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Old 05-04-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
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Perception vs. Reality

In many of the Tundra threads there is a common theme of Toyota ownership loyalty based on brand experience. There is no debating the fact that Detroit opened the door for the imports by offering shoddy products in the '70's and '80's.

I'm curious as to how many Tundra owners really looked at domestic brands with an open mind or were they influenced by that "4 Runner or Celica that went on forever with out any service issues".

As a one time automotive journalist, I've had the opportunity to drive vehicles "like they were stolen" in a comparative situation and without a salesman riding shotgun. Quite frankly, in the last several years, domestics are every bit as good, if not better than the captive imports.

So, all things being equal, were you influenced to buy a Tundra based on previous experiences with Toyotas or did you look at Ford, GM and/or Chrysler products with an open mind?
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:04 AM   #2
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When I was waiting for the new Tundras to show up at a local dealer, I did just that. I drove the 1/2 tons made by the big 3, I was not impressed. None of them could compare with the ride, power, comfort and overall quality found in the 2nd generation Tundra. If you add that to the fact that my previous 2 Toyota's had been in the shop once each (for recall items) in 12 years, I think I made very pleased with decision. How many of the big 3 loyalists have looked at other brands?
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:13 AM   #3
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If I were not towing in excess of 3 tons of RV, I might consider an import, but frankly, I've found nothing but smoke and mirrors with the imports trying to play 3/4 ton in a 1/2 ton sandbox. Nissan had a huge blowout over the Armada a year or so ago and to date, no one has been able to demonstrate how adding a trans cooler increased the tow capacity on the imports from 5k to 7 to 8k or more. To be honest though, the 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton lines have been so diluted in the domestics, it's also hard to understand some of the tow ratings. A few years back, in domestic land, it was pretty straight forward. Now, about the only thing you don't get with the 1/2 tonners is the trans and some driveline components.

I wound up buying a 2004 Suburban 3/4 ton. It has been in the shop 1 time in nearly 4 years. The problem, the front emblem was fading and 3 of my 4 alum rims began to delaminate. Fixed in one day and back on the road.

Towing aside, for my daily driver, I am hopeful that next car will NOT be an internal combustion driven car (for the most part). I've seen the current offerings from Honda and Toyota and read and followed all the talk from Toyota slamming the Chevy Volt, but frankly, I feel that there is more than a distinct chance my next car would in fact be a Volt. Why? Well, as has been pointed out earlier, the QC of the domestics is clearly in par with the "imports", if one can call a Toyota an import, and the interiors of the domestics are no longer just plasticy type cabins. Even the Chevys has some Buick or Caddy type interiors now.

I think the biggest example of what I'm talking about is Saturn (though all the domestics have ramped it up). Recall the Saturn of the 90s, econoboxes. Ever seen a Saturn now? Hard to see any econobox in most of the new lines.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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We looked a long time at the toyota. I like the truck but found the attitude of the sales people to be, well, take it or leave it. The lease rates were just crazy and in the end the visit to the ford dealer changes our mind. When we observed the difference in the frame, that was it. Just no comparison. The lease rate was over 200/ month less. That did it. Ford wanted the business more than Toyota.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari 28
We looked a long time at the toyota. I like the truck but found the attitude of the sales people to be, well, take it or leave it. The lease rates were just crazy and in the end the visit to the ford dealer changes our mind. When we observed the difference in the frame, that was it. Just no comparison. The lease rate was over 200/ month less. That did it. Ford wanted the business more than Toyota.
Though these were done or supported by Ford I believe, it was a real eye opener:

YouTube - Ford F150 vs Toyota Tundra - Frame Strength

YouTube - Ford F150 vs Chevy vs Toyota - Bed Bounce

...and yes as a staunch GM fan, it bothered me to see the Fords do better then the GM vehicles did, but, I'd be even more unhappy if I were a staunch Toyota fan!
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:35 AM   #6
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You gotta love Ford's self serving videos! I've never had a single problem with my Toyota when it comes to frame strength but I have seen and even owned a Ford F150 with dents in the back of the cab from the bed hitting it due to frame flex. Now, I'm going to so a step farther on this topic.

