We’re always on the hunt for the next great expedition vehicle. To us, an expedition vehicle needs to be capable of traversing the trails as well as navigating a typical, daily commute. Recently, we were afforded the opportunity to test the 2018 Toyota Tundra Limited 4×4 TRD Off-Road for a week to see if it holds up to our standards in regards to performing both on forest service roads and eight-lane-wide highways. The great thing about Georgia is that there are all types of driving conditions available to us. So, we were able to properly put the Tundra through its paces. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to view our video review!)
Beginning up front, the 2018 model introduces updated headlights with LEDs surrounding the perimeter. The new LEDs are perfect for cutting through the fog in the mountains as well as looking pretty darn cool in traffic. A chrome accented grille and bumper and a non-functional hood scoop round out the front fascia of the Tundra.
Underneath the hood, the I-Drive 5.7L V8 boasts 381 HP and 401 ft/lbs and is perfect for both on and off-road driving. As far as fuel consumption goes, the Tundra is a bit thirsty as Toyota claims 14 MPG. Our tests combining on-road, off-road and towing dropped the average to just under 13 MPG, which is about what a weekend warrior would expect. One huge benefit we found to this truck from an adventure perspective is the massive 38-gallon gas tank, which will provide you over 500 miles of travel before your next fill up! This is certainly helpful for those who make weekend trips to the mountains.
Going further down the drivetrain, Toyota employs a 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, 4.30 gears front and rear and an electronically-controlled 4WDemand system. A brake controller, tow/haul mode and sway control make towing everything from jet skis to camping trailers a breeze. Our particular Tundra was the Double Cab version and had a towing capacity of 10,100 lbs.
As far as safety goes, the Toyota Tundra scores high marks in front, side and rollover tests for an overall score of ⅘ stars from the NHTSA. With eight airbags, Toyota Safety Sense Pre Collision System and lane departure alert, the Tundra is built for safety. One of my favorite safety features on the Tundra was the high-quality backup camera with steering guidelines. Not only did it make this massive truck easier to park, it also provided easy hookup to our trailer, Maple X. A feature that was notably absent was front-end parking sensors that are available on most trucks in this segment. The lack of this option made pulling into parking spots fairly difficult.
The Tundra’s interior is a near perfect mix of everything you need and nothing you don’t. Toyota’s Entune Premium Audio system with Navigation and Bluetooth is used in many vehicles across the brand’s line up and has been for a few years. When navigating to a business or address, the system works flawlessly and will even start navigation back to where you came from when you return. However, navigating to a street without a number is nearly impossible as the system won’t let you proceed without a specific number. The touchscreen is quite intuitive allowing you to scan an area to navigate to locations with no physical address. We found this feature especially helpful while on the trails. Voice activation and Bluetooth work extremely well and syncing your phone and contacts is a breeze. The dash has clear displays, which you can customize to display MPH, MPG, range and other real-time vehicle specs. Listening to your favorite podcasts via Bluetooth or satellite radio station is an enjoyable experience with the crisp, clear audio system. One thing that is not lacking in this truck is cup holders, of which there are 11. Yes, 11 cup holders, which to us is perfect for cross-country road trip to Overland Expo West.
There are a couple of weak points in regards to the interior, the main issue being the seats. After putting over 500 miles on this truck both on and off road was cumbersome with wide, unbolstered leather seats. Also, an option for ventilated seats would be nice to combat sticky leather on humid Georgia summer days. Also, the Tundra is in desperate need of additional USB inputs. These days, having only one USB input in a truck of this size in this segment is head-scratching, to say the least.
The TRD Off-Road package doesn’t really add much as the 4×4 model already comes standard with trail-tuned Bilstein shocks, skid plates and front tow hooks. The TRD drops the wheel size down from 20-inches to a split, 18-inch, five-spoke wheel, leaving room for 275/65/18 Michelin LTX A/T2 tires. Also included in the TRD package are all-weather TRD floor mats and the TRD decal on each side of the bed.
Speaking of the bed, the Tundra has a 6.5-foot, double-walled bed with rail caps and our model was equipped with a spray-in bedliner. Strapping items down inside the bed is easy with attachment points at the four corners of the bed and a rail system with adjustable cleats. With a lowered step on the rear, stepping into the bed is fairly easy. However, a step on both sides of the bumper would be a great addition for access to the bed while the tailgate is down.
The Tundra performs any task thrown at it with ease, whether its Atlanta traffic or cruising the dirt roads of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Tundra’s ride quality is amazing, smooth, quiet and with limited body roll in the curves. When the pavement ends, the Tundra really begins to shine. The Tundra had no problem with everything from rough trails, water crossings and loose dirt. With its powerful motor and ample weight, the Tundra handled anything we threw at it, including pulling our trailer over some rugged terrain. The only downside to this vehicle was its overall dimensions. In Georgia, many trails are tight with greenery encroaching on vehicles as they make their way through. This isn’t an issue with an older truck but with a truck this nice featuring such a unique paint job (Toyota’s popular Cement color), it would get a little scary. Not to mention, due to the size and lack of turning radius, having to turn around on a trail could be borderline impossible.
Overall, 2018 Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab makes for a great all around truck for both daily purposes and weekend excursions. It goes from street to gravel and back again without breaking a sweat. Priced just under other trucks in this segment at around $45,000 and paired with Toyota’s legendary pedigree for reliability, we certainly approve!
PRICE (AS TESTED): $44,800.00
POWERTRAIN: 5.7-liter I-FORCE V8; 381 hp, 401 lb-ft
MPG (COMBINED, AS TESTED): 13 MPG