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2021 Toyota Tundra Review

The 2021 Toyota Tundra finishes near the bottom of our full-size truck rankings. It trails rivals in most areas, including cabin quality, fuel economy, and towing and hauling capacity.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V8 engine
  • Spacious seats
  • Lower towing and hauling capacities than most competitors
  • Unimpressive cabin materials
  • Poor gas mileage and jarring ride quality

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Toyota Tundra's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Full Size Pickup Trucks category. Currently the Toyota Tundra has a score of 6.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 110 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 4.8
Performance: 5.9
Interior: 6.5
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.3 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Toyota Tundra?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Toyota Tundra a Good Truck?

No, the Toyota Tundra is not a good truck. Its V8 engine packs a punch, there are lots of standard and available features, and both rows of seats provide plenty of space. But in most other respects, the Tundra lags well behind the competition.

The Tundra hasn't been redesigned in over a decade, and it feels well past its prime. Its interior is less stylish and modern than that of other trucks, and the materials quality is subpar. The seats aren't that comfortable, and occupants will feel it whenever the Tundra hits a bump in the road. This Toyota also gets poor gas mileage and is difficult to maneuver because of its size. To cap things off, the Tundra's maximum towing and hauling capacities are among the lowest in the full-size pickup truck class.

2021 Toyota Tundra Dimensions and Weight

  • Length: 19 feet, 1 inch to 20 feet, 8 inches
  • Height: 6 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 5 inches
  • Curb Weight: 5,170 to 5,670 pounds
Why You Can Trust Us: 110 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 Tundra review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2007.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota Tundra?

There are much better options than the Tundra. Almost every other full-size truck brings a lot more to the table than this Toyota, and they do so while costing about the same. Instead of the Tundra, you should check out alternatives like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500.

Compare the Tundra, F-150, and Silverado »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota Tundra: What's the Difference?

The 2021 Toyota Tundra is virtually identical to the 2020 model. The only notable changes for the 2021 model year are the addition of two special editions packages called the Trail Edition and the Nightshade.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Tundra »

The current generation of the Tundra debuted for the 2007 model year and received a facelift for 2014. Here are the key changes for the Tundra over the last few years:

  • 2016: updated infotainment system
  • 2017: no notable changers
  • 2018: added Toyota Safety Sense package to the standard features list; Regular Cab body style dropped; TRD Pro trim dropped for one year
  • 2019: TRD Pro trim returned to lineup
  • 2020: 5.7-liter V8 engine became sole engine offering; gained standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus larger standard and available touch screens
  • 2021: Trail and Nightshade special edition packages available

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Tundra, 2019 Tundra, and 2020 Tundra reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota Tundra Cost?

The Tundra starts at $33,675. That's an above-average starting price for a full-size pickup, but keep in mind that the Tundra lacks lower-end powertrain options and a regular cab body style. It also has more standard equipment than most rivals. The Tundra Platinum and 1794 Edition have the highest starting prices of any Tundra model: $48,895. That's a bargain compared to many rivals' top-trim prices, some of which sit north of $60,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Tundra Versus the Competition

Toyota Tundra vs. Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is an annual challenger for the top spot in our full-size truck rankings because it does just about everything well. The F-150 can tow more than 13,000 pounds, which is one of the highest ratings in the class, and it has a much larger payload capacity than the Tundra. The F-150 gives you half a dozen engine options, from V6s to a V8, along with turbocharged and diesel variants. The Ford also offers a smoother ride and more composed handling than the Toyota. Additionally, though it’s not quite in luxury territory, the F-150 has an impressive cabin with user-friendly features.

Compare the Tundra and F-150 »

Toyota Tundra vs. Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is a compact pickup truck, so it's more like the Tundra's little brother than a true competitor. The Tundra is obviously bigger, and it has a more spacious cabin and higher towing and hauling capacities. It also has a much more powerful engine. The Tacoma, on the other hand, feels more modern, with better interior build quality and user-friendly tech features. The Tacoma is also a great off-road truck thanks to two of its TRD trims (TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro), and it gets better gas mileage than the Tundra.

Compare the Tundra and Tacoma »

Compare the Tundra, F-150, and Tacoma »

Tundra Performance: Plenty of Power, but Not Much Else

Tundra Engine

The Toyota Tundra features a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The Tundra has brisk acceleration and good power, but some rivals have more impressive engines, and most have a wider array of options to choose from. Most critics find that the six-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly.

Tundra Gas Mileage

The 2021 Tundra earns EPA fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, regardless of drivetrain. Those ratings are well behind rivals with smaller engines, but they're also poor compared to V8-powered rivals.

Tundra Ride and Handling

Even by large truck standards, the Tundra's handling and ride quality leave room for improvement. The suspension does a poor job absorbing road imperfections, especially larger ones. This Toyota has uninspiring handling as well, and its size makes maneuverability a challenge in cramped areas.

Tundra Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 10,200 pounds, and it can haul up to 1,730 pounds. Almost every other full-size pickup truck can tow and haul more than the Tundra.