As an Architect, I had a pretty heavy education in structural engineering. To take a single item like a frame and test it structurally means almost nothing. To properly test it, you must complete the build. Toyota may have designed the bed to contribute stiffness to the frame thus spreading the load. It is done all the time in buildings where interior walls make the steel frame stiffer. Fully built, the Toyota may be every bit as stiff as the Ford. Same for the video of the trucks being driven over violent bumps to cause periodic oscillations. Every structure has a phased periodic oscillation at which it could fail. One of my professors discussed how it could conceivably be possible for a prancing house cat to set up a periodic oscillation on the Golden Gate Bridge sufficient to take it down! In my 45 years of driving, I have never once encountered a situation where truck frame flex or periodic oscillations caused me to loose control of my vehicle. When I encounter such conditions, I slow down! I guess Ford figures if they're dumb enough to buy a Ford they won't be smart enough to slow down!

I started buying Toyota after having owned a Ford 150, then a GMC 1500. The Ford dropped the timing chain at about 105,000 miles taking out 6 push rods and 8 valves. I used the truck to pull my sailboat to the lake. Put in a little summer heat and little grade and the damn thing would overheat in a minute! The GMC wasn't all that bad, only had problems with the tranny, the heater, and alignment. In order to get the truck aligned, I had to purchase a $125 kit to be installed just so they could set the cambor, castor, and tow-in! Why didn't it come from the factory with the washers etc. to align the damn thing. Oh, yes, it's because GMC was trying to screw me! In disgust, I tried a Nissan pickup and the bed rusted badly and developed big holes. It ran very well, just rusted way too quickly. I had a structural engineer who bought a Dodge and it gave him endless problems. Dangerous problems, like wheels falling off going down the freeway. Then I tried a Toyota. Best fit yet!

So, I gave the others a chance. Now they can do to themselves what they tried to do to me! They've earned it!
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:48 AM   #7
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I switched from Dodge and am very pleased. I think the Tundra is a generaly well thought out vehicle with excellent performance. I prefer Toyota service over Dodge. Note that I've only had my Tundra 5 months/ 19,000 miles so it's early days yet. I looked at all brands and even tried an Avalanche but in the end I wanted the 6 speed semi auto transmission, and liked the exterior styling and interior design/ features too.

However my decision to switch was biased somewhat by the oportunity to purchase cross border; doing so with a domestic would have been far less attractive with regard to any warranty.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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Reliability? My '04 Chevy K2500 has 65,000 miles and has not had so much as burned out a light bulb.

Economy? If I am careful, I can just squeeze out 20 mpg (diesel) in highway driving at 60 - 65 mph. 19.5 is more common. But still, this is for a 3/4 ton 4X4 with four doors! It will get better than 17 mpg. in mixed city driving!

Price? I could have had a Toyota for a couple thousand more. But I actually wanted to be able to tow large loads.

Comfort? It just barely rides like a truck. 12 hour days, and more, are no problem.

Before the K2500 I had two different Astro vans which went a combined 550,000 miles with so few problems they are not worth mentioning. Between the two of them I had them in the shop three times, I think. Everything else was just r&r of stuff as it wore out. One of them is still driven by my brother-in-law, the other was stollen and burned, so I still do not know the life limit.

This is not to put down other trucks; I am sure Toyota makes a fine truck. But I could not see paying more for less capability, and there is no way it could be more reliable.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:27 AM   #9
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Nothing but American for me!! Love my Chevy....have always driven them....always will.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:34 AM   #10
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there is such a thing as "too stiff", too. So, I'm not sure exactly what it is they're tryin' to sell, here. I once saw a documentary about the building of Mack trucks, and they kinda did the opposite of what they're doing in the ford videos...demonstrating how "flexible" the frame was on this huge beast of a truck...because if it wasn't, something would snap. forces get "absorbed" rather than transmitted to other parts.
Not to "dis" Ford. I've had good luck with my last couple of Ford cars.

as far as "looking at new vehicles" goes...they're all ~fabulous~, when they're new. Thats why car salesmen are so eager to get you to test drive them. Whatever it is, its WAY better than that smelly old thing you're driving now. .
Talk to me in 5 years. once the shine wears off, and stuff starts breaking...thats the real measure, imo.
I've got a ford car, and a dodge truck, both the same model year...same mileage. The difference in repair costs is absolutely staggering!
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis4x4
In many of the Tundra threads there is a common theme of Toyota ownership loyalty based on brand experience.... snip....So, all things being equal, were you influenced to buy a Tundra based on previous experiences with Toyotas or did you look at Ford, GM and/or Chrysler products with an open mind?
I go both ways...... I like Toyotas and I like Fords.

