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Once mighty Toyota Tundra stumbles along in sales doldrums

The Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck had its peak annual sales 15 years ago when the 2007 year-end tally was just under 197,000.

With increased competition, the truck’s selling success has never been anywhere close to that. Since 2018, Tundra sales have drastically dipped from 118,258 in 2018 to 81,959 in 2021. The latter was the poorest sales tally for the Tundra since 2009.

The Toyota Tundra is among country's top-10 long-lasting vehicles.
The Toyota Tundra is among the country’s top-10 long-lasting vehicles but sales have dipped for many years.

In 2020, the Tundra was sharply criticized, including by U.S. News & World Report.

The publication wrote: “It’s been 13 years since this Toyota got a complete redesign. Most full-size rivals have more comfortable interiors, smoother rides, better composure, and higher-end cabins. Though the Tundra comes standard with a powerful V8 engine, it still can’t tow or haul as much as most other trucks in the class.”

A new generation debuted in 2022, but the data doesn’t show much hope for improvement this year, either. And the manufacturer isn’t scheduled to make any major effort to improve the Tundra’s prominence in 2023.

With the current generation of the Tundra only age one, the only schedule update for next year’s model is the optional SX Package. It will give the truck what’s being called “sophisticated darkness.”

The package includes: 18-inch dark gray alloy wheels, black elements in the door handles and rear inboard bumper, deleted door badges, blackout treatment for the 4×4 badges on the tailgate and black interior accents replacing dark silver trim.

The SX Package for the Tundra is available in the SR5 trim with either the 4×2 or 4×4 models. The new option is available with the truck painted white, gray, silver or black.

Offered in seven different trims, the 2023 Tundra will include a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 389 horsepower or a 437-hp, 3.5-liter hybrid twin-turbo V6.

With its most powerful configuration, the Toyota Tundra has a 12,000-pound towing capacity.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Mr. T
1 month ago

Underpowered, ugly, unreliable and is thirsty as a ditch digger on 110° day. What’s not to like lol! You want a real truck stick with a Cummins

ebinrock
1 month ago

Gas prices certainly don’t help truck sales.

Hypecat
1 month ago

Toyota is selling every Tundra and Tacoma they produce, you have to wait for one of you want one. This is the problem with the media, you aren’t telling the whole story.

Bob M
1 month ago

The trouble with the old Tundra was they were ugly and got poor gas mileage. Now it’s difficult to find any Toyotas anywhere except on TV commercials. If you find a Toyota, dealers want $5000. over sticker price.

marc
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob M

I love my 2015 Tundra its million times better than the domestic junk

Michael Barnes
1 month ago
Reply to  marc

Not so fast! I had to have the rear main seal replaced after only 35000 miles. Not as reliable as you are making it out to be. Electric window broke first month I bought it. Not to mention other problems I’ve had. Traded piece of junk in on my Ram. Better gas mileage and not 1 problem with it. 62000 on my Ram and I get 22 mpg with my 5.7 Hemi on highway and can tow more weight than Tundra could.

Philip
1 month ago

I loved my Tundra but needed more payload. I hung around waiting for the redesign hoping that they would up the payload but was bitterly disappointed when they did not do so. Reluctantly parted ways and switched to a Ram 2500.

HappyCamper7424
1 month ago

I’m very happy with my 2021 Tundra, very comfortable, tows great, excellent standard safety features. Legendary reliability. Glad I got it before the major redesign this year. Only issue with towing is that the transmission runs hot, solved that by adding a 3rd party transmission cooler.

Tom
1 month ago

I am on my 3rd tundra. Had Almost a half million miles each on first two. Only mechanical issue i ever had was O2 sensors upper and lower banks on my 2000. Other wise, it was routine maintenance. I now have a 2020 with 5.7. My background, I was a diesel mechanic for seven years, before switching careers to gov. Service. Here is how I explain the engine choices to folks that ask me. Your Dr. Explains to you high blood pressure is bad, long term its gonna be catastrophic at some point. Turbo/supercharged engines are constantly running under high/higher pressure. This means longevity, problems and failures are more likely. I love alot of the other manufactures products. The reliable hemi and cummins diesels in dodge trucks. I just lean back towards yotas.
Everybody has preferences in what they want in a vehicle. Long haul, i have found/find my toyota very comfortable. I have confidence in its abilities to do all I task it with. Whatever you drive, enjoy!!!

Lee A.
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

I purchased my first Tundra in April, 2007, a 2WD with the Tow Package that included tow mirrors. I traded it for a 2017 in October of last year. The first problem with my ’07 occurred in 2013 at 98,000 miles when the water pump began leaking. It was replaced under my extended 100k warranty. I towed two different travel trailers and 3 different boats with it in the 14 years I owned it. My newer 2017 Tundra is a 4WD I purchased as a lease return that only had 34k miles, was in perfect condition and came with a Toyota Care warranty. So far it has pulled my 30 foot travel trailer almost 5,000 trouble free miles. When I bought it it didn’t have tow mirrors and the dealer wanted just over $1000 to install them. I found them on Amazon for $235 for a pair and with the help of YouTube I installed them myself in an hour and a half! The new V-6 with twin turbos is going to be the end of the Tundra. Turbo failures are all ready happening & replacing them is a extensive repair. Do a Google search.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Toyota and Nissan have had one big problem ever since they first tried to compete in the full size market. FUEL ECONOMY or should I say the lack there of, while American manufacturers were building full size 1/2T trucks with comparable engines that got 18-21 mpg the two Japanese trucks couldn’t get more than 13-15 mpg. Toyota definitely has the biggest cab and their quality is above reproach, not so much Nissan. Nissan’s problem lies with their shared ownership with Renault who wouldn’t know a truck if it ran over them. Our grandson worked for Nissan and bought one of the Titans, it couldn’t get better than 12 mpg so they traded it in a got rid of it. Now according to recent videos on YouTube the Tundra with the turbo V6 if you drive like you have a raw egg between your foot and accelerator you may get 19 mpg. The Titan still with the 5.6L V8 still getting 15 mpg.

Lee A.
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Tom, When I bought mine in ’07 there was no ethanol in the gas and without towing I always saw 19-21mpg on the freeway, 17-18 around town. When they started adding the ethanol I lost about 3-4 mpg, although I did see 20mpg on occasion.

Last summer towing my 7000# trailer with my ’07 to Colorado north from Gallup, NM to Shiprock, NM I calculated 12.7mpg, but using 88 Octane. With the trips I have taken lately with my ’17 I have been averaging 9.5 -11mpg when towing. I never go much over 65mph when towing. The ’17 has a 38 gallon tank which really helps on long trips compared to the 26 gallon in the ’07. I am completely satisfied with the mileage and it’s towing capabilities for my situation. The quality and comfort level far surpasses anything I ever saw in my older Chevy and Ford trucks.

I think Toyota might have made a big mistake going to the new V-6. Time will tell. Reminds me of when Coke came out with their fabulous New Coke…didn’t go over too well.

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