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2010 Toyota Tundra vs 2010 Toyota Tacoma

It may seem like the simplest concept in the world. If you need a smaller, more fuel efficient Toyota pickup truck then you buy a 2010 Tacoma. If you need a full-size pickup with a V8 then the beefy 2010 Tundra obviously is the way to go. This choice is simple, right? Right?

Well there are actually more distinct differences and surprising similarities between these two Japanese work trucks than you might imagine. And that makes it confusing to decide which one is right for you. But with a little research and a little pilot time behind the wheel (with some help from this article) you can put the right 2010 Toyota pickup in your driveway.  

2010 Toyota Tacoma

Let’s just face facts here. Nowadays most people don’t buy the bare bones version of pickup trucks. People expect all of the modern conveniences of cars mixed with the brutal utility a pickup provides. Although you can buy a $15,000 single cab Tacoma with vinyl bench seats and 2.7 liter 159 horsepower 4 cylinder, isn’t that what your gardener drives? And isn’t his from 1978?

The fact that so many compact Toyota trucks are on the road is proof of the solidity inherent in the Tacoma design. But the one issue is it isn’t all that much smaller than the 2010 Tundra with the popular double-cab spec. It may lack the overall dimension of the Tundra double-cab but from behind it is hard to tell these two trucks apart.

The Tacoma is usually equipped with the hugely reliable 4.0 liter V6 engine that puts out 236 horsepower that lets this little baby tow up to 5,350 pounds. That’s enough for most jet-ski owners and the like but a horse trailer might be better suited to a Tundra V8. The V6 engine, however, is rated at 17 city/21 highway by the EPA. Not bad for a truck.

The interior of the Tacoma is very sturdily built with pleasingly organic shapes and all the controls exactly where they should be. The design is a bit 1990’s in aesthetic but for truck use it is just about perfect. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t, much like is true for the whole package.

Modern day pickups with their leather, navigation and designers interiors may look cool on the new car lot but how well will they hold up to day to day torture? Since you already know the Tacoma has been around awhile you can rest assured your Tacoma will take a licking and keep on ticking.

2010 Toyota Tundra

When compared to that of the bad boy Tacoma, the exterior styling of the 2010 Toyota Tundra is nothing short of grand Mack-daddy machismo mixed with an angular, “don’t mess with me” attitude. This is not a truck for shrinking violets or wimps. You may actually need to live in or be from Texas and wear Stetson cologne to drive certain versions.

Essentially what it boils down to is that you buy a regular Tundra truck (available in single, double or crew cabs) if you use it merely for work or to haul cargo but if you want a luxurious truck you have to specify the Tundra Limited (available only as four door crew cab). This shift from Tundra to Tundra Limited usually means the difference between buying a truck in the $30,000 range to buying one in the $40,000 range.

Basic $25,000 Tundras come equipped with the 4.0 liter V6 from the Tacoma but smart buyers will opt for the all new 4.6 liter V8 that not only pumps out 310 horsepower but also gets 15 city/20 highway. That is phenomenal for a V8 in such a heavy vehicle. This vehicle is available in all sizes but not in Limited trim. Limited models come with a less fuel efficient 5.7 liter V8 that puts out 381 horsepower.

Limited trim not only adds leather, optional navigation, wood trim accents and chrome door handles to the Tundra package but it also gives you access to the top-line $47,000 Platinum model. This over the top pickup comes with rear seat entertainment, navigation, upgraded perforated leather, sunroof, XM, Bluetooth, premium audio with 12 speakers, power seats and pretty much everything you don’t need in a pickup as standard.

Another downside to the Platinum package is that it adds more chrome trim to an exterior overburdened with it and forces Toyota to stoop to a low no Japanese truck maker has ever reached. Yes, the Tundra Platinum comes standard with chrome rims. They are nearly as tacky as the optional Red Rock Leather (that really looks orange) and the cheesy half wood/half leather steering wheel.

If you want the options from the Platinum Package you can get most of the non-visual features on the Limited model options list without having to resort to driving a truck with visual styling aids fresh from the Texas State Fair and Cattle Show. Or even better, save yourself some money and buy a work ready cloth trim Tundra and it is doubtful you will miss any of those extra spurious luxuries.

Which is Best?

Either way you can’t lose with a Toyota pickup (barring the Tundra Platinum edition, of course). Honestly, however, due to its newer design and wider range of capabilities the Tundra is the more complete truck.

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