2014 Toyota Tundra: First Drive — PickupTrucks.com News

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Toyota Tundra II

2014 Toyota Tundra: Drive

Posted by Mark | July 29, 2013

Although been a long time — approximately seven years the last generation’s introduction — the Tundra is not the major redesign expected. Even Toyota is this a minor change, that the 2014 Tundra has a new look with many improvements specifically designed to more strongly with Toyota customers than to new buyers.

Some may question, and so, why Toyota is simply offering is essentially a midmodel refresh all the other full-size half-ton have a much more strategy when attacking recovering — and growing — segment. So provide some context.

Toyota first announced its in 2003 to build a full-size plant in San Antonio, the original estimates were less $1 billion — a hefty investment to be although maybe not a bad price for a production facility with production plants on site. At the the full-size pickup truck was well above 2 million per year.

Not long after started construction of the new facility, climbed to $1.4 billion as were made. By the time the was finished 2006 and both Tundras and midsize Tacomas rolling off the line (in 2010—it’s the plant in the world that both large and small the total investment costs for the plant were just $2 billion — more than what Japanese leadership to at the beginning of the process.

Then the fell off a cliff, and Tundra were cut by more than in just two years.

That of financial punch to the stomach for a corporation like Toyota an impression with executives who have long memories. By the the Tundra was ready for its third-generation it was difficult for the U.S. engineering and team to get the money necessary for a revamp of the pickup, especially at a when the U.S. economy was just small regional in growth.

From our point of view, is the most logical explanation why the Tundra didn’t get any chassis, or other advanced performance the U.S. team was given a pile of cash to work and upgrades had to be prioritized. Clearly, the voices (we’ll assume customers) complained about how the Tundra looked, inside and

Before we dive into the on the third-gen Tundra, we want to clear there are no powertrain (it still offers three engines: a 4.0-liter V-6, a V-8 and a 5.7-liter V-8), no wheelbase or bed changes (still three and no cab configuration changes (still double cab and CrewMax). Toyota us that each of these will see changes in the future, but 2014 updates focus on key areas: exterior, interior and a amount of suspension tuning.


The most obvious to the new Tundra were primarily by customer clinics, which the second-generation Tundra as too round and (bubbly), looking a bit bloated. made the solution pretty sharpen up the front and rear with tight angles to it more aggressive looking. The is a taller and wider front for each of the five trim (SR, SR5, Limited, and 1794 Edition), each their own muscular and blocked

The taller headlights are now a simpler and single bulb design; the grille has been reshaped trapezoidal cuts at the bottom (like the Ram?); and the bigger grille slots have a billetlike look that slightly between the five Additionally, both the front and bumpers have a new three-piece (two outers and a beefier section) that will allow for more trim-level as well as making it easier to

The Southern California design also gave the side of the a more substantial look the help of side-cut fender incorporated into the quarter-panel steel. Around back, are new taillights and a newly designed that includes an integrated and a branding-iron-like Tundra name into the lower-right face. in order to squeeze out every extra tenth of a mile per (without significant weight Toyota engineers have several vortex generators the side mirrors and on the taillights in an to smooth out turbulent air as it moves the truck at speed. These plastic fins are supposed to low-pressures zones at the side of the this added pressure, in to reducing wind friction, is supposed to smooth and stabilize the and handling of the truck. Maybe not such a big deal when near maximum payload, but driving a pickup empty — most of us do the majority of the time) — we the attention to this small

There are no changes to any of the three bed (8-foot, 6.5-foot or 5.5-foot) in the of added storage, bed access or technology. The same drop-in and cargo rail systems are an option across all lineups.


Inside the cabin is the new Tundra offers more changes. The entire gauge and center stack has been and configured, and it’s a huge Gone are the barrel-type gauge in favor of the more conventional pickups) open-face dials offer large engine rpm and readouts, with smaller engine coolant, fuel and status gauges at each Additionally, all 2014 Tundras a center LCD information screen the two main gauges) that drivers to scroll through safety, engine and fuel data via a steering-wheel button.

The new is much simpler to use and easier to and it provides more information ever before, a vast over the second-gen layouts.

Regarding the new center stack, is the split-use strategy that it difficult for the driver to reach the and radio controls. The entire of dash controls has now been almost 3 inches closer to the allowing a more comfortable and the knob labels and the number of have been simplified as

The interior designers did a great job of little cutouts in the dash and console, providing tons of niches and slots to hold wallets, maps, keys or else small in size. In the doors now offer a multitiered area strategy. The center is about 10 percent larger.

