Toyota first manufactured the Tundra in 2000 as a three-quarter-size version of a full-size truck. For the second-generation Tundra, introduced in 2007, the company increased the size of the truck and completely changed the mechanicals.

My first impression of the Tundra 4 x 4 double cab with a 4.6-liter V-8, the truck I tested for a week, was that it looks and drives like a premium-quality SUV. I asked the Toyota people if it has an SUV twin, and they said yes — it is nearly identical to the Sequoia.

New in 2010 is the 4.6-liter engine. It replaces the 4.7-liter motor. The new engine is a descendant of the one that powers the Lexus LS 460 and GS 460 cars. It has a quiet and smooth idle, but growls like a performance car during rapid acceleration. The sound is addictive and it was a real challenge to obey speed laws with the truck.

All Tundra engines have variable valve timing with electronic intelligence. This helps give the engines more low-end torque and gives the engine a wider band of near maximum torque.

Under the hood the engine compartment is clean and organized. It reminds me of the engine compartment of a 1967 Chevelle SS-396.

Toyota says the trucks don’t need a lot of rear axle ratio choices. Ratios available are 3.90, 4.10 and 4.30. Your choice of motor determines the ratio you get. The tester truck cruised at 60 mph turning only 1,500 rpm with its 4.10 ratio. On trucks equipped with V-8 engines, a tow package is available. It includes coolers for engine oil, automatic transmission fluid and power steering fluid. On the 5.7 V-8, the package also includes a transmission fluid heater. Pressing the tow switch makes the transmission change shift points to better handle heavy loads. I pulled two hopper wagons of corn (575 bu.) to market with the truck. I used low-range 4 x 4 to begin pulling the load and then shifted to high-range 4 x 2. There was plenty of power to do the job.