Unless you need one you never really see them. You neighbor down the street may have one, cousin Bob does. But unless you need a pick-up truck, you never really notice them.
The fact is pick-up trucks are among the best selling vehicles in America led by Ford and its F-150, followed closely by Chevy and the Silverado. There’s one that Toyota wants you to notice, the Tundra.
The Tundra is a full size truck, not one of those small sissy trucks that those who drive the full size ones make fun of. In a very competitive truck market, the Tundra isn’t exactly flying off the lot. It is however selling and for good reason. After leaving well enough alone for years, Toyota introduced a restyling for 2014. It includes an updated exterior and redone interior. What we are left with is a bit of a retro look, more squared off, less rounded than in the past. The Entune suite of smartphone-connected services is now available in the Tundra, and there’s a new, Western-themed top trim level called the 1794 Edition. For safety, a rearview camera is now standard across all models and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is now available.
We had a chance to drive the Toyota Tundra, the SR5, last fall. This go around we had the 4X4 LTD Crewmax as opposed to the SR5. The differences are small, the SR5 doesn’t have as many standard features making it $10,000 less than our recent test model. There are still many of the things we liked last time. There seems very little in the way of luxury features. The Tundra seems ready to go to work.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra is offered with choices of three engines and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. There are also three body styles: two-door regular cab, extended four-door double cab and the four-door crew cab, the CrewMax.
Rear-wheel-drive SR models come with a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg combined (16 mpg city/20 mpg highway).
There is also a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. It’s optional for the 2WD SR double cab and standard for the 4WD SR double cab and all SR5 models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated mpg is 16 mpg combined (15 mpg city/19 mpg highway) on 2WD models; 4WD versions also rate 16 mpg combined but have lower city/highway figures.
A 5.7-liter V8 is the biggest engine available for the 2014 Tundra. It’s standard on 4WD regular cabs and all Limited, Platinum and 1794 trims, and optional on the other models. It generates 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 mpg city/18 mpg highway) on two-wheel-drive models; 4WD models also rate 15 mpg combined. There is a tow package is standard on all Tundras equipped with the 5.7-liter V8, and towing capacity tops out at 10,400 pounds when properly equipped.
Upgrades to the interior and equipment levels come for the 2014 Tundra, including a the 1794 Edition which has a bit more luxury. Trim levels include SR, SR5, Limited, and Platinum, each giving more creature comforts and technology. Materials have been upgraded across the board, though it’s less readily noticeable in the lower-tier SR and SR5 models. Double cab (standard on SR5) and CrewMax models both offer four-door access and seating for five.
For the extra $10,000, there are a few more extras we didn’t remember from our last Tundra. There are more features such as a backup camera. Yet, even at $44,429 the blind spot monitor is still an option; one we didn’t have either of the Tundra weeks. The fuel mileage is essentially the same: Last fall the SR5 delivered 13 city, 18 highway for a combined rate of only 15. The Limited is 13 city, 17 highway and 15 combined.
With everything being just about the same, we had to decide: Is nearly $10,000 in upgrades really worth it? In the end, we have to answer, um no. At $33,325 for the SR5 Crewmax you get a pretty decent truck, at $44,429, you don’t seem to get much more. The Tundra still lags behind its competitors and as mentioned last fall this new redesign might help its cause. What may help even more is getting rid of the confusing array of features and options that can price this truck out of the reach of the working man’s driveway. Keep it simple and Toyota may just be able to climb up the ladder. A Toyota loyalist will no doubt be happy with the Tundra, if they can figure out exactly what is they want.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra 4X4 LTD Crewmax
MSRP (as tested): $44,429
Engine (As tested): 5.7L V8 381 hp @ 5,600 RPM, 401 foot-lbs @ 3,600 rpm
Fuel Mileage (EPA estimated) 13 city, 17 highway, 15 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested in mixed conditions): 16
Wheelbase (Short bed) 145.7
Overall Length (Short bed) 228.9 / NA
Overall Width 79.9
Overall Height 76.2
Inside Bed Length 66.7
Inside Bed Depth 22.2
Between Wheel wells 50.0
Track (Front/Rear) 67.9/67.9
Ground Clearance 10.2
Seating: 5 (Bucket seats),6 (bench)
Headroom (Front/Rear) 39.7/38.9
Legroom (Front/Rear) 42.5/42.3
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) 65.7/65.5
Hip Room (Front/Rear) 62.6/60.4
Curb Weight: 5625 lbs.
Payload (Max) 1440lbs.
Max Towing Capacity: 9000lbs.
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/60,000 miles
24 months/25,000 miles
Roadside Assistance Coverage
24 months/25,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance