2014 Toyota Tundra: spacious, lots of stuff, lousy mileage

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Manufactured since 1999, the Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup restyled for the first time in seven years for its 2014 editions.

It’s offered in five grades: SR, SR5, Limited and premium grades Platinum and “1794 Edition.” Three cab styles, two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab and four-door CrewMax are all available in 4×2 and 4×4.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

I first drove the new Tundra at a regional press preview last fall in Cle Elum, Wa. On that occasion, I drove the CrewMax 4×4 Limited for only an hour through several small Northwest cities. More recently, during my week’s usual test drive, I had the same model.

The newly designed 2014 Toyota Tundra.
The newly designed 2014 Toyota Tundra. All images © James Raia/2013

The new Tundra features an integrated hood, tightened surfaces and new overall lines to further enhance the full-size pick-up’s pulling power and wide stance. It’s also the only full-size pickup with available Blind Spot Monitor with RearCross Traffic Alert (available on Limited CrewMax, Platinum and 1794 Edition only).

But that’s just the beginning. The Tundra’s strong suit is its long list of standard features, including that Toyota Star Safety System that features Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop (SST) brake override technology.

With the new design, the front lower bumpers now have a three-piece configuration. Fenders and wheel wells have been squared-off. The new exterior is more chiseled and there’s a new bed and tail gate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” embossed into the sheet metal. Rear bumper are also now three pieces.

(Click on thumbnails for larger images.)

The Tundra has a huge amount of power, but it’s not that aggressively quick.

A 4.0-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cab SR models and produces 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 278 foot-pounds of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. It’s paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic. The 4.6-liter, DOHC i-Force V8 offers 310 horsepower and my tester was the 5.7-liter with 381 horsepower.

The CrewMax has the biggest cab available in the Tundra lineup, but it’s only available with a short bed, 66.7 inches. The new Tundra’s hood has been also been raised and more smoothly integrated into the grille.

Likes:

Superior interior space, particularly the rear seat where there’s plenty of room for three adults.

Big truck, small turning radius.

Big truck, drives smaller (it’s a compliment).

Smooth, carlike ride.

Dislikes:

Small navigation screen for a large truck.

The Entune technology system includes the app for Yelp, the small business review. Yelp? It just seems like a bad idea.

Poor gas mileage.

Facts & Figures: 2014 Toyota Tundra

Acceleration: 0-60 mph,  unavailable.
Airbags (6)
Fuel economy: 13 mpg (city), 18 mpg (highway), 15 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 381.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $38,845.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.toyota.com.
Price As tested: $41,280.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“Like the FIAT 131, Detroit and Rodney Dangerfield, Toyota’s full-size pickup doesn’t get much respect. You’re probably nodding your head in agreement — but at the same time, dismissing these trucks just doesn’t make sense.” — AutoTrader.

“Those who dislike the 2013 Tundra will probably dislike the 2014 less, and those who like the 2013 will probably like the 2014 a little more. But there’s nothing here to substantially change anyone’s mind.” — Car and Driver.

“Engineers and designers massaged the 2014 Tundra to address owner woes and improve the aesthetics. But while the changes make for a better truck, they aren’t enough to give buyers a reason to stray from the Big Three.” — Road and Track.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words

“There’s so much competition among pick-up trucks, the Tundra, while versatile, doesn’t bode well against frontrunners, particularly from Ford and Chevy. And 15 mpg doesn’t work well for many buyers anymore, even pick-up truck consumers.”

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