Best & Worst Toyota Tundra Years

In this guide, we help you pick the right Toyota Tundra for you. We've spent countless hours to categorize each Toyota Tundra model so you don't have to.

In the world of full-size pickup trucks, the Toyota Tundra stands out as a beacon of robust power, enduring reliability, and top-notch construction quality.

However, the Tundra’s chronology is not uniformly renowned; there are model years that are excellent and have performed very well so far, while others have somewhat underperformed.

In this guide, we will show you the best and worst years of the Toyota Tundra and give you a better understanding of what each year brings to the table.

Table of ContentsShow

Toyota Tundra Generations

GenerationYears
Toyota Tundra (XK30/XK40, 1st generation)2000-2006
Toyota Tundra (XK50, 2nd generation)2007-2021
Toyota Tundra (XK70, 3rd generation)2022-Present

Providing an overview of the different generations of the Toyota Tundra offers gives you insight into the evolution of the model until now.

Each generation represents a significant change in design, technology, and general focus, the understanding of which can be a deciding factor for many potential buyers.

For this guide, we have also categorized some model years as “Neutral Years”. These represent a middle ground, where the Tundra did a decent job but with some shortcomings.

These model years proved to be average performers, without any noticeable highs or lows.

So without any further ado, here are the best Toyota Tundra years and which Toyota Tundra years to avoid.

Toyota Tundra Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation2003, 2004, 200520022000, 2001, 2006
2nd generation2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017, 20182013, 2016, 20192007, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020, 2021
3rd generationN/A20232022

These classifications are based on dozens of hours of research, analyzing each model year while taking several factors into account. These factors include the following:

Owner-reported reliability, annual maintenance costs, safety ratings, Consumer Reports reliability and owner satisfaction scores, NHTSA recalls, investigations, complaints, and owner ratings from Edmunds, JD Power, Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB), VehicleHistory, and Cars.com.

There are also certain factors, such as NHTSA recalls, which negatively influence the ranking. A higher number of recalls suggest reliability issues, thus lowering the model year’s score.

Here are the ultimate scores based on our rankings.

Toyota Tundra Car Smite Score Combined Score

Best & Worst Years For Toyota Tundra 1st Generation (2000-2006)

Toyota Tundra 1st generation 2000 model
The 2000 Toyota Tundra

Toyota ventured into the full-scale pickup market with the introduction of the first-generation Tundra in 2000.

Best Years: 2003, 2004, 2005

These years were the gleaming stars of the first generation, boasting a potent 4.7-liter V8 engine and a spacious double cab. The combination of reliability, excellent towing capacity, and overall value earned these years high praise.

Neutral Year: 2002

The 2002 model didn’t particularly stand out, but it maintained the Tundra’s reputation for durability.

Minor issues with transmission and brakes, however, kept it from reaching the ranks of the best years.

Worst Years: 2000, 2001, 2006

The beginning and end of the Tundra’s first generation faced several challenges.

The 2000 and 2001 models struggled with exhaust system problems, and the 2006 model had issues with the air induction system, negatively impacting its performance and reliability.

Best & Worst Years For Toyota Tundra 2nd Generation (2007-2021)

Toyota Tundra 2nd generation 2007
The 2007 Toyota Tundra

The second generation of Tundra was introduced in 2007 and offered a more prominent and robust design.

Best Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018

The Tundra reached its peak in these years with improved fuel efficiency, enhanced safety features, and a powerful 5.7L V8 engine. These models stood out for their reliability and performance, making them the top choices for the second generation.

Neutral Years: 2013, 2016, 2019

These model years were decent performers, with neither significant issues nor remarkable advancements.

They offered solid performance and reliability, but nothing that stood out in a crowded field.

Worst Years: 2007, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020, 2021

These years witnessed various issues, including problems with the air conditioning and heater systems, premature brake wear, and engine problems.

These issues led to lower reliability ratings and overall performance.

Best & Worst Years For Toyota Tundra 3rd Generation (2022-Present)

Toyota Tundra 3rd generation 2022 model

The third generation (2022 to present time) offers a more futuristic design and advanced technology features.

Best Years: None yet

As of our last update in 2023, the latest generation is relatively new, and we’re still waiting to see which years will shine.

Neutral Years: 2023

The 2023 model is so far providing solid performance, without major issues or significant advancements. It maintains the Tundra’s reputation for power and reliability, but it doesn’t break new ground.

Worst Years: 2022

The 2022 model had a few teething problems, including minor issues with the new infotainment system and some complaints about interior quality. However, Toyota is known to swiftly address such issues in subsequent models.

Toyota Tundra Average Resale Values

We also used the average listing price of all Toyota Tundra models to give you an overview of the price right now. See the graph below:

Toyota Tundra Average List Price

Conclusion

The Toyota Tundra has experienced a notable journey with great innovation over the years.

Do you own a Toyota Tundra or plan to own one? Comment your thoughts below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.