SR — designated Work Truck — and SR5 models will offer a bench or bucket seats, CrewMax cabs (available for SR5 and for Limited, Platinum and 1794 offered with redesigned bucket seats. A big change for buyers will be the loss of adjustable rear seats; the cab will offer seatbacks to the cab wall at a good angle, the seat bottoms to flip up to all the crew-cab competitors in the segment), for more storage capacity. In where the old seatbacks had to flip to lie flat, this new setup the load-in height through the doors by more than 11 Oddly, the CrewMax floor has a big bump under the seats is not present in the double-cab model, a flatter floor by a small We expect that to be addressed the chassis and frame get its next

Drive Impressions

With of the changes to the new Tundra in the cosmetic you’d think the truck drive exactly like the model, but it does not. Toyota engineers took the to make some front and spring rate tweaks, as as some small steering changes. Both offer results.

During our time different versions of the 2014 over several Pennsylvania and broken-pavement routes, we were with the noticeable stability and tighter handling. We didn’t a chance to drive any of the trucks a payload, so we can’t comment how this truck copes heavier loads. According to the engineer, there was a lot of work in how the rear leaf springs to road irregularities, specifically rebound duties. After a harsh hit, the springs to do a much better job smoothing the feel and keeping the empty end under control. That for a more comfortable ride less of the rear bounce or we’ve felt in the past various Tundras.

We also appreciated that engineers have reworked the coil spring rates, as as the speed and flow of the steering The results are not life-changing but the quicker feel and better on-center (constant wheel corrections are no needed when driving smooth, straight roads) the driving feel a touch relaxing. Again, it’s a thing but we hugely appreciate Toyota tried to do something

We did get to tow with four different V-8 Tundras (SR5, Limited, and 1794 Edition), each a well-loaded trailer. The trailer (we were told) sat between and 9,000 pounds, and each had the appropriate weight-distributing hitch. no mechanical changes have made and no max payload, towing or vehicle weight rating have changed from to 2014, we have to say the 2014 seemed to mysteriously feel confident and easier to maneuver be in the updated steering but we’re sure the vortex generators a nonissue).

Toyota Tundra II

Tundra still those ugly slide-out small) squared-off towing but we liked the more confident we had behind the wheel. We couldn’t put a on whether that’s because of the new small steering changes or the we’ve always liked the and sound of the Toyota 5.7-liter According to the Toyota engineers, touched nothing related to the strategy of the 2014 pickup.

We also got the chance to drive a few Racing Development versions of the new through a rather muddy course. The trail included deep-water crossings, off-angle log steep and slippery hill and a tight, deeply rutted through a densely wooded The 2014 Tundra does a new transfer case from (similar to the Ford F-150’s), gives it a slight gearing with a 2.64:1 low-range when compared to the previous transfer case.

(Since is a U.S. company, this help the Tundra improve its content percentage. Toyota this new truck to have 75 U.S.-sourced content.)

Along the new transfer case, Toyota has a new four-wheel-drive dial within right-hand reach of the driver, so from 2WD to 4WD High range can now be in excess of 60 mph (not something done with the previous T-case).

We found the TRD Off-Road (an option for both SR5 and Limited to handle the nasty terrain great skill and composure. We say the new exterior or interior designs for any increase in visibility, but we did find it easier to electronically slip both 4WD Low and High range. Our feature in the TRD package is the brand-new, designed Michelin all-terrain We’re told these are the off-road tires Michelin and it won’t sell them to except Toyota for use on the 18-inch Tundras. That’s a huge because these tires a great on-road feel and little of the on-road noise associated with off-road especially since they aggressive side lugs. Our is this tire will it to other performance-oriented four-wheel-drive in Toyota’s lineup as well.


We didn’t mention the San plant fiasco in order to Toyota an excuse for pulling up so on this third-generation Tundra, but we it’s an important fact to in mind. It makes a decision the one GM made to invest in the 2014 even more impressive. had to have been dozens, if not of places along the decision-making where money could been taken away or But GM didn’t hold back on the revise.

We know there are more to be done with the Tundra. encouraging is that Toyota that, too.

Our bottom about the 2014 Tundra: It a closer look, despite its We hope we’ve shed light on this new truck to you want to give it a closer Although it doesn’t offer as as we would have liked, the and small changes make us about what will for Tundra down the road. for more details about in the next few weeks, as well as on- and off-road performance when we get a to test.

For a closer look at the new packages of the 2014 Tundra, go to our page .#0160;

Toyota 1794 Edition Interior

Toyota Tundra (and Chief Engineer Mike

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD Cab

Redesigned 2014 Tundra with next-gen Entune

Toyota Tundra II
Toyota Tundra II
Toyota Tundra II
Toyota Tundra II


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