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by Steve Siler

Toyota Tundra
2003 Toyota Tundra

Toyota has a rather prudent product credo of enough being enough. And nowhere is that more evident in their full-size pickup offering, the Tundra.

Like every other full-size truck sold here, the Tundra is built in America, but unlike the rest, it doesn't subscribe to the bigger-is-better ethic that leads to wasteful powertrains, cumbersome dimensions and ponderous curb weights. Rather, the Tundra is sized just a couple inches shorter and a couple inches narrower while offering full-size cargo capacity and V-8 power. You don't often miss those extra inches unless you are a full-time contractor, but you sure appreciate the tighter dimensions every time you negotiate an underground parking garage or supermarket parking lot.

Inside, the Tundra will have you shaking your head and wondering if there who just transported you into the cab of the last-generation Ford F-150. Once you start playing with the hig-quality switchgear, however, you'll wonder who just transported you into a Lexus. Truly, the Tundra is superbly assembled with excellent materials.

The Tundra is powered by your choice of the 190-hp V-6 also found in the Tacoma (skip it) or a deliciously smooth, 245-hp V-8 whose payoff in the power department far outweighs the single city-cycle mile per gallon tax it requires to get from here to there. Highway mileage for the two powertrains is identical (with the 5-speed automatic transmissions that is standard on the V-8, optional on the V-6).

All said, the Tundra is the quiet, competent one in the full-size truck game. But while the bruisers make for fun flings, to be sure, sometimes the quiet ones are the marrying types.