Drag Race Review: 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged

Not many people know that Toyota makes weapons. They calmly focus your attention on their everyday vehicles like the Camry, Prius, and other vehicles built for the daily grind. However, deep in the darkest parts of their automotive stable lies an assassin. Parked among the discarded carcasses of turbocharged Supras sits a vehicle that doesn’t make sense. I am not eloquent enough to properly describe it, so here are a few choice words from other folks:

“It’s like driving a ballistic building…” – Aaron Robinson, Car & Driver.
“A quick jaunt in this Tundra will humble the most jaded sports car purist. It’s too quick. It’s a truck. It feels so wrong.” – Thomas Voehringer, Motor Trend.
“Milk milk, lemonade, in this Tundra, fudge is made…” – Jeff Glucker, Hooniverse.com.

See, I told you I wasn’t as eloquent. However I think my statement conveys the gist of what Toyota has handed me the keys to. It’s the 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged, which produces 504 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque…and I’m taking it to the drag strip.

About once a month, the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana opens up the gates of their drag strip to the public. They call it the Street Legal Drags. I call it an excuse to wake up way too early and try something I have never done before. I paid my $20 at the gate and breezed through tech inspection. It was time to find a parking spot and mingle with the crowd. I was quite surprised with just how friendly everyone was. Regardless of what they brought to the track, they all had smiles on their faces and more than a few were curious about my big red truck.

This Tundra is not just fitted with a supercharger and some shiny wheels. The folks at Toyota reached deep into the TRD parts bin and pulled out an exhaust system, a set of sway bars, and most importantly a TRD Big Brake Kit. This truck can go fast, but thankfully it can also stop quite quickly.

This truck is essentially the Mad Max of full-size pickups. The supercharger screams louder than a tween getting face-licked by a Jonas Brother. The truck is red because the exhaust note was tuned to sound like the Devil gargling his soul-flavored mouthwash. This truck is a beast, pure and simple.

There are other choices in the admittedly small sport-truck category. Everyone remembers the Ford Lightning. The Tundra could probably tow a Lightning while beating another Lightning down the strip. The other popular choice in this segment is the mighty Dodge Ram SRT-10. With power coming from a Viper, it is certainly a truck with serious muscle…and this Tundra will open-hand slap the Ram like a sheep. The Tundra TRD Supercharged  will hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 4.5 seconds. Car and Driver tested the truck a year ago and hit 13.5 in the quarter-mile.

How did I fare?

See for yourself:

My first ever run down the track and I am in the 100+ mph club. Not too shabby for a truck, eh? If I borrowed a set of slicks and learned how to launch, this Tundra would be in the 12’s, no question. The standard, regular cab 4×2 5.7L-equipped Tundra will set you back about $30,000. All the TRD go-fast goodies will add about $15,000+ to that total. It’s certainly a huge chunk of change but worth every penny for that feeling you get when you step on the gas. It’s not every day I get to watch a speedometer act like a tachometer.

I would like to thank Toyota for letting us have some fun with their beast of a truck, Will Novy for shooting video, his father Mark for snagging some great photos (slideshow below), and the two truck guys at the track who gave me advice. The only reason I beat that yellow Dakota in my first pass is because he missed a shift after the 1/8th mile. That truck has slicks, a supercharger, and a shot of nitrous – it typically runs in the 12’s.

Also, thanks to the Autoclub Dragway for putting on a professional and very well-run event.

One last note, the biker in the video did get up and walk away from that spill.

Update to pricing: The base price is $24,380 and with all the options plus the TRD equipment, the final tally is $45,656. Pretty good bang for the buck.

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