Tundra Versus the F-150 – What's Wrong With Toyota?

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
tundra versus the f 150 what s wrong with toyota

Can the Toyota Tundra go toe-to-toe with the Ford F-150, and does it make sense to try? The F-150 is the most popular vehicle in the U.S., despite a 12 percent drop in sales. Ford still managed to sell 787, 422 F-150s in 2020. Toyota sold a little over 109,000 Tundras in 2020, down two percent from 2019. While that sounds like the Tundra did well, it only outran the Nissan Titan.

For all the Tundra’s reliability and dependability, it didn’t make the top 25 vehicles sold in America in 2020. The F-150 receives updates all the time, while it’s been quite a while since the Tundra hit the refresh button. Why does this make a difference? The Chevrolet Silverado was the second most popular vehicle at 586,675 units. The Ram pickup, with 563,676 sold, was third.

The Tundra is dated. Consumers like new trucks. What does it tell you when the GMC Sierra finishes in the top ten (ninth, with 253,016 sales), and sales went up nine percent in 2020? We may quibble about the front fascia designs or headlight placement, but it does start a conversation.

Comparing the base Tundra to the lowest-level F-150, there’s about a $5,000 difference between them. Yes, you get more standard features on the Tundra than the F-150, but some of them are safety-related, or entertainment upgrades. That’s not going to appeal to someone who wants or needs a basic work truck with as few frills as possible, and that’s another reason why Tundra sales are what they are.

Is it the country of origin? Maybe it is, at least when it comes to pickup trucks. Even though the Titan is assembled in Canton, Mississippi, that’s not the same as being built in the D. Detroit, Motor City. No so for the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, or the Honda Civic, all top picks.

Maybe there’s some hope for the new 2022 Toyota Tundra. This will be its third generation, and Toyota is usually very good at moving in the right direction.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Dan Dan on May 04, 2021

    Forget for the moment how dated it is 15 years and three generations of updates for everybody else later, the Tundra in 2007 lapped the entire field and it wasn't even close. Fords weighed three tons empty and their engines ate themselves, and had been doing so long enough for the word to get out. GM had an otherwise decent truck hamstrung by a carryover powertrain from the previous century with a transmission that also ate itself. Ram was at its Daimler nadir and the Hemi got 12 mpg. Yeah gas was stupid expensive, yeah the bankers almost immediately burned down the world economy and the truck market with it, yeah not every half ton trim had a Toyota analog, but even that burned down truck market bought a million of those domestic pieces of junk a year while Tundras were sitting on dealer lots and TMMTX was idling shifts. Blind loyalty isn't something wrong with Toyota and it's not something Toyota can fix.

    • See 1 previous
    • CaddyDaddy CaddyDaddy on May 04, 2021

      @DenverMike COTD: "There’s some true fanboys running around, and some are loyal to Tundras too. They’re usually the backwards cap guys, high on Redbull and Axe body spray."

  • Boxerman Boxerman on May 06, 2021

    I own a 17 tundra crew cab 5.7. Needed a truck to tow boat and race car, plus bed for tires tools etc. Tried them all. At the time the dodge wasnt serious, the Gm had a sub par powertrain and the ford was simply expensive. The Tudra cots significantly less than the others, and its tow rating was far higher. To get the same tow rating on ford it would have increased the price delta even further. Theres a reason the ford is No1. its like a limo to ride in, and to drive its simply in another orbit to the toyota. The ford drives more like a good car but on 12/10 scale, the Toyota drives like a refined Truck. the Toyota is a refined truck, from the era when trucks were still trucks. Its an anvil and will probably last forever. The transmssion is great like an old fasshioned at its easy to shift with your right foot. Fuel economy is atrocious, but tis a truck, used as a truck for when its apropirate. If I drove a truck as a daily down the highway, the ford or ram would e the choice. If it were my daily thee extra cost of the Ford would be well justified. For a weekend use vehicle for purpose, the tundra does its job great. 45k miles in 4 years, so it will last another 15 or so. Maybe when electric trucks can toiw distance, or I win the lottery so price does not matter Ill get a different ruck.

  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