Toyota Tundra CrewMax
By Gary Lewis
"Excuse me, Sir."
I expected a harangue from another holier-than-thou hybrid driver, but the young guy in the parking lot had a question for me.
"What is it like to drive the best truck in town?" He asked.
When the red Toyota Tundra CrewMax showed up in my driveway (on loan for a two-month Public Lands Elk Hunting seminar series), I already knew what to expect. Lots of power, lots of room and better gas mileage than one might think – 22mpg on the highway and 17mpg in town.
The Tundra is a head-turner, but it shines in the things that make a truck worthy. I took it off the highway and climbed in four-wheel drive along the Cascade crest on a late-summer bear hunt. Where another vehicle lost its oil pan (I saw its pitiful blood trail), the Tundra kept going. It has clearance and horsepower. The 5.7 liter V8 is rated at 381hp at the wheels.
A concealed compartment adjacent to the shifter made it easy to hide items (like my Glock 19) that should remain out of sight. Two glove boxes, a center console (big enough to house a laptop and hanging files), overhead storage and three power points make it easy to turn the Tundra into an office.
I tried the onboard navigation system in English, French and Spanish, but eventually turned it off in favor of my atlas. This truck came equipped with a backward-looking camera and huge multi-directional mirrors that made negotiating in and out of the campsite easier.
The sound system was more than adequate with a four-disk CD changer. The designers gave the Tundra large door handles and big control knobs, but my favorite features were the power rear window and the power moon-roof.
So what is it like to drive the best truck in town?