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Toyota's Big Truck
Tundra Double Cab

By Keith Burton

With all the news about the new pickup trucks this year like Ford's new F150 and the powerful Nissan Titan, you may have missed Toyota's latest entry into the highly competitive world of big pickups, the 2004 Tundra Double Cab. But you need to put this truck on your shopping list.

We got our first taste of the new Double Cab in the hills outside San Antonio, Texas at the site of Toyota's new truck plant. Okay, there was nothing there but a big tent and some Tundras, but Toyota says the plant will be ready to produce their next generation, and bigger, Tundra by 2006.

Until that bigger truck hits the road, the Tundra Double Cab is the largest pickup Toyota has ever built. And it needs to be. Toyota has borne the brunt of ire from truck owners regarding the size and power of their full size pickups. Many have described the Tundra as sort of a 7/8 th pickup when compared to its U.S. competitors. 2004 Toyota Double-Cab - Future Plant

Toyota hasn't been deaf to the criticism. The current Tundra has sold well, and it has all of Toyota's typical attributes. You know, great build quality, reliable and excellent engineering. But those fine attributes haven't been enough, so enter the Double Cab as sort-of an interim big pickup until the next model arrives.

And big it is. In making the Tundra Double Cab, Toyota didn't just make the cabin bigger; the truck sits on a much longer chassis, specially designed for the Double Cab's new size. The new Tundra Double Cab is built on a stout ladder frame chassis that is longer than the chassis shared by the two-door Tundra Regular Cab and the four-door Tundra Access Cab.

The Tundra Double Cab rides on a long 140.5-inch 2004 Toyota Double-Cab - Interiorwheelbase, which is longer than the Ford F150 Super Crew. (Tundra Regular Cab and Access Cab models ride on a 128.3-inch wheelbase.)

That extra wheelbase brings to the table room to spare in the Double Cab's, uh, cab. Back seat room is at the top of the class. Head and shoulder room are plentiful, and the legroom is generous even for folks over six-feet tall. In addition, Toyota's engineers have dialed in a comfortable seatback angle, which means long trips in the back seats are enjoyable.

Also, an available electrically operated rear window is available. This window rolls down with the touch of a button and provides an airy feel to the cabin on nice days. 

The extra chassis length also means you get a decent size bed out back behind the cabin. At 74.3-inches, the Tundra Double Cab bed is within one-half inch of the Tundra Access Cab and approximately seven inches longer than the bed in either the new Ford F-150 Super Crew or Nissan Titan Crew Cab. The 20.7-inch bed depth is nearly four inches greater than other Tundra models and is one of the deepest of any full-size four-door pickup.

On the road the Toyota Double Cab has a smooth ride with easy, predictable handling. Steering feel is accurate and all the controls fall readily into the hand. Braking is strong and linear with good feedback from the pedals.

The cabin is also quiet with little wind or road noise intruding. If there is a short point on the Double Cab's drivability it is t2004 Toyota Double-Cab - Back Seathe turning diameter. At 47.5 feet, the Double Cab takes nearly three more feet to turn than the standard Tundra and more than two feet more than a Ford F-150 Crew Cab.

And while the cabin is a comfortable place to be with nice materials and excellent fit and finish. The center console is deep but its rounded shape is not as worker friendly as the consoles in the Dodge Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan, both of which offer center consoles large enough to serve as work tables for a laptop computer.

Another issue regarding drivability affects the 4x4 version. While the low range is easy to engage and offers the expected traction and benefits, the throttle tip-in is particularly aggressive. Meaning that to drive the Tundra slowly in first gear low, you have to be careful not to buck the vehicle. So placing the side of you foot hard against the console while in four-wheel-drive low is the way to go.

This brings up the issue of power. The only engine offered in the Double Cab is Toyota's excellent DOHC 4.7-liter I-Force engine. This extremely smooth and sophisticated engine has 240 hp at 4,800 rpm and 315 ft.-lbs. of torque at a low 3,400 rpm. This engine provide peppy performance off the line, due to its torque, but is not as powerful as the engines in some of its competitors. 2004 Toyota Double-Cab - iForce 4.7L V8

Dodge offers 345 hp in their 1500 HEMI and Nissan has 305 hp. The Nissan also has standard a five-speed automatic transmission that helps get the power to the road better. The Toyota, a four-speed automatic is all that is available.

It is no slouch, but the bar for pickup truck performance has been significantly raised since the Tundra was first introduced with the 4.7-liter engine. Still, this is a smooth engine and it ticks over with the precision of a clock.

The 4x4 Tundra Double Cab's top towing ability, and in a properly equipped version, is 6,500 pounds, compared to 9,400 for the Nissan Titan four door and 8,200 pounds for the Ford F-150 Crew Cab 4x4. The Tundra 4x4 Double Cab's tow rating is even 500 pounds less than that of a V8-powered Ford Explorer 4x4.

2004 Toyota Double-Cab - TowingBut as we mentioned earlier, this larger Tundra does offer outstanding interior room and a large bed, so its practicality both at the home and at the work place is still in place, even if the Double Cab can't tow with its big boy competitors.

Overall, the Tundra Double Cab has a lot going for it. Great room and a big truck look But its best features remain Toyota's excellent build quality and its comfortable, roomy interior.


 


2004 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 Specifications

Price Range (MSRP): $35,300 - $38,300
Wheelbase: 140.5"
Suspension: Front : Independent coil spring double wishbone with low-pressure nitrogen gas shocks
Rear: Leaf springs with staggered low-pressure nitrogen gas shocks
Engine: 240 hp 4.7-liter i-Force, 8-cylinder, double-overhead cam, 32-valve, cast iron block with aluminum alloy heads with 315 ft.lbs of torque @ 3,400 rpm
Transmission: Touch Select 4x4 with electronically-controlled two-speed transfer case and four-speed automatic transmission
EPA fuel economy: 14 city / 16 hwy
Max Tow Rating: 6500 lbs.
Payload Range: 1,580 lbs.
Fuel Tank: 26.4 gal.