For a car... I'll take Toyotas (or Toyota products.) We're on our second Lexus GS and when this one goes we'll get our third. Prior to going to Lexus, We've had 3 Celicas and one Accord. I loved the Celicas (out grew them) and the Accord went for trade for our first Lexus. In the nearly 30 years of ownership of Toyotas (or Toyota products), we've never had a problem with any of them.

For the truck... F-150 all the way!!! Our current one is a 2004. It's been in the shop several times but ONLY for routine maintenence. Well - except for one repair - we took it in for a paint touch up when some little A** HOLE keyed it all across the front and down the entire passenger side.

Our 28 ft Safari finally rolls out of Jackson Center on Thursday. So, we'll really have a chance to test it out as a TV. We expect it to perform well. We're also anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2009 F-150s. The towing improvements are supposed to be pretty nice - so I hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Though these were done or supported by Ford I believe, it was a real eye opener:

YouTube - Ford F150 vs Toyota Tundra - Frame Strength

YouTube - Ford F150 vs Chevy vs Toyota - Bed Bounce

...and yes as a staunch GM fan, it bothered me to see the Fords do better then the GM vehicles did, but, I'd be even more unhappy if I were a staunch Toyota fan!
The bed bounce video was a real eye opener! Another one to check out is YouTube - New 2009 Ford F-150: Most Capable Light-Duty Truck Ever

There is a reason that the F-150 has been the best selling truck for many years - it's the best one out there! Like the old commercial said... "Have you driven a Ford, lately?"

Disclaimer - If I offended any other SOB truck owners all I can say is... Gee mon, I'm sorry, 'snot my problem!
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:38 AM   #12
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Denis4x4: You are absolutely correct. Current domestics are just as good but it depends on what you need. We wanted a 4x4, crew cab, in a mid-size format. Yes, we looked at them all knowing we would be towing a lightweight TT. While we were at the Toyota dealer and just finished the last of many test drives, the wife looked next door at the Honda dealer and exclaimed, "What's that?" The rest is history and we are extremely happy with our choice. We are not brand loyal and could have just as easily purchased a domestic had one been available with the same features. We were in fact thinking of the Ford Sport Trac.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:59 AM   #13
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Oh no, now we have to add Toyota to the Ford/Dodge/Chevy fight
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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Choice of TV is possibility the single most contentious issue on this forum. Which is great because you certainly get exposed to every side of the subject.

In my case, back in 2004 my wife and I test drove at least 10 pickups, both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton, foreign and domestic. My wife always drove and I rode in the back. We liked the Chevy 2500 but the interior was pretty industrial. The Ford F250 had the better cabin but the local dealers wanted top dollar, period. The Tundra didn't exist.

We drove the Nissan Titan at the local dealer and liked it a lot. We ended up buying one on the internet from a dealer 200 miles away because the local guys did not have the one we wanted and it was 2 months to order to spec.

I have read some posts here of former Titan owner(s) who gave theirs up for capacity issues. Or gave them up when the brakes proved inadequate (since corrected by Service Bulletin). Consumer Reports is also critical of the vehicle.

That being said, we still love it. Other than the brake recall, we have had zero problems in over 60k miles (22k towing). We weighed our Sovereign with an average load and it went some 7700#. The Titan pulls this with ease except on the most extreme grades (where I end up in 3rd, going 40 n the "granny" lane).

To get back to your original question, I didn't really consider source while I was shopping and had never previously owned a Nissan. (In the last 10 years: 2 GM, 1 Ford, 1 Mazda).

mike
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