Toyota Tundra Cleans Up on 2013 Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings

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The December 2013 issue of Consumer Reports is out, but don’t bother picking it up. Nothing really has changed, the Toyota Tundra continues to dominate. Ho-hum…

Toyota Tundra Cleans Up on 2013 Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings

No real surprise here, the Toyota Tundra has cleaned up on the Consumer Reports reliability rankings.

Each year, it seems Consumer Reports puts another big reliability crown on the Tundra and critics claim that they are “foreign-car” biased. Yet, if owners fill out the surveys, how can consumer report be biased again?

Toyota Tundra Cleans Up on 2013 Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings

No surprise, the Toyota Tundra has cleaned up again in the Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings.

On this site, we have criticized Consumer Reports on many things including their “reviews” and their survey questionnaire. However, we don’t dispute that their findings are useful – to a degree. Like most things, buying a vehicle should included checking out many different sources like Consumer Reports, real-world owners feedback and news sites.

The interesting part for us is the findings on the EcoBoost. While we ran a story about owners feedback on the engine not too long ago, it seems that translates into the Consumer Reports findings. Even though it seems like the reliability rankings could be a hangover from MyFordTouch’s numerous issues, it looks like the EcoBoost issues are starting to have an effect. Consumer Reports points this out with “a significant numbers of respondents also reported problems with the Ford EcoBoost engine.”

What do you think of these reliability rankings?

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  1. Randy says:

    What can I say? That others have not already said? But in this case Consumer Reports did get it right; the reason is simple they actually talked to the consumers that buy and drive these trucks.

    Tim, like you said….consumers have to take in all the research they possibly can. After living with the EcoBoost for almost two years I had enough….it was always broken, in the shop, unreliable, and very dangerous….all due to the condensation issue. Ford had absolutely no interest in solving that problem for me and apparently none of their other customers.

    Nine of my friends also had Ecoboost over the last three years. Now only one still has it, and he is trading soon, looks like he is going RAM. Only three of those previous owners went back to Ford with the 5.0. All the others went to different brands. One of my friends went with the 2013 Tundra almost a year ago.

    This time around I also researched the dealers as well; it looks like I have found a real winner. The inside of the shop looks like a surgery center, all clean and sterile… actually looks like they know what they are doing. So far I have only been back to the dealer “one” time with the 2014 Tundra and that was for a free truck wash. This dealership knows how to roll out the red carpet and take care of customers. This is a Win for me, a Win for the dealership, and a Win for Toyota.

    For me things are very simple: If it don’t work I don’t want it. And when a dealer(s) and/or manufacturer will not stand behind a product I will not be back.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Sounds like you got burned, but made up for it by becoming a great consumer and really researched all the car buying pieces. Good job!


    • Joe says:


      What is your experience with Sierra/Silverado trucks? I am a Toyota fan but is thinking about buying a Sierra 2500 since there is no Tundra HD.


      • Randy says:


        They last Chevy 1500 was 1996; it was ok but not great. Just little things; passenger seat broke from floor, water pump, brakes, battery, power windows broke. Most of those things were between 25,000 and 50,000 miles. It was the last two Corvettes that soured me on GM, when they would not cover repairs – broken Valve Springs under warranty at 30,000 miles. Those events occurred in 2006 and 2009. The “best?” and largest GM-Corvette dealers in Dallas and Houston left me holding the bag on that one. So GM is off my list too.

        If I “needed” a ¾ or 1 ton I do not know what I would do; the quality and dealer service is not there in any of them? And that brings up a whole other issue: Gasser or Diesel with the EPA nightmares? Maybe RAM or Chevy; overall Chevy seems to have a slightly better reputation than RAM, but the dealers in Texas are bad. I mean that places you right back to square one: What good is this stuff if it don’t work?


  2. LJC says:

    The lion share of Ford’s truck line up is in the black above.

  3. Breathing Borla says:

    The tundra gets great ratings, that’s for sure. Toyota works hard at the reliability game and it shows. That’s why people buy them. The 3 I owned had minimal problems.

    Couple things….

    what are the * by the titan and Ram?

    A little more in the article would be nice. Like what happened to the Titan?

    Also, what happened to this Tim?

    These would add to the tundra is great and we are beating on the ecoboost now in the article and make it more well rounded.

    some more diverse discussion would have been nice like the fact that 1/2 ton Ram is on their recommended list for the first time ever I think, LOL.

    anyway keep up the hard work…

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Hey Breathing Borla,

      Nice to see you over here commenting once again!


    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Also, I agree with your view on the Ram and I saw that article as well. Except, this blog is about the Tundra, so I write articles for that audience.

      You keep plugging away on the Ram though, I congratulate you on your enthusiasm!


  4. Larry says:

    consumer report type reliability reports aren’t even worth reading.

