Camping. It’s the good ole American traditional way of getting back with nature and exploring the outdoors without any cell service or technology to distract us. Call it a brain reset. Now camping is also about huntin’, fishin’, and four-wheel drive. Well, we didn’t do any hunting nor any fishing but we sure did some four-wheelin’.
With a quick phone call, we asked for something that had four-wheel drive, before we knew it, the 2019 Toyota Tundra showed up at our office and was ready for some back-country roads. Unlike traditional forms where we’ve seen the Tundra in Limited, Platinum and even the 1794 Edition, our Tundra was the base SR5 – the cheapest Tundra this side of the CrewCab.
While the SR5 is the base model, the Tundra can go cheaper with the SR starting at $31,420; however, the $33,220 SR5 comes with the insanely much larger back seat that makes passengers never want to call shut gun. With a few added TRD Sport Package option’s totaling over $5000 what was to look like an entry level Tundra was elevated with more muscular features that brought it into the modern world with LED Head and Daytime Running Lights, a sporty performance hood scoop and several decals in case you forgot what kind of truck you were driving.
With the new RAM 1500, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the Tundra seems to be falling more and more behind the times. Nonetheless, its olds school vibes and hearty 5.7-liter V-8 is true to test the stand of time. With 381-horsepower, its performance continues to support adequate numbers getting to highway speeds in six and half seconds. It’s six-speed automatic holds up the fort maintaining smooth composure through its shift points.
To get to our camping destination, it was 2-hours outside of the city limits. Round trip we averaged 12.5 miles to the gallon and because we had the extended range 38-gallon fuel tank, we could go nearly 600 miles on a single tank – though our wallets may have disagreed when it came time to pay for it at the pump.
The SR5’s cloth interior was a kind reminder that some interiors don’t always need to be made from a burlap-like material. The seats were soft and comfortable providing suitable support and an overall pleasant experience – we should know, we slept in them one of nights (don’t judge us, it was c-c-c-cold.) The SR5 doesn’t offer much comfort features that one would find in the higher trim levels; therefore, we didn’t have heated seats or automatic climate control. What the Tundra did have is the new Toyota Safety Sense system that now incorporates all the standard safety equipment from lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control to forward collision emergency braking.
So what does one do on a camping trip with nothing to do and has the keys to a four by four. Yup, we did. We went hunting for an adventure. And an adventure is what we found. Following one of our cronies on a mini dirt bike, we found ourselves getting into tight situations. We quite literally climbed to the top of a mountain with no trail, showcasing just how cable the four-wheel drive system can be in the Tundra. The TRD sway bars and Bilstein shocks as part of one of the TRD Sport Packages kept the chassis from twisting and maintaining equanimity during extremely rough situations.
Following the Toyota badging, the Tundra brings that safe assurance that it will out survive its buyer. No matter how far the Tundra can go, no matter how many mountains it climbs or rivers it forges, the Tundra’s reliability is a hard one to overlook. However, it does make it even harder to sacrifice the latest set of engineering inclinations behind the new trucks on the market.