Friday, July 15, 2016

Meet the Million-mile Toyota Tundra

May 07, 2016

Toyota engineers have long been proud of the durability they build into each and every Tundra full-size pickup, but even they were surprised when they saw Victor Sheppard's 2007 model. Sheppard, a long-haul driver from Houma, La., had put more than 1 million miles on his truck since he first purchased it, yet his Tundra was still in excellent shape. In fact, it still had its original engine, transmission and even paint job.

Toyota was so impressed that the company swapped Sheppard's faithful workhorse for a brand-new Tundra recently, so the automaker's experts could learn how to improve coming generations, too.

Said Mike Sweers, chief truck engineer for Toyota: "Having a million-mile truck in as pristine condition as this one with original parts is a truly rare find. Our team plans to tear down the entire truck, bumper-to-bumper, top-to-bottom to evaluate how the quality and safety we designed, engineered and built into the Tundra has held up to over 1 million miles of real-world driving and help us continue providing ever-better vehicles for our customers."

All that said, the Tundra's million-mile performance certainly didn't shock its owner.

According to Sheppard, "I believed [reaching that goal] wouldn't be a problem. These trucks are safe and dependable. I think if you see a Toyota on the side of the road, it might be a scam, because they just don't break down very often."

He should know, since that was his 15th Tundra, making the new truck from Toyota a very sweet No. 16. Now, the automaker won't promise this latest pickup will last as long as the previous one, but there's no reason it shouldn't. The 2016 models are that many years ahead of Sheppard's 2007 truck and, in fact, launched with more upgrades for the new selling season.

An important one is the enhancement to the Tundra's infotainment system, as that's a key for many of today's shoppers. With that in mind, Toyota has updated Entune technology in all trucks to the company's version 2.5, while delivering a particularly helpful advantage in the popular SR5 trim. Those entries garner an Entune Multimedia Plus setup that offers navigation functionality through the "Scout GPS Link App," allowing them to leverage a smartphone-style mobile app for low-cost nav resources. Integrated navigation, along with premium JBL audio, is available in higher Tundra trims.

Toyota designers also restyled the SR5, and the range-topping 1794 Edition, then delivered a number of performance enhancers for all Tundra models except for the SR and SR5. Among them: a standard integrated trailer brake control and a larger fuel tank, which grows in capacity from 26.4 gallons to 38, for a corresponding increase in driving range.

Finally, on the topic of driving, owners enjoy an all-V-8 powertrain lineup that tops out with 381 horsepower, 401 lb.-ft. of torque and a maximum tow rating of 10,500 lbs.

Pricing for the 2016 Toyota Tundra starts at $29,950.


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