Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2009 Toyota Tundra If...
If you haul a lot of stuff and/or people, the Tundra is up for the job. Depending upon configuration, the payload can exceed one ton and towing capacity can reach 10,800 pounds. Pulling that load can be the available 5.7-liter V8 with 401 pound-feet of torque.
You May Not Like The 2009 Toyota Tundra If...
Those who enjoyed the more nimble, economical Toyota pickups of the past may find the 2009 Toyota Tundra far too large. The Tundra’s size means it can be challenging to maneuver in tight situations and, understandably, it is not particularly fuel-efficient. Shorter people and older folks may have difficulty climbing up and into four-wheel-drive versions.
For 2009, the Toyota Tundra adds two new TRD trim packages. The TRD Sport emphasizes and aggressive street appearance, while the Rock Warrior edition is geared more toward off-road adventuring. An E85-compatible 5.7-liter V8 is now available in certain regions.
Big jobs can call for several people and lots of stuff. Four-door versions of the 2009 Toyota Tundra accommodate up to six adults and have numerous storage areas and work surfaces. The Double Cab’s non-adjustable rear seatback has more rearward inclination than those in most similar pickukps. Still, some may find it a bit too upright for long road trips. The rear seat in the larger four-door CrewMax is adjustable both for fore-aft positioning and seatback inclination. However, it doesn’t enjoy the same ability to be quickly folded up as the rear seat in the Double Cab.
The 2009 Toyota Tundra projects the assertive image that buyers of full-size pickups desire. Its tall grille and hood and pronounced front fenders make it as imposing as any big truck. However, it retains its Toyota identity. A longer cab, larger rear doors and a shorter bed distinguish the CrewMax from the Double Cab. Upgrades giving Toyota’s lowest-cost version of the two-door Regular Cab model styling more consistent with that of a work truck carry over from the 2008 model. Elements include a chrome bumper and matte-black grille surround.
From the driver’s seat, there’s no mistaking the 2009 Toyota Tundra is a very big vehicle. The tall seating position makes it easy to see the highway ahead, but its considerable size means the Tundra may require some concentration to keep it correctly positioned on narrow roads and in crowded parking lots. The available sonar warning system and backup camera will be welcome when parking, maneuvering off-road or connecting to a trailer. The Tundra offers excellent steering feel and a better highway ride than some of its competitors. This is thanks in part to its frame, which has a stiff fully-boxed front section, partially-boxed C-channel under the passenger compartment and more flexible open C-channel below the bed. The optional 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 will easily and comfortably accelerate an unloaded Tundra into fast-moving traffic.
With more than 50 model variations (counting the Flex Fuel models) the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2009 Toyota Tundra extends from just over $23,000 for a two-wheel-drive V6 Regular Cab to more than $47,000 for a thoroughly-equipped CrewMax Limited. Dealer-installable options can push that far higher. The MSRP of a popularly equipped Tundra – a Double Cab SR5 with four-wheel-drive and the 5.7-liter V8 – is about $32,000. A Tundra Double Cab SR5 with a 5.7-liter V8 sells for about $3,000 less than a comparable Ford F-150 SuperCab XLT with a 5.4-liter V8. To find out what smart buyers are really paying for this vehicle, check our Fair Purchase Prices. Over time, the Tundra will hold excellent resale value, remaining higher than any of its domestic competitors.
Standard equipment on the most basic Regular Cab model includes a V6 engine, limited slip differential, dual-zone climate controls and an AM/FM stereo with a single CD player. The SR5 trim of the Double Cab and CrewMax includes power front seats, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and heated outside mirrors. The Limited trim level includes front and rear parking sonar, heated leather seats, a bedrail system and a JBL audio unit. With 236-horsepower, the standard 4.0-liter V6 is more powerful than many V8s of the recent past. Only those who regularly haul massive loads and tow large trailers will truly miss the extra power of the optional V8s.
Most optional equipment on the 2009 Toyota Tundra is packaged into either the mid-level SR5 or the up-scale Limited trims. One significant stand-alone option is a bundle that includes a DVD-based satellite navigation system, backup camera and a JBL audio system. The two-door Regular Cab and four-door Double Cab are available in two bed lengths – six-and-a-half and eight feet – while the CrewMax has a five-and-half-foot bed. The TRD Rock Warrior package adds an off-road suspension, Bilstein shocks, 17-inch tires with BF Goodrich all-terrain T/A tires, fog lights and a color-keyed front bumper and grille surround. The 2009 Toyota Tundra offers a long list of dealer-installable accessories. These include remote engine start, 22-inch wheels, bed extender and numerous TRD items.
Comprehensive AccessoriesToyota offers a comprehensive assortment of more than three dozen dealer-installed items, including exterior and interior trim upgrades, cargo-bed accessories and performance and handling enhancements from Toyota’s performance brand, TRD.i-Force 5.7-liter V8The Tundra’s optional i-Force 5.7-liter V8 makes 105 more horsepower than the also-optional 4.7-liter V8, yet, with the technology of variable valve timing and the benefits of a six-speed automatic transmission, almost matches the fuel economy of the standard V6. Both the engine and transmission are built in the U.S.
Under the Hood
The 2009 Toyota Tundra offers three engine choices: The standard 236-horsepower 4.0-liter V6, a 276-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 or the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. The first two come with five-speed automatic transmissions, while the 5.7-liter is mated to a six-speed automatic. Since the 5.7-liter makes 105 horsepower more than the 4.7-liter and gets almost the same fuel mileage as the V6, the vast majority of Tundra buyers select the big engine. Toyota employed several technologies to allow the 5.7-liter V8 to produce both big power and reasonable economy. Variable valve timing optimizes engine performance for changing conditions and demands, and the six-speed automatic transmission employs a low first gear to aid low-speed acceleration and two overdrive gears to maximize highway economy. 4.0-liter V6236 horsepower @ 5200 rpm266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/194.7-liter V8276 horsepower @ 5400 rpm313 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/17 (2WD); 13/16 (4WD)5.7-liter V8381 horsepower @ 5600 rpm401 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 (2WD); 13/17 (4WD), 10/13 (4WD, E85)
The current Toyota Tundra, which came onto the scene in 2007 fresh from a redesign, matches or beats domestic full-size pickups when it comes to size, performance and price. For 2009, the Tundra lineup expands to include two new upgrade packages, as well as offer E85 Flex Fuel compatibility. The U.S.-built Tundra features standard side airbags and electronic stability control and is the first full-sized pickup to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award. The Tundra competes directly with full-sized pickups from Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, GMC and Nissan.