2014 Toyota Tundra live photos: 2013 Chicago Auto Show

I’ve personally have been following this for quite awhile, as the expectations for the next-generation Tundra have been quite high. Competition in the light duty truck segment is second only to the midsize saloon segment. Since the current-generation debuted all the way back in 2007 (almost a lifetime ago), Ford, GM, and Dod…I mean, RAM have all released all-new versions of their trucks, in the never-ending game of “can you top this”? Unfortunately, Nissan bowed out a few years ago, whenever they decided to not offer anything other than a quad-cab V8 version of the Titan.

So, did Toyota come to play as well? Apparently not, as the vast majority of the changes on the new Tundra only run skin deep. It all starts with the styling…a consistent criticism of the current version is that the Tundra looks like a bloated fish. That’s actually the nicest thing that I’ve personally heard about it.

In any event, Toyota has heeded the words of both potential and current owners, and have sharpened most of the styling cues. Although the cab and the roof remain the same (changing out doors can be quite costly), the front clip and the rear bed have been given a makeover.

In the front, the Tundra decided to play “follow the leader” instead, by making the grille and the badge bigger and bolder. Overall, the redesign works better, but it’s still too big and bloated. Out back, the bed is all-new, with a revised tailgate and a very subtle spoiler. No word if it’ll help create more downforce. One interesting note is the TUNDRA cut-out in the tailgate itself. It actually works.

Inside, it also follows the rest of the crowd by adding more luxo features and trim. Toyota made Bluetooth connectivity and the back-up camera standard across the line (the one in my father-in-law’s ’09 Tacoma works brilliantly). Not only that, it’s also offering the optional Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). The interior looks like Toyota stole the wastebasket from Ford’s rejected last-generation F-150 interior drawings. Like the outside, the inside is an improvement, but it still feels a step or two behind…as if those steps were taken by Shaq.

What might redeem itself in the eyes of luxury truck owners is Toyota rolling out the “1794 Edition.” Named after the ranch that the Tundra assembly plant currently sits on, plus it takes the aforementioned BSM and makes it standard, along with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, and a 12-speaker JBL sound system with Entune (Toyota speak for their own telematics system). Of course, the prerequisite saddle-leather quality seats tops it all off.

That being said, will a couple of new trims be enough to get people to look past the lack of mechanical upgrades, as well as the frame not being beefed up? As the early 90’s power ballad group Nelson said it best, only time will tell…but from the looks of things, it doesn’t look like Toyota has it on its side.

Photo Credit: Newspress

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