New Car Review
2014 Toyota Tundra: New Car Review
It may have received a few updates for the 2014 model year, but the Toyota Tundra is still largely the same truck that debuted back in 2007 -- and that's a good thing. Despite a design that should be getting old, the 2014 Toyota Tundra still feels like one of the freshest members of the full-size pickup segment.
We're not sure how the Tundra does it. Maybe it's the stylish interior, which seemed over-the-top seven years ago but remains the most avant-garde option in this segment. Or it could be the take-no-prisoners 5.7-liter V8, which masterfully combines real-world responsiveness with enormous towing and hauling capability. The styling, too, has aged well, with updates for 2014 only enhancing a good look. Whatever it is, we're still impressed with the Tundra -- and that's even more true after the pickup's latest face-lift.
What's New for 2014?
The Tundra is updated for the 2014 model year inside and out. Exterior revisions include a new grille and a more sculpted tailgate, while tweaks to the interior feature updated controls in the pickup's center stack. The truck is also the first to gain Toyota's next-generation Entune infotainment system, now available on all Tundra trim levels. Finally, the Tundra's suspension was enhanced to improve the pickup's ride.
What We Like
Stellar 5.7-liter V8; pleasant driving experience by truck standards; muscular styling revisions; updated Entune system
What We Don't
Some controls require an uncomfortable reach; no diesel option; no heavy-duty model will dissuade some truck buyers
The standard engine in the Regular Cab and Double Cab is a 4.0-liter V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic that generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. Two V8s are also available. The first, a 4.6-liter V8, cranks out 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque, while the top-dog 5.7-liter V8 boasts 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. Both work with a 6-speed automatic.
The Tundra comes standard with rear-wheel drive. The optional part-time 4-wheel-drive system -- available on V8-powered models only -- has an electronically controlled transfer case with a low range. Fuel economy is 16 miles per gallon city/20 mpg hwy with the V6, 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with the 4.6-liter V8 (14 mpg city/19 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive) and 14 mpg city/18 mpg hwy with the 5.7-liter V8 (13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive).
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Toyota Tundra comes in five trims -- base-level SR and SR5 models, a mid-level Limited, an upscale Platinum and a range-topping 1794 Edition.
The SR ($26,500) features basic items such as power accessories, cruise control, cloth seats, dual-zone climate control and a CD player with an auxiliary jack, as well as a backup camera and Toyota's Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen. Drivers who choose an extended cab model also get keyless entry and intermittent wipers.
The SR5 ($30,200) adds a few luxuries such as fog lights, chrome trim, a larger touchscreen for the Entune system and SiriusXM satellite radio with HD Radio.
Step