$24,275 - $42,669

2016 Toyota Tundra Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Toyota Tundra was new.


Performance: 6.9

The 2016 Toyota Tundra delivers a stiff ride, according to test drivers. They add, however, that the steering is precise and say the Tundra is maneuverable for a large truck. The larger V8 engine impresses critics with its power, and critics say it pairs well with the six-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers find the Tundra a capable towing vehicle, and they note that the TRD Pro trim excels in off-road conditions.

  • "On road and off, Toyota's full-size truck is still formidable." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "As for the ride, if anything it's smoother than that of the regular Tundra, thanks to the ultra-absorbent TRD Pro shocks and springs. Imagine that: a factory-prepared desert racer that's equally confident on concrete." -- AutoTrader (TRD Pro) (2015)
  • While manufacturers in this class typically try to one-up each other with claims of 'most horsepower,' 'most torque,' 'highest payload capacity,' 'highest towing limits,' or 'best-in-class fuel economy,' Toyota doesn't really play that game. The Tundra is competitive but not class-leading in these areas, and for most buyers, that's plenty good enough." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
  • "Overall, we wished we were equally as smitten with this Toyota's driving dynamics as we were with its updated cabin, but that isn't the case." -- Autoblog (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Tundra features a 4.6-liter V8 base engine that puts out 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter V8 that produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque is available. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Tundra gets an EPA-estimated 15/19 mpg city/highway, which is below average for the class.

Some critics lament the Tundra's lack of more fuel-efficient engine options like a V6 or a diesel, but they praise the available 5.7-liter V8 for its power and responsiveness. The six-speed transmission changes gears easily, according to reviewers, but they say it is still surpassed by rival transmissions like the Ram 1500's eight-speed automatic.

  • Its V8 engines definitely get the job done, but they trail their competitors, especially in terms of fuel economy. There also isn't a V6 option, nor a fuel-efficient alternative such as the aforementioned Ford EcoBoost V6 or Ram EcoDiesel." -- Edmunds
  • "Under the Tundra TRD Pro's hood resides one of my favorite engines in any vehicle: Toyota's 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, the original engine when the current-generation Tundra debuted back in 2007. I'm here to tell you that it hasn't aged a day. Throttle response is quick and emphatic, and there's some serious midrange torque on tap when it's time to haul the mail." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "This has to be one of the smoothest large vehicles I have driven, period. I'm not sure how or why the 5.7-liter plays so nicely with the six-speed auto, but this is Toyota Avalon-slick (yes, that's a compliment)." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • The Tundra's 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth, though not as buttery as the Ram's 8-speed." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the 2016 Tundra, and four-wheel drive is available. The Tundra delivers a rough ride that jostles passengers when the bed is empty or not towing something, according to most test drivers. They add, however, that it drives like a smaller vehicle and that the steering is reactive. Some critics find the brakes a bit too sensitive.

  • "The Tundra feels more like a classic, stiff-riding truck of the past while traversing broken pavement, with bumps big and small easily being felt by all in the cabin. This is the result of a stiff rear suspension admittedly up to the task of stout hauling duties, but if it's just the family making its way across town, the jostling will get old." -- Edmunds
  • "It's got an old-school feel that I appreciated -- the steering is light, maybe even over-boosted, but not in that increasingly common synthetic drive-by-wire way. It'll hold a corner surprisingly well, even while communicating road imperfections through the wheel." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • Toyota's half-ton truck isn't exactly nimble, but it drives smaller than its dimensions suggest." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • Like every big truck, except the RAM 1500 (with its controversial coil-spring rear suspension), the Tundra's ride is a bit firm and jittery when the bed is empty. Recent updates help the truck's case, but it's still a full-size pickup truck, after all." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "On the road, the Tundra drives a little smaller than it is, which is a compliment. The brakes are a bit touchy, but the steering is precise and its feedback appropriate, even on four-wheel-drive models." -- Car and Driver (2014)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the 2016 Tundra has a max payload of 2,060 pounds and a max towing capacity of 10,500 pounds. Driver assistance features like trailer sway control are available. Reviewers praise the Tundra for its hauling abilities, although some note that the Chevrolet Silverado feels more stable during heavy towing.

  • The 310-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 is totally adequate for lighter duties, while the 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 is up for almost any task (yes, it even pulled the Space Shuttle over a bridge)." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • It's hard not to recommend the Tundra, but the Silverado does feel a little more surefooted when towing close to its maximum payload." -- AutoTrader (2014)


For serious off-roading, the Tundra has an available TRD Pro trim, but other trims offer the TRD off-road package. Both options offer a number of rugged features like skid plates, off-road tires and a raised suspension. Test drivers say the Tundra handles water, mud and hills with little complaint and that the off-road suspension does a good job absorbing impacts at speed.

  • "The Tundra does not offer a locking rear differential, but the big truck had no problems when we drove a 4-wheel-drive (4WD) TRD edition up muddy embankments, crawled down steep hills and waded through water. With TRD Pro Off-Road models you can tackle even more, including small jumps without fear of bottoming out." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "It's hard to believe, but this Tundra feels better the faster I go. At 50 mph, I'm gliding serenely over ruts and rocks that felt treacherous at 20. We're at a Toyota-sponsored event in middle-of-nowhere Nevada on some pretty gnarly terrain, and the Tundra TRD Pro isn't even breaking a sweat." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Where we felt the instinct to slow down to save the front end, this new spring and shock pairing just swallowed the ruts right up. After a while, our speeds picked up to 10, 15, and 20 mph faster than when we started. We were increasingly impressed that the setup was able to absorb so much nastiness and at the same time keep all four tires on the ground." -- Boston Globe (2015)

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