    Reliability of a truck is not measured by looking at new trucks or trucks which are less then 3 years old.

    What is positive about Toyota? It’s the reports from those who own 4 cylinder Tacomas with 400,000 miles on them, not a news story about a new transmission in next years Tundra. I will say Toyota has a great history and that says a lot more then anything written by a magazine. My 19 years old T100 with the loser 3.0 V6 which still runs like the day it was new and now is working for a young friend who is keeping his money for a house instead of making truck payments. That T100 is better than any F150 ever built. Never blew out even 1 spark plug. It’s has towed my boat up thousands and thousands of miles long grades in 3rd gear at 4500 RPM all over UT, AZ, NM, WY, ID, CO, MT for 19 years and people call that engine a loser? The Toyota 4 and 6 engines are the best period and that history is a very good reason to suspect the next generation power trains will be equally as good.

    When a major publication knock a model because it has not changed that is one source to be crossed off the list. Change for the sake of change and to react to competition will almost always lead to something being kicked out the door before it’s ready. Any publication which takes about the interior configuration changes and how nice the seats are, or the radio controls are now in a nice location and are visually appealing,,, that publication goes into the fireplace.

    Anyone buying a truck needs to research for at least a year and talk with 100 owners minimum who have owned a model for 5 years or more. Know the weakness before you buy and when finding a component is weak seek out everything possible to see if any change has been made to improve the weak spot.

    I bought a Ram knowing full well the front suspension was a weak spot. This is known information, easy to find out about it. Anyone who buys a Ram and does not know the 4WD front bearing, and ball joint design is not good did not do their research and deserves that 1300.00 ball joint replacement bill. If they didn’t know it was made in Mexico they are not a red white and blue American as they put the buy American sticker on the tail gate.

    Is there anything in consumer reports about this bad design. I doubt it and if consumer reports did a serious right up about the weak Ram front suspension design, I doubt it will still be a problem because it would have been fixed by now.

    I have said this before,,,,, never buy a model with a major change like ecoboost, you can’t afford to take the risk.

    The fact the that Tundra has not changed much tells me more that anything I could read in a trade rag which gets paid to advertised what they review.d A good review would be,,,,, same as the last 5 years, nothing to fix, it’ ain’t broke, 5 stars!

    A word of caution and advise, when the Tundra comes out with a 3.0L twin turbo V6 with 500 HP,,,,,,,, don’t be a sucker, don’t buy it,,,, keep your money in the bank.

    Don’t even consider buying the next generation Tundra until it has great reports and a 5 year history. When your friends tell you it’s got 150,000 miles on it and it’s 5 years old and they have not touched a single bolt, then it’s time to buy. If you hear of major changes to the next model, then rush to the dealer to buy what works now, not what will fail next year. The fact that the Tundra is not changing is all positive.

    Be smart people, your financial security depends on it.

    Tim, I bet when you heard I bought a Ram you thought you had gotten rid of me once and for all and please tell the Toyota reps, you have talked with thousands of people who moved to Ram because Toyota doe not have a 6 speed manual trans in the Tundra. Sell it!

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Man, what do you put in your coffee?! 🙂

      Once again, I agree with many of your thoughts, I don’t quite agree with your statement on all reviews. Frankly, by your definition, my reviews by should be put in the fireplace. 🙂 People do want to know what’s new though. What the interior changes are, trim packages available, exterior changes, etc…

      Now, I also agree, that when manufactures change many powertrain options, there needs to be a word of caution in a review. Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it has been properly vetted. Yet, journalists are like other people and we get excited when it is new and shiny.

      On the 6-speed manual, I can certainly understand your desire for it, but no way does Toyota offer it. The new “auto-manual” transmissions and manual shifting options are the death of a true stick shift. Every car I have been in these days offer the manual option without a clutch. Sorry, but that is the future.


      • Larry says:

        You know I could have lived with a work truck with an automatic/planetary transmission with paddle shifters. I wonder if that will be coming one day when the new 8 speeds come along.

        The ram and ford had little buttons + – to go up and down in manual mode but, the paddles would be much better. I have drive cars with the paddles, not bad. One was a Subaru with a variable stack belt trans. No way I would touch one of those.

        Still think luxury trucks are a waste. Better to have a work truck and a car for non-work stuff.

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  6. Goldie says:

    No news here. Toyota are more reliable than other brands and all the surveys out there say the same thing. Consumer Report’s data basically matches every other survey out there (e.g. J.D Power Dependability, True Delta, etc.). I know a lot of people give Consumer Reports a hard time, but their probably the least bias media outlet because they purchase their own vehicles from local dealers instead of getting press loaners and do good controlled testing by trying to eliminate as many variables as possible. And they actually have automotive engineers setup the tests.

  7. breathing borla says:

    so what did happen to the Titan?

