2023 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Long Bed Driveway Test: Emphasis on loooong
A few months back, I need to move a whole bunch of boxes and other large items from my under-construction house to where I was staying during the renovation. Now, the best-possible vehicle choice would’ve been a gigantic red Mercedes Sprinter like I had back in Oregon. The second-best option was probably this, though: a full-size truck with a long-bed option. Specifically, this was a 2022 Toyota Tundra Platinum with the CrewMax cab and the 6.5-foot long-bed that’s an option on all trims but the TRD Pro and Capstone. A 5.5-foot bed is standard.
This isn’t just a matter of dropping a longer bed onto an otherwise identical truck. The wheelbase grows by the same amount, 1 foot, as the bed. Not surprisingly, so does the overall length. This takes the Tundra from 233.6 inches (19.5 feet) to 245.6 (20.5 feet), with a wheelbase of 157.7 inches versus 145.7. It also means the truck was totally and humorously longer than my driveway. So, although “Driveway Tests” around here usually mean tests we conduct in our driveways, in this case, it’s both that and a literal test of an actual driveway. Score!
To that end, this Tundra definitely would’ve been longer than my notorious old driveway, and I have to wonder how its wonky, Instagram-worthy hump would’ve agreed with the long-bed Tundra. You see, ground clearance for the Platinum with the i-Force Max hybrid powertrain is only 8.5 inches, or less than every Subaru not named BRZ or WRX. This, combined with the extra-long wheelbase and length, likely makes the break-over angle, um, interesting. I’d love to share what that is but it’s not in Toyota’s specs (though if you’re wondering why the TRD Pro can’t be paired with the long bed, I’d wager this is your answer). At the very least, the truck looks like it’s been slammed.
On the upside, being lower to the ground does make loading that extra-long bed easier, and isn’t that the point of getting the extra-long bed in the first place? Lifting the big, heavy wardrobe boxes didn’t require such a back-breaking heave, and for 6-foot-3 me at least, sliding smaller boxes in just required a slight lift beyond my belt buckle. Needless to say, I could fit an awful lot of boxes inside.
Now, climbing into the bed could be better. The Tundra offers a drop-down corner step (below, top left) that’s certainly bigger and easier to climb onto than the integrated corner steps standard on GM’s trucks. However, it’s also grossly inferior to GM’s optional MultiPro tailgate (top right) as well as Ram’s Multi-function tailgate (bottom left) and whatever Ford’s man step is officially called. I used all of the above at some point during my move and the Tundra’s solution was by far the weakest (GM gets my vote for best).
So, how much is the long-bed option? Very good question. According to the 2023 Tundra configurator, a Platinum with the standard bed starts at $60,100. A Platinum with the long bed starts at $60,005. No, that isn’t a typo. The long bed is cheaper. I checked other trim levels: it’s $330 cheaper on the Limited, $95 cheaper on the 1794 Edition, but then it’s $885 more expensive on the base SR5 trim. No additional or missing equipment is indicated in Toyota’s features list, so I’m at a loss to explain this. I’ve asked Toyota why this might be and will update this should I get an answer.
Assuming, however, that you’re not missing out on a bunch of terrific goodies by going long, one must wonder, “Why go with the pricier smaller bed?!?” The best answer is probably “my driveway and/or garage are too small,” but there is another factor: it drives weird. The wheelbase is so colossal that you notice the extra-long delay it takes to feel the bump and subsequent rebound of the rear axle going over undulations in the pavement. It feels a tad nautical, and not unlike when towing a trailer.
So, the long bed is weird. But it’s good at moving boxes, which you probably shouldn’t mention to friends if you get one. Just make sure to measure your driveway first.