From Power & Performance to Convenience Packages, 5 of the Best Factory-Equipped Options I Love About the 2nd Gen Toyota Tundra
The 2nd Generation Toyota Tundra spanned from 2007-2021, and an overwhelming amount of changes occurred both inside and out between the model years. Regardless of the generation, the Tundra has always been a well-polished and reliable vehicle that you would come to expect from Toyota.
There is plenty about the Tundra for someone to like. I mean, there is a lot that is attractive about this truck. After upgrading and tweaking some things to perform the way I wanted them to, I’d like to highlight the top 5 factory-installed features that made me choose this truck over the competition.
1. The i-FORCE 5.7 V8
We might as well start with addressing the elephant in the room. The old, reliable, and thirsty elephant!
What’s not to like about the 5.7L V8? I mean, aside from the gas mileage, but that’s just a small price to pay and really, the only con to this power plant that I think anyone can come up with.
The 5.7L V8 puts down a comfortable 381-horsepower with an exciting 400 lb/ft of torque. This is some pretty serious power when compared to other naturally aspirated V8 engines. None of which come close to matching in reputation for reliability, but that aside, this is a very attractive feature of the 2nd Gen Tundras.
If that 381 hp isn’t enough, plenty of people have 5.7 V8s with a Magnuson supercharger for a little extra boost. This drivetrain seems to handle a little extra power from a supercharger just fine.
The Tundra comes equipped with a trailer brake and a tow/haul feature, giving a sharper and more aggressive throttle response and longer shift points.
With that 381-horsepower, you also get 4.30 gears that retain the pep and provide positive feedback on the butt Dyno, even with oversized tires. I’m running 35” tires and have to be careful when shifting while going up a hill. Otherwise, I very quickly and accidentally can spin the rear tires.
Did I mention the best part? The 3UR-FE 5.7 V8 was assembled entirely in America!
2. 38-Gallon Fuel Capacity
On the note of fuel economy, the one feature I would not compromise on was the massive oversized 38-gallon fuel tank. If you have read any of my articles before, you know my fiancé and our gang of dogs drive back to Michigan very frequently from Iowa. In our 4Runner, we would make about 15 pit stops (yeah… you can see why the Tundra was needed). In the Tundra though? I could technically drive from my front door to my mother’s house while making one stop for gas.
As my Tundra sits now, I get about 10-12mpg around the city, and closer to 15-16mpg on the highway. With the standard 26-gallon fuel tank, I’d be constantly stopping. With the big 38-gallon fuel tank, I can keep on pushing for longer sprints.
The only misleading thing about Toyotas marketing is that while the fuel tank is 38-gallons (or 26.4 for standard Tundras), 6.4 of those gallons are stored in reserve to keep the fuel filter afloat. This means that while driving around with 38-gallons, you only actually get roughly 32-gallons of useable fuel (or 20 gallons for standard tanks).
Misleading? Yes. Disappointing? No. 32-gallons is still a lot of gas, especially for a 1/2 ton pickup. Compared to the “Big 3” (Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado), which all have between 24 and 26-gallon fuel tanks, the extended 38-gallon fuel tank is a big plus to have.
3. Interior Space
One thing that got my attention with the CrewMax was the space available inside the cab. There is tons of room in the back with a seemingly endless supply of storage opportunities.
Let’s start with the front though. The massive driver and passenger seats were the most comfortable part of the Tundra that I noticed on my first test drive. The armrests on the doors and enormous center console make these even more comfortable. The best way to describe driving a 2nd Gen CrewMax would be driving a California king mattress down the road.
The front driver’s seat offers a range of adjustments. Unfortunately, no lumbar support or fine-tuning is available for your passenger.
The rear seats fold up, opening your backseat footprint to double what it was with the seats folded down. This is incredibly helpful for me when taking all four of my dog’s places or hunting trips with the boys.
I wish I had photographed our hunting set up a few months ago; we used almost every square inch of the interior between the three of us to haul our rifles, packs, and all of our harvested deer home. I was thoroughly impressed with how much stuff we managed to fit in the back and still have an open seat for my buddy to nap comfortably on the way home.
Coming from a 4Runner with the rear seats deleted to the Tundra was a gamble for comfort for the dogs, but as soon as I let them up there for the first time, I realized it was the best choice.
4. Entertainment & Driving Tech
Now, the 2nd Gen is no 3rd Gen when it comes to tech. But, perhaps that is the appeal? Personally, I could do without adaptive cruise control and lane departure, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy using them on long drives.
The digital dash on the 2018-2021 Tundra is filled with a wealth of knowledge left easily accessible. The navigation through settings and disabling/enabling certain features can be done effortlessly on the fly. I recently caught a roofing nail in one of my tires. If it weren’t for the TPMS display available on the dash, diagnosing that issue would have been a little bit more annoying.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also a huge plus. This was something brand new to me coming from my 16’ 4Runner. The display is good, but my fiancés 21’ Tacoma blows it out of the water.
Obviously, the dash in the 3rd Gen is more admirable but the dash in my 21′ still provides what’s necessary. The backup camera resolution is useable, even at night and in inclement weather.
The sleek digital dash, safety tech, convenience features, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and little nuances here and there make this interior setup attractive.
Not because it’s the latest and greatest (because it isn’t), it works reliably and looks decent doing so.
5. Off-Road Capability
Bone stock, the Tundra is set up to tackle challenging terrain. With roughly 10.6” of ground clearance and Bilstein shocks equipped with the TRD Off-Road package equipped, it rides smoothly on the road and is comfortable on gravel. I now have a full HD Dobinsons IMS setup with SPC upper control arms and 35” tires. So, it’s a bit more capable and comfortable.
While we don’t get lockers in the Tundra from the factory or a manual shifting 4-wheel drive selector, we still get low range and high range 4-wheel drive, plus a limited-slip differential.
4-Hi produces an incredibly smooth and comfortable driving experience on a snow-covered highway. Much of our drive home from Michigan over our Christmas vacation was in or around snow storms and required some extra traction. In the Tundra, you can easily forget you’re even engaged in 4-wheel drive; it’s that smooth!
While there are some things here and there that I am not entirely in love with, there is not that much to complain about with the 2nd Gen Tundras.
Competitively speaking, the Tundra packs an enormous punch for a very competitive price tag with unmatched reliability and a sleek, comfortable, and very user-friendly design.