    They are below the abyss?

    also what were those * marks for on a few of the models.

    and congrats to the tundra for continuing to do it well!!

  8. Mickey says:

    Just because C/R gives the Tundra the best score, I’m not going to jump up on the fence and wave a flag. I gave up my subscription back in 07 for their worthless report. To this day I don’t refer to them or use them as a referral. I take C/R with a grain of salt period.

  9. Brad says:

    My 2004 Titan blew out the rear axle seals at 68,000 miles. Cause is now well known, but was a mystery to me until I found 500 similar episodes on the different truck sites on the web. Then I fond out about the cooling system issues,and several others. Worst was that the dealer knew about the problem by the time I had the repair work done and they tried to sell me a new Titan, if I was so dissatisfied. Most of the problems were with the 2004 to 2008 models and have been corrected on the newer models. I don’t know why Titan is still so poorly rated. But I bet the Nissan attitude and Nissan dealer attitudes have a lot to do with it.

    The Nissan handling of the problem is in stark contrast with my Toyota dealership. Which is why I traded the Titan for a 2012 Avalon Ltd. Yep, the axle seals were found to be blow out in about Feb 1, 2012. Truck driven every day so the seals were kept in use and lubricated with the rear end lube so that they were still pliable and had no chance to crack from hardening.

    Several service people have made me several unsolicited offers on my 2000 Avalon XLS over the last 5 years. Ask yourself why the different service guys, who serviced this car, wanted to buy a car with 100,000 to 135,000. miles on it. Terrific car. Leather and interior still look new after 13 years.

    Toyotas are just made for the long haul. No way I am going to trade the 2000 Avalon for my 2014 Tundra when I buy it later this year or early next year. After 13 1/2 years, it is not worth much in the Kelly Blue Book but is is very valuable to me. Car refuses to die. i expect the same from the new Avalon and the Tundra.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Thanks for chiming in about your Nissan issues. I tried to track down some information, but it looks like everything has been corrected like you say. Your right, it could be residual issues and dealer issues that is pulling the score down.

      Again, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy your new Tundra when you get it.


  10. Brad says:


    Most Toyota buyers have a need for maximum utility with minimum fuss from their trucks and tend to be more conservative. I believe that it is these factors tha have hurt the Titan. We conservative buyers are quite willing to spend good money for quality but we are not happy with bad service or poor dependability since trucks tend to break down in hard get to places more than urban dweller cars do.

    I think that memories of bad things tend to linger longer and more strongly in a more mission critical vehicle like a truck than an urban commuter. ie: breakdown on a Saturday fishing trip with the wife and kids or the buddies. I think this is part of the problem as well as the attitude of Nissan or the very poor support and attitude I got from my Nissan dealer. From other posts on forums on the web,this attitude problem from the dealer is not isolated to my former Nissan dealer. A lolt of owners have been told, “Tough luck. I can make you a great deal on a newer model of the same truck.”

    This is where Toyota wins out big time and is part of what you pay for when you buy your Tundra. Toyota dealers, for the most part, cater to the customer and the owner. I know that their may be some bad apples in the bunch, but by and large the experiences that I have seen in the various forums and from myself and other Toyota owners that I know, including ranchers and farmers, is that Toyota, and their dealers do things right. The service areas are spotlessly clean, the service writers are polite, helpful and actively seek to educate the customer, even the wives, and the personnel are very polite and just roll out the red carpet every time we are there.

    So, yes, I think you are correct: long memories and les than sterling customer service from the dealers.

    Toyota is breath of fresh air. Which is why is why I will buy the Tundra, regardless of what they give off MSRP. Besides, my wife insists upon it. She is THAT sold on Toyota.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Well heck, if your wife wants you to buy an amazing truck, what’s stopping you. LOL!

    • Larry says:

      Well, the service and parts dept. at the Toyota dealer where I got my Toyota was so bad, I wouldn’t let them do an oil change.

      Yes, it was clean, they were polite, and they didn’t fix issues correctly. If the parts dept. didn’t have something I needed it was like pulling teeth to have them get what I needed.

      I have to blame most of the issues with the people who go back to them an pay for such poor service. One incident was for a recall for a front steering component. When they reassembled it, the steering wheel was not lined up. When I pointed it out they wanted to charge me to take it apart an do it right. I would not even let the do a free recall job after that.

      Funny thing, this franchise is part of a multi state network of what must be 15 – 20 dealerships of all major brands. Don’t know how they get away it. The Toyota was fine the dealer was not.

  11. Anonymous says:


    I am waiting until after Jan 1. Too many expenses right now. Besides, the 2014’s have been moving off the lots fairly well. I thought I would wait until they are not selling quite so well after the new model glow has faded a bit. Maybe will work in my favor. A calculated risk, I know.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Just so you are aware, Toyota is not on of those truck makers who offers better deals as the model year ends – typically. The facts are that there ordering and building schedule combined with low volume means they don’t have a lot of inventory to move after the first of year or near the 2015 model comes out. It just isn’t how they do business. Just keep that in mind.

      Let us know what you end with!

  12. Brad says:


    I see that the 4×2 Tundra reliability is about 45% and the 4×4 is about 22.5% (roughly). Please help me extrapolate, if you can.

    Does this mean that the 4×4 Tundra has about half the problems that the 4×4 Tundra has? I know that Toyota went with a new transfer case for 2014. Will this help or hurt the reliability figures, in your opinion. I was going to get a 4×4 Platinum or 1794 until I saw this in the report. It is logical that the 4×4 trucks get rougher treatment – but not all will get rougher treatment. For instance, for me, the main advantage of a 4×4 will be about 1-3 times a year getting a TT in and out of less than optimal RV parks and 1-3 times a year for maneuvering the TT in compound low when very low speeds are needed, while allowing the engine to rev higher to develop enough power, for getting into and out of tight spaces such as the storage shed, putting the trailer on a ramp for service of the trailer, etc. A user such as me would not be taking truck into back rough country or off road for more than a few hundred feet – not off road all day and surely not rock crawling. Only other use I can foresee is on a moss or seaweed-covered boat ramp.

    Any thoughts on the difference in reliability?

    BTW, I was the anonymous above. Forgot to include my name on the post. And, yes, I have new Tundra fever badly. Salivating really.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Good question! Here are mine and Jason’s responses (Jason is the editor of this site and has been doing this longer than I).

      My response: My assumption on the findings of the difference between 2WD and 4WD is in several items. First, is in the way people use 4WD pickups for harder tasks and weather conditions. Typically, 2WD trucks aren’t used in many northern climates were salt and weather conditions take a harsher toll on items. Also, 2WD owners aren’t known for doing massive towing trips like 4WD owners. Lastly, and probably most importantly, all makers sell 4WD pickups more than 2WD and thus there is more feedback on them.

      Jason’s thoughts: “It may be that 4wd owners are harder on their trucks and thus the 4wd models are less reliable.

      However, we see a lot of “noise” in CR data. Two identical trucks (like a Chevy 1500 and GMC 1500) will get different reliability ratings…which clearly indicates (to me, at least) that there’s a problem with the data.

      As you know, CR gets their data from surveys, most of which are completed by their subscribers. If 70% of CR subscribers who own GM trucks have a Chevy (and the rest a GMC), the data they collect has the potential to be skewed quite a bit when the two trucks are compared.

      Thus, it may be that there are more CR subscribers who own 2wd Tundras, and that this larger volume of surveys for 2wds makes those seem more reliable (or perhaps it’s the opposite). CR doesn’t share the survey response data to my knowledge (likely because it would expose a pretty big problem with their system), so we can only guess.

      Suffice to say the Tundra’s true reliability must be somewhere in between the two ratings.”

      Good question!


  13. Brad says:

    Tim and Jason,

    Thank you. I think it is a given that the 4×4 owners will be harder on the trucks overall than the 4×2 owners. And this should be taken into account when evaluating the data.

    Since the 2014 models use a different manufacturer (Borg-Warner?) of the transfer case than earlier models, and since Toyota vets all their suppliers very carefully, it would seem logical to expect that the 4×4 reliability would be improved for 2014 models. Yes?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I haven’t heard that they changed the makers of their transfer case, that’s news to me. With that said, I wouldn’t necessarily leap to the conclusion that it is “better.” We haven’t heard to many complaints on the old case. My two cents? I wouldn’t make this part of your buying decision.


  14. Brad says:


    Thank you. That’s good advice.

    I had read somewhere that Toyota had changed to obtaining the transfer cases from a United states manufacturer/source in order to increase the percentage of domestic parts in the truck. I could very well be wrong.

  15. Brad says:

    OK, I found it.

    In an online article on:

    The following appears:
    ” The 2014 Tundra does have a new transfer case from BorgWarner (similar to the Ford F-150’s), which gives it a slight gearing advantage with a 2.64:1 low-range ratio when compared to the previous Japanese transfer case.

    (Since BorgWarner is a U.S. company, this will help the Tundra improve its U.S. content percentage. Toyota calculates this new truck to have 75 percent U.S.-sourced content.)

    Along with the new transfer case, Toyota has located a new four-wheel-drive dial within easy right-hand reach of the driver, so switching from 2WD to 4WD High range can now be done in excess of 60 mph (not something easily done with the previous chain-drive T-case).”

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      THANKS for the link! I’m on a break this week and just responding to comments. I’ll run a full article next week.


  16. Brad says:


    Sounds great. I didn’t mean to hijack the thread. Sorry.

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