9.20.2015

All That's Missing Are The Buyers: The 2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum
The 2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum.
Toyota is the company that seems to be able to dominate the sales charts when it puts its corporate mind to it.  Is there a family sedan more American and more ubiquitous than the Camry?  You'd expect it to be able to work the same magic in full-size pickup truck sales.  But that hasn't happened.  The Tundra continues to rank sixth, behind Ford's F-150, Chevy's Silverado, The RAM 1500, the GMC Sierra and Toyota's midsize pickup, the Tacoma.




Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum
2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum.
There is not a single thing one can point to that says Toyota cannot do full-size trucks.  The Tundra is rugged, capable, and chock-full of the amenities Americans seem to demand in their big pickups these days. Yet Toyota sells about one-fifth as many Tundras as Ford does F-150s, and so far this year, Chevy's Silverado is selling four times more units than Toyota. Even the GMC Sierra, which sells less than half what the Silverado does, almost doubles the Tundra in sales.

Our test vehicle was a top-of-the-line Platinum model, base price $47,875, which with a laundry list of standard equipment (click here) is fully competitive with the other big trucks. In fact, the only place where the Tundra lags is that its combination of a 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission hinders its gas mileage (an EPA estimated 13 city/17 highway).  The others do better, but only by a couple of MPG.

Interior view of 2015 Toyota Tundra
2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum interior.
It's certainly hard to fault the interior, spacious and comfortable.  And the options in the one we drove for a week were useful:  A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert ($500), paint protection film ($395), a spare tire lock ($75), a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) rear sway bar ($299), a bed mat ($139), dual exhaust ($1,100), remote engine start ($499) and a center console storage tray ($65).  With $1,100 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $52,047, which is a reasonable number for well-equipped luxury trucks these days. So what is holding the Tundra back?  Can it find the extra 50,000 buyers per year it would need to take fourth place from GMC?  If you've cross-shopped and decided either for or against the Tundra, we'd love to hear your comments.

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