Read more about performance »

Tundra Interior: It's Seen Better Days

Tundra Cargo Space

You expect a truck to be a great cargo hauler, and the Tundra fits the bill. It's available with 5-foot-6-inch, 6-foot-6-inch, and 8-foot-1-inch beds, depending on cab style. However, the bed has a high floor and tall sides, which can make it tough to load heavy cargo.

How Many People Does the Tundra Seat?

The Tundra seats up to six people, and both cab styles feature two rows of seats. You get plenty of head- and legroom up front and in the back, and rear legroom is especially impressive in the CrewMax cab. However, the seats aren't as comfortable as in class rivals.

Tundra and Child Car Seats

All Tundra models have two complete sets of rear-seat LATCH connectors, in addition to a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Tundra Interior Quality

This Toyota truck has a large cabin with a functional design, but it's a stark reminder of how long the Tundra has gone without a redesign. There are a lot of cheap-feeling materials, and its interior is not as stylish, modern, or upscale as those of most rivals.

Tundra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The standard Entune infotainment system works OK, and it has a responsive touch screen. However, the interface isn't as user-friendly as some competitors' setups. The virtual buttons are small, and some menus and functions can be hard to navigate through.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, three USB ports, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a seven- or nine-speaker stereo, navigation, and a 12-speaker JBL premium stereo
  • Other available features: a rear-sliding window (Double Cab) or power-retractable rear window (CrewMax), dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a moonroof

Read more about interior »

Tundra Reliability

Is the Toyota Tundra Reliable?

The 2021 Tundra does not yet have a predicted reliability rating, but most models in this generation rate above average or better.

Toyota Tundra Warranty

Toyota covers the Tundra with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Tundra Safety

Tundra Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Tundra an overall safety rating of four out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test, four stars in the frontal crash test, and three stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet tested the 2021 Tundra.

Tundra Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

Where Is the Toyota Tundra Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 Tundra in Texas.

Which Toyota Tundra Model Is Right for Me?

The Tundra comes in six trims: SR, SR5, Limited, TRD Pro, Platinum, and 1794 Edition. Before you pick a trim, however, you need to determine which cab and bed you want, as not every trim is offered with both cab styles or all three bed lengths. You can add four-wheel drive to any model (other than the TRD Pro, which comes standard with 4WD) for about $3,000.

Once you've chosen your desired cab/bed combo, it's time to pick a trim. If you're going to get a Tundra, the Limited makes a good choice. It comes with comfort features such as leather upholstery and heated front bucket seats, along with convenience upgrades including dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and navigation.

Toyota Tundra Powertrain Options:
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Toyota Tundra Appearance Packages:
  • Running Boards (prices start at $345)
  • Nightshade Special Edition (prices start at $1,000; available in Limited): black wheels, darkened chrome grille, black mirror caps, black exhaust tip, black door handles, and black badging (only available with select exterior colors)
  • SR5 Upgrade package: (prices start at $945; available in SR5): larger fuel tank, front bucket seats, driver's seat with power lumbar support, front center console with floor-mounted urethane shift lever and knob, tilting and telescopic urethane steering wheel, and three front cup holders
  • Trail Special Edition With Options (prices start at $4,000; available in SR5): 18-inch split five-spoke alloy wheels with dark gray finish, all-terrain tires, lockable insulated bed storage boxes with additional insulation on the driver's side, 1794-grade grille with color surround, black exterior badging, spray-on bedliner, black seating with unique tan stitching, all-weather floor liners, a deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats, and the contents of the SR5 Upgrade package
Toyota Tundra Work Packages/Options:
  • SR Work Truck package (price reduction of $275; available in SR): vinyl seating and flooring; removes keyless entry
  • Deck Rail System (prices start at $125; available in SR): deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats
  • TRD Off-Road/Sport package (prices and features vary depending on trim): 20-inch TRD Sport alloy wheels, sport-tuned Bilstein shocks, skid plates, tow hooks, TRD front and rear sway bars, body-color front and rear bumper caps and grille surround, LED headlights and fog lights, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, front bucket seats, a 38-gallon fuel tank, TRD-branded floor mats, and a TRD-branded shift knob and hood scoop

Toyota Tundra Trims:

Toyota Tundra SR

The Tundra SR carries a base price of $33,675. Standard features include cloth upholstery, four-way manually adjustable front seats, heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, three USB ports, voice recognition, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control. 

Toyota Tundra SR5

The Tundra SR5 retails for $35,365 and adds an 8-inch touch screen, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, and fog lights. Double Cab models receive a seven-speaker stereo, while CrewMax models get a nine-speaker version.

Toyota Tundra Limited

Starting at $42,390, the Tundra Limited comes with LED headlights and fog lights, a deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, and navigation.

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro costs $48,775. Standard features include enhanced interior and exterior design elements, front tow hooks, a front skid plate, TRD Pro front shocks, and Fox rear shocks. TRD Pro CrewMax models also come with a sunroof. This is the only trim that comes standard with four-wheel drive.

