Tom Crosby: 2017 Toyota Tundra will maintain long-term value

Tom Crosby

The Toyota Tundra competes against two full-size pickup powerhouses – the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado – but it bests these perennial sales heavyweights with the highest resale rating after five years of ownership, according to companies that evaluate resale values.

Some argue the Tundra isn’t used as lustfully as its competitors, thus reducing wear and tear, but for those who want a truck combining elegance with performance, Tundra’s top tier trims hold their own.

Tundra’s last major makeover was in 2014 and upgrades since then have been minor, like making adjustable seats standard in some trims and adding paint choices for 2017.

We test drove the premium four-wheel drive 1794 edition CrewMax, named for the founding date of the San Antonio, Texas, ranch where the Tundra assembly plant is located. It is the top gas-only trim of six, with more than 50 Tundra customization choices.

The six trims come in different cab styles, truck bed lengths, colors, engines (standard 310-hp 4.6-liter V-8 or the optional 381-hp 5.7-liter V-8 we piloted) – all mixed and matched for customer preferences.

Pickup sales have been brisk, benefiting from low gas prices, which has helped offset Tundra’s mediocre miles per gallon. – melds ruggedness with grace.

So elegant inside you could take your date to a black-tie dinner and so rugged under the hood it can handle delivering hay to cattle over frozen pasture. It tows 9,100 pounds and carries 1,530 pounds with 10.4 inches of ground clearance outfitted with a 5.5-foot bed.

Our test drive worked atop a front independent front suspension and a rear stabilizer bar using optional ($220) chrome-clad 20-inch wheels.

Outside, the Tundra maintains a pugnacious chiseled look with a trapezoid front grille, sweptback headlights and aerodynamic side mirrors.

Inside, the long wheelbase creates roomy, comfortable second row seating that tilts and cushions that flip-up for extra storage.

Optional running boards ($345) aid access. Inside, copious leather trim, usually stitched or perforated, add luxury. Floor mats included bristle insets to clean boots. A 7-inch touch screen and easily manipulatable knobs/buttons created an ergonomic dynamic. Toyota’s Entune infotainment system had enough connectivity to thrill any “techie,” and could make dinner reservations, buy movie tickets and read incoming email. A blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors are standard but there is no automatic emergency brake. Government crash tests gave the Tundra four out of five stars.

Likes: Looks, interior comfort, spaciousness, value.

Dislikes: Engine drone, mileage, no emergency brake

Bottom line: Tundra resale value in tough pickup market

Fact file
Toyota Tundra 4×4 1794 edition Crewmax

Base price w/destination fee: $51,225 ($51,875 as tested).
Curb weight: 5,670 lbs.
Wheelbase: 145.7 inches.
Length: 228.9 inches.
Width: 79.9 inches.
Engine specs: 5.7-liter I-Force V8 DOHC.
Horsepower: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm.
Torque: 401 ft.-lbs. @ 3,600.
Transmission: 6-speed with manual shift mode.
EPA rating: 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway.
Range: 38-gallon tank, regular fuel.
Performance: 0-60 in roughly 6.5 seconds.

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.