Toyota's second-generation Tundra is bigger in every dimension than the model it replaced. Size, power, and towing capacity are right up there with the big boys this time around, as a new stronger frame joins two carryover engines, the 4.0L V-6 and 4.7L V-8 and an all-new 5.7L V-8 that puts out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. The all-aluminum 5.7L comes with a six-speed automatic and the ability to tow up to 10,800 lbs.

We spent a day with the folks at Toyota, and put the new Tundra through some paces. When we pulled a 10,000-pound, dual-axle trailer, the 5.7L did an excellent job of accelerating and merging onto freeway traffic, and the transmission's tow/haul mode kept the revolutions slightly higher at each shift point, and so, the engine never bogged down. The Tundra's composite-design chassis uses fully boxed frame rails for the front half, and rolled C-channel members for the rear half. A thicker and higher-strength steel was used than seen on previous Tundras. The result is a solid feel that lets you tow with confidence. Another impressive feature was the integrated trailer brake that's adjustable for gain. The trailer was easy to handle, even when the controller was set to its least aggressive brake curve, a testament of the Tundra's improved brakes.

The biggest news of the launch was the new Tundra Crew Max, which put Toyota in Dodge Ram Mega Cab territory. It offered sliding and reclining seats, rear doors that are just as long as those in the front, and in the rear, the legroom surpassing even the Mega Cab. With a short bed, the Crew Max isn't quite as long as the Double Cab long bed, however, it maneuvers well for a large truck. In fact, the new Tundra actually has a tighter-turning radius than the original Tundra, thanks to a higher turning angle.

Inside the Tundra, you'll find a dash that's on-par with the top full-size trucks on the market. Deeply recessed gauges in front of the driver keep passengers guessing how hard you're pressing that 381hp engine. Toyota engineers knew that a lot of truck buyers work out of their trucks and spend a lot of time inside the cab, even when they're not driving. So, the truck was designed with the A/C system to cool the cab 5-10 minutes faster than the system in the last generation. Also, it is designed to pull more air over the condenser at idle to keep the cab cool even when the truck is in a traffic jam. Actually, one of the only complaints we had inside the cab was the odd layout of the HVAC controls. The driver and passenger side controls were in logical places, but the fan control was next to the transfer case selector. It was not necessarily a bad thing; just odd. One of the high notes of the interior was the large center console that featured storage for a laptop, a Thomas Guide, and even a rack for hanging file folders, which completed the rolling- office theme.

The '07 Tundra offered flexibility when choosing between three cab styles, wheelbases, bed lengths, engines, and trim levels. If you want a regular cab, with the 5.7L V-8, go for it. We got a chance to drive one and it does a great job of launching the truck and pinning you back into your seat. The regular cab also features more storage behind the seat than any other truck, and plenty of room for a large backpack or even a duffel bag. With the optional appearance package, and the monochrome grille that comes with it, the regular cab 5.7L Tundra is practically begging to be lowered.

Toyota hopes to sell 200,000 Tundras per year, which is way too many for aftermarket suppliers to ignore. We've already seen several companies at SEMA who have stepped in to help keep up with the supply for customers itching to modify their truck. So keep your eyes open, because it's only a matter of time before you'll see a Tundra featured in the pages of Truckin.

Engine
4.0L V-6
4.7L V-8
5.7L V-8

Horsepower
236 at 5,200 rpm
271 at 5,400 rpm
381 at 5,600 rpm

Torque
266 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm
313 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm
401 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm

Transmission
Five-and six-speed

Drivetrain
2WD and 4WD

Axle Ratio
3.909, 4.1 which comes standard on all 5.7L and 4.0L 4x4 and is optional on 4.7L, 4.3L (5.7L tow package)

Suspension
Independent double wishbone with coil springs (front), Live axle with leaf springs (rear)

Brakes
Power-assisted four-wheel ABS, electronic braking distribution, brake assist, electronic traction/stability control, and auto LSD

Wheelbase
Regular Cab shortbed/longbed: 126.8/145.7 in
Double Cab shortbed/longbed: 145.7/164.6 in
Crew Max: 145.7 in

Turning, curb-to-curb
Regular Cab standard bed/longbed: 39.2/44 ft
Double Cab standard bed/longbed: 44.0/49.0
CrewMax short bed: 44.0

Height 76.0 in

Width 79.9 in

Approach Angle Crew Max: 27 deg
Regular and Double Cab: 29 deg

Departure Angle
Crew Max: 20 deg
Double Cab and Regular Cab: 25 deg

Curb Weight
4,610 to 5,630 lbs

GVWR
Regular Cab 4x2: 6,200 to 7,000 lbs
Regular Cab 4x4: 6,800 to 7,200 lbs
Double Cab 2x4: 6,400 to 7,000 lbs
Double Cab 4x4: 6,900 to 7,200 lbs
Crew Max 2x4: 6,800 to 7,000 lbs
Crew Max 4x4: 7,000 to 7,200 lbs

GCWR 16,000 lbs

Max Trailer Weight
Regular Cab 4x2: 10,800 lbs
Regular Cab 4x4: 10,500 lbs
Double Cab 2x4: 10,600 lbs
Double Cab 4x4: 10,300 lbs
Crew Max 2x4: 10,400 lbs
Crew Max 4x4: 10,100 lbs

Payload
Regular Cab 4x2: 1,585 to 2,060 lbs
Regular Cab 4x4: 1,700 to 1,995 lbs
Double Cab 2x4: 1,465 to 1,755 lbs
Double Cab 4x4: 1,410 to 1,650 lbs
Crew Max 2x4: 1,525 to 1,675 lbs
Crew Max 4x4: 1,420 to 1,585 lbs

Cargo Bed
Shortbed: 78.7x66.4 in
Longbed: 97.6x66.4 in
Crew Max: 66.7x66.4 in

Seating 3/3

First Look - Long Term Update
Driver: Dan Ward
The first time a loving and caring Rottweiler bites your child without warning, you have to put it down. This is what flowed through my mind after our Mega Cab diesel long-term truck died during a 10-minute trip to the grocery store. The battery was fine, yes, it had plenty of gas, and, no, there was nothing wrong with the encoded key. Now that you are boggled, too, the problem was with the Dodge's electronic control unit (ECU). Keep in mind, this truck had less than 12,000 miles on it when this happened...the first time. According to the clueless dealer (we were forced to use the closest dealership because of the Daimler Chrylser towing service), the problem was a loose wire that needed tightening. After the second time the Dodge died, and the second check up, the dealer returned the truck with a clean bill of health, and a new computer was sent, along with several apologies. Besides being a serious problem, it was a hassle, and besides being a hassle, the truck was brand new and it didn't run. If I had paid $54,000 for the top-of-the-line Lariat Cummins-powered 4x4, and it had already needed a computer, I would have been upset, and ultimately disappointed.

Luckily, and with my fingers constantly crossed, the Ram has performed flawlessly since its new, back-ordered computer had been installed. Yes, the truck has immense power thanks to the 5.9L Cummins, and yes, the truck is outfitted with features like heated-leather seats, navigation, power rear window and sunroof. But do a few bells and whistles exonerate two trips to a dealership on the back of a flatbed? The jury is still out, and until Dodge announces a recall, I'll still turn the key and hope.

This is the third installment of our long-term coverage of the Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500. Miles to date are 16,743.

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