Toyota Tundra Platinum

The Tundra Platinum starts at $48,895. It comes standard with ventilated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a vertical power rear window, a 12-speaker JBL premium stereo, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition

The Tundra 1794 Edition has the same base price as the Platinum ($48,895) and shares nearly all of the same features, with some different interior and exterior styling.

Which Tundra Cab Style Is Right for Me?

Some other full-size pickups have three cab styles, but the Tundra comes in just two: Double Cab and CrewMax. Both have a second row of seats, meaning that every Tundra has a back seat. The standard Double Cab is roomy enough for most adults to ride in the back relatively comfortably. However, its 34.7 inches of rear legroom is less than you get in Toyota models like the Camry sedan and RAV4 SUV. 

If you regularly travel with adults or taller passengers in the back, you’ll want to spring for the Tundra CrewMax. This crew cab serves up a massive 42.3 inches of rear legroom. By comparison, the Ford F-150 has 43.6 inches of rear legroom in its largest cab, and the Nissan Titan only has 38.5.

It's easy to get in and out of the rear seats of each Tundra cab style, as both have conventional front-hinged rear doors. Other trucks with half-sized second rows (Ford F-150 SuperCab and Nissan Titan King Cab) have the doors hinged at the rear, which requires opening the front doors to get in and out.

Which Tundra Bed Length Is Right for Me?

The Tundra is available in three different bed lengths: 5 feet, 6 inches; 6 feet, 6 inches; and 8 feet, 1 inch. Choosing between them largely depends on the cab. The Double Cab can be paired with the two longer beds, but if you go with the CrewMax cab, the smallest bed is your only choice. Additionally, not every trim level offers both combinations of cab and bed sizes.

Unless you regularly haul extra-long cargo, there’s no reason to pick the 8-foot bed over the 6-and-a-half-foot bed. Going with the longest bed makes the truck nearly 21 feet long and hinders maneuverability and turning radius, and it makes the Tundra a bear to park.

Each Tundra bed has the same width, spacious enough for laying standard sheets of plywood between the wheel wells. However, the side walls are high, and it can be hard to reach over to retrieve your stuff. The tailgate load-in height is also high. Unlike most other trucks, the Tundra doesn’t offer any unique cargo management features.

Which Tundra Model Is Best for Towing and Hauling?

The Tundra has lower maximum towing and hauling capacities than most other full-size pickups. The base Tundra is the best choice in the lineup for towing and hauling. The SR trim with the smaller Double Cab, the 6-foot-6-inch bed, and rear-wheel drive gives you a towing capacity of 10,200 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of 1,730, the Tundra's maximum capacity for each category.

This configuration has a base price of $33,675. If you want a model with a few extra features to go with that capability, consider the SR5 trim, which costs $35,365.

You can also spring for models with the 8-foot-1-inch bed – the Tundra's longest offering – and you won’t sacrifice much in the way of utility. The Tundra SR ($33,755) and SR5 ($35,425) with that bed, the Double Cab, and rear-wheel drive have a maximum towing capacity of 10,100 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,700 pounds. The least capable Tundra models can only tow 8,800 pounds and have a payload capacity of 1,520 or 1,530 pounds.

Which Tundra Model Is Best for Off-Roading?

The best Tundra for off-roading is the TRD Pro model. This trim comes standard with four-wheel drive and upgrades such as front tow hooks, a front skid plate, TRD Pro front shocks, and Fox rear shocks. In addition, it has uniquely branded aggressive interior and exterior design elements. For all of its off-road fortitude, the TRD Pro is also pricey. It starts at around $49,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota Tundra specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Toyota Tundra has a roomy cabin and a potent V8 engine, but those aren't enough to keep it from finishing near the bottom of our full-size pickup truck rankings. That's because the Tundra has plenty of shortcomings, including its uncomfortable seats and ride quality, its poor mpg ratings and towing capacity relative to the class, and its low-rent cabin materials. Simply put, this truck has gone more than a decade since its last redesign, and it shows. Truck shoppers should look elsewhere.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Toyota's full-size pickup still offers brawny styling, excellent reliability, the massively spacious CrewMax cab and -- unique for a full-size pickup -- standard accident avoidance tech. However, there's also its subpar fuel economy, jittery ride, dated interior and general lack of innovation." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "Lowly fuel economy and unrefined road manners make it our least favorite full-size truck to drive on a daily basis. Still, the Tundra's available crew cab has a huge back seat and loads of useful storage space. Although it's not one of the best new pickup trucks, the 2020 Tundra will satisfy outdoorsmen and those who glorify the Toyota badge." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "If you want a solid, no-frills work truck, get a Tundra. If you want a comfortable and capable daily driver, get something else." -- CNET (2020)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 8, 2020

Low Sales: The Toyota Tundra is the second slowest-selling full-size pickup truck, ahead of only the higher-ranked Nissan Titan. The next truck in the sales rankings, the GMC Sierra, is outselling the Tundra well over 2 to 1. Toyota dealerships have moved 10.7 percent fewer Tundra trucks so far in 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Research more buying advice »
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2021 Toyota Tundra

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