size trucks aren’t all about speed, otherwise the Tundra 5.7L would be selling much better than it is. Ford knows this and builds an overall truck, rather than putting most their investment into a great motor/tranny combo and cutting corners in other areas.

    Toyota isn’t able to offer multiple platforms, not that they don’t want to. The costs they spent on the new Tundra design and the plant in San Antonio (which they had to convert over to build Tacomas too since they cut 2/3 of the Tundra builds), clearly isn’t bringing in the revenue they had projected. Especially since the gas crunch of 2008 and the recent recession. So trying to bring in a 3/4-1 ton class truck, and building another new facility to build these trucks, the sales just aren’t there to make it a wise investment.

    So you base your performance stats of 0-60 times as the reason the Tundra is slightly more expensive. No wonder there aren’t nearly as many of them, nor the ’09+ Hemi 5.7 on the road, since buying a truck is about much much more than 0-60 times.

  12. Jason says:

    Justin – Arguably, you make a great point. If trucks were all about speed, the Tundra, Ram, and big motor GMs would be selling better than the F150. However, speed is a good measurement of performance while towing, so I think it’s a metric worth considering.

    As for your point about the HD Tundra, you’re absolutely correct about the economics of the situation. Toyota isn’t going to build an HD truck until they’re confident they can sell enough to turn a profit. At this point, 2014-2015 is the earliest point it will occur. Rest assured that it is being discussed at Toyota – it seems that they’re not going to back away from the truck segment anytime soon.

  13. Justin says:

    Jason: And of course, you also make a great point on the speed being a good measuring stick for towing. Then again, it could be dependent upon how, what and where you tow. I know many people dislike towing with the Ram HEMI because it’s a high revving motor and there isn’t enough of its power in the lower RPM range to get the load moving well, even with the 3.90 gears. Of course course the 5spd they still drop in the Ram doesn’t help when the others are running 6spds.

    skid steer attachments: Bobcat? What are you referring to?

  14. Garry says:

    Justin and Jason
    My condition Physically Due to Combat action in Afghanistan,
    has put me in a wheelchair for life so the prospects of a Mustang Camaro Challenger etc is not as forgiving as a truck.so when I did a comparison and pricing the teenager inside me was fond of the performance plus the attributes of a truck w/out having to go to the expense of a expedition plus the performance aspect has other reputable truck owners spending alot more to get what comes stock in mine and still not have the look of a nasty beast of a truck

  15. Garry says:

    Justin the 8.1 0-60 is the 6.2L according to truck trend magazine

  16. Jason says:

    Justin – I hear you on the Ram – that engine is excellent, but the extra transmission gear really helps with performance.

    Garry – First of all, my thanks and gratitude for your efforts in Afghanistan. Secondly, I think a lot of people choose pickups or SUVs for similar reasons. It definitely makes sense to think about the Tundra simply b/c it’s got the TRD supercharger with the factory warranty. There are lots of trucks with avialable S/C’s, but the warranty and the fact it’s made by TRD are nice.

    Having said that, there are lots of add-ons already on the Raptor. It’s a tough call either way! 🙂

  17. Justin says:

    Garry: You can always get a dealer installed Rosch or Kenne Bell S/C installed on any model F150, including the Raptor without voiding the warranty.

    And TRD is nice, but prefer products from SVT myself. But to each their own.

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