Tundra v. F150 — Part I: Mechanicals
This comparison is from 2007 and is out-dated. Check out our 2009 Tundra vs. F-150 comparison instead.
As promised, we’re going to deliver a comprehensive comparison of the new 2007 Toyota Tundra to the best-selling truck in the world, the Ford F150. We’re going to start with the mechanical systems and components of the truck, specifically items where either manufacturer has a clear edge. This isn’t an exhaustive comparison, but it is going to give anyone considering both vehicles some helpful information.
Let Round One of Tundra v. F150 begin!!
Ford’s venerable 5.4L 24valve V8 has been around for a long time. The engine first saw production in 1997, with the latest incarnation, the clever 24 valve, first being produced in 2004. The 24 valve design comes from a sort of hybrid DOHC/SOHC set-up. The intake side has 2 separate valves and the exhaust side has only one. The idea is to provide more power and efficiency with 2 intake valves while reducing cost, complexity, and power loss by using only one exhaust valve. Fewer moving parts. The 5.4L Triton 3V produces 300HP at 5,000 RPM and 365lb-ft of torque at 3,750 RPM. The 5.4L Triton also uses some variable cam timing to increase power and efficiency. The engine’s reliability is average, with only a handful of issues known (some of the earlier motors blew spark-plugs out of the heads if not properly maintained, leading to full cylinder head replacement). Most impressively, this engine delivers nearly 300lb-ft of torque at only 1,000 RPM. Ford also offers a 4.6L V8, but most people purchase the 5.4 so it will not be discussed here.
Toyota’s 5.7L 32 valve V8 is brand new. Like all Toyota products, this engine uses a DOHC arrangement to generate a class-leading 381HP at 5,600 RPM and 401lb-ft of torque at 3,600 RPM. The biggest benefit to the DOHC system is excellent efficiency, with near complete combustion possible even at high RPM. The 5.7L also utilizes dual variable valve timing, meaning an incredible amount of electronic control over engine performance at a variety of RPMs. The 5.7L’s ability to generate 27% more horsepower with only 6% more displacement speaks volumes. While no reliability info is available yet, Toyota’s reputation leads us to believe this engine will be reliable.
WINNER: Toyota. Better engine electronics and better engine design lead to better performance.
With the aforementioned 5.7L, Toyota provides a 6-speed automatic. Ford only offers a 4-speed automatic. The additional gears help the Tundra to outperform the F150 not only in terms of acceleration and power, but also in terms of fuel economy. Toyota’s powertrain, even though it is 25% more powerful, has the same EPA rating as the F150 powertrain. 14mpg city and 18mpg highway.
WINNER: Toyota offers six speeds, Ford offers four. Six is better than four. Toyota wins again.
Both the Ford and the Toyota feature 4 wheel disc brakes with 4 wheel ABS standard. Furthermore, both vehicles have dual piston calipers up-front, and all four rotors are ventilated. Toyota’s front rotors are 13.9 inches in diameter, while Ford’s are only 13. Both Ford and Toyota have Electronic Brake Force Distribution systems.
When it comes to comparing brakes, the best comparison is performance. Edmunds.com conducted a test of the new 04′ F150 in 2004 — they used an extended cab 4×4 long box for the test. Edmunds.com measured a 60mph stop distance of 145.5 feet (empty truck). A 2007 Toyota Tundra double cab 4×4 limited short box was also tested by Edmunds.com. This vehicle measured a 60mph stop distance of 131 feet (also empty). All things being equal, the Tundra stops about 10% better than the Ford when similarly equipped. As far as brake fade and use during towing, larger rotors dissipate heat better than smaller rotors, leading us to conclude that the Toyota might be better for towing than the F150. The reality here is that no matter which truck you purchase, you’re going to stop pretty well.
WINNER: Toyota, but by a small margin. The good news is both these trucks stop pretty well.
This is the only area where Toyota might suffer. While the Tundra has a fully reinforced ladder type frame, it is obvious this frame was developed from a unibody chassis. Even though unibody frame strength has come a long way in the last decade, we can’t help but think that the strongest design is a traditional (albeit heavy) body on frame design. Ford’s frame is fully boxed from head to toe, while most of Toyota’s frame is a “C” channel. We don’t think that there’s anything wrong with Toyota’s design, but we think Ford’s design is better. However, the F150’s frame is significantly heavier. It’s probably a toss-up, but we think we need to let Ford win this one (just to keep it kinda close).
WINNER: Ford. Fully boxed frame from head to toe, true body-on-frame truck design.
How much can you put in the back of a Toyota Tundra? The maximum payload rating for the truck is 2,065 lbs, but that’s for a regular cab long bed 5.7L with 2wd. Show of hands that are going to buy that configuration? Anyone? That’s what we thought. The most likely truck is probably a double cab 4×4 5.7L standard bed, which can haul 1,580 pounds.
As for the F150, the max payload is 3,060 lbs, but that is also a regular cab long bed 5.4L with 2wd. An extended cab 4×4 5.4L with a 6.5 foot bed is rated to haul 1,710 lbs, or about 130lbs more than the Tundra. But, payload capacity is only half the question. Both vehicles offer built in tie downs, and both feature a tailgate assist feature. However, only the Toyota offers a slam-proof tailgate. We’ve all slammed a tailgate before and we know how much that can hurt if it hits a knee on the way down (or, even worse, you try to catch it as it falls and you end up hurting something else too). In any case, the two trucks are both close.
In our opinion, payload isn’t too big of a factor for most people buying these two trucks. Obviously, if you’re looking for a cheap work truck that can haul a lot, then the Ford is the one. On the other hand, if you’re an occasional hauler, Toyota’s tailgate feature compensates for it’s slightly lower payload rating.
WINNER: A tie. A push. Next topic.
Again, we see that the marketing geniuses at both Ford and Toyota are up to no good. Toyota says their truck can tow up to 10,800 lbs, and Ford now says their truck can tow 11,000 lbs, both “when properly equipped.” Just like before, these are both pretty odd trucks for anyone to buy that isn’t a commercial operator. Comparing the same 4×4 extended/double cab trucks with the same bed lengths, Toyota comes out on top. The Tundra double cab 4×4 5.7L standard bed can pull 10,300 lbs. The same F150 is only rated to pull 8,200 lbs.
WINNER: Toyota, buy a Ton(dra). Get it?!
In conclusion, Tundra’s more sophisticated powertrain gives it the edge in the mechanical performance department. Once again, Toyota has demonstrated a commitment to quality and ingenuity that supersedes that of it’s closest domestic competitor.
Up next for our comparison, Features and Pricing. Stay tuned.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons