For years, Toyota has made it very clear that they weren’t conceding the full-size truck category to the Big Three domestic brands. While Ford and Chevy may have the edge in volume sales, the Toyota Tundra has always held its own and has had a loyal following of consumers. With that being said, it was high time that the Tundra got a makeover, not just to keep up with the competition, but because it was necessary.
Enter my tester for the week, the 2014 Toyota Tundra LTD CrewMax.
You can’t categorize the Tundra’s metamorphosis as a complete makeover, because the engine and suspension is unchanged for this model year. But that’s the only similarity to the previous generation.
The Tundra boasts all-new looks from bumper to bumper. The best way to describe the Tundra’s new façade is rugged. Rounded styling is gone, replaced with hefty, squared off edges. It’s definitely more truck-like than ever before. Not that it was some softy previously, but now the Tundra follows the styling of the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado which, like the Tundra, boast dominant, shiny front grilles.
The best way to describe the Tundra’s new façade is rugged.
Dominant badging of the word Tundra is on the tailgate too, making a clear and obvious statement. This is a serious truck!
What also reinforces that statement is the powerful V-8 engine. My tester was the 5.7-liter V-8 which makes 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. It does not lack for power at all! For the real truck enthusiasts and the ones who want to use the Tundra to its fullest capacity for towing and weekend work, this is the engine option to consider. There are two other engine offerings including a smaller 4.6-liter V-8 and a more fuel-efficient and less powerful V-6 engine. The V-6 is better suited for those who will put more miles on the truck, maybe using it as a daily driver, and don’t expect as much of workhorse performance from it.
But my tester made itself known with the power it possesses. It holds nothing back and is quite powerful. It drives big too. With a stiff ride, the suspension in the Tundra probably should’ve also been updated by Toyota. With competitors like Silverado and F-150 offering silky smooth trucks, the Tundra’s performance is not subtle. Perhaps that’s part of its charm. It’s a truck after all and drives like one.
A 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting compliments the driving performance. The Tundra has part-time available four-wheel drive, traction control and a competitive towing/hauling mode. It’s rated with a 4,300 pound rear differential and a towing capacity of 10,400 pounds, which makes the Tundra ready for whatever you can throw at it. There’s even a trailer sway control to further its capability.
Inside, the Tundra has made vast improvements. Perhaps feeling the pressure from its competition, Toyota has made a concerted effort this model year to upgrade the interior of many of its vehicles. It does not go unnoticed in the Tundra. Soft materials abound. The cabin is cavernous. Legroom and headroom are ample for driver and passenger. The backseat boasts more room than the bedroom of my college apartment. Three adults comfortably fit in the back seat. I know because I drove around all my buddies who were interested in seeing this model year. They all gave it high marks for the space and comfort.
It’s as good as any truck out there when it comes to interior luxury and comfort.
The technology is current and employs Toyota’s Entune system which is just an average infotainment system. It integrates with smart phones and will run Pandora. Figuring it out takes a little trial and error, but otherwise it functions well. There are numerous outlets for recharging devices, USB ports for mobile device connectivity and generally plenty of things to keep kids occupied for when you’re towing the boat to the lake on the weekend.
Toyota gets high marks for thinking of everything on the interior of the Tundra. It’s as good as any truck out there when it comes to interior luxury and comfort.
The full-sized Tundra comes in three “trim” offerings including two-door regular cab, extended four-door double cab, and four-door crew cab, which is what I got to drive for the week. As mentioned the crew cab is vast inside. I’d have to see how it compares to the double cab in space, but you it’d be hard to beat the space in the crew cab. My tester was the 5.5-foot double-walled short bed with trailer caps. The Tundra also comes available with a 6.5-foot bed and an 8.1-foot long bed.
It is far from fuel-efficient but it also has the power and pedigree to explain away its guzzling ways.
Toyota took a risk by not updating their engines for the Tundra as their competition continue to tweak engines, drop weight and employ fuel-saving technology. The Tundra is near the bottom in fuel economy. My tester especially guzzled the gas with an EPA rating of 13 city and 17 highway. It is far from fuel-efficient but it also has the power and pedigree to explain away its guzzling ways.
The base Tundra starts at $25,000; the majority of the Tundras sold will cost the consumer into the $30s. My tester, which remember is the top-of-the-line engine and top trim offered had a starting price $41,895 with a final price (after a few options) of $44,359. This is on par with other trucks that have all the bells and whistles and all the luxury.
Boasting new looks that scream “powerful truck”, the 2014 Toyota Tundra doesn’t make any apologies for what it is.
Boasting new looks that scream “powerful truck”, the 2014 Toyota Tundra doesn’t make any apologies for what it is. This is a truck ready for off-road fun, towing and weekend warrior projects. As a daily commuter it won’t cut it, unless you strip it down to the bare boned, V-6 model. But if you do that, you’re missing out on the best features of the Tundra. Just load up this truck, enjoy the space and enjoy the power and capability. Then you’ll appreciate what the 2014 Toyota Tundra is all about.
Photo Credit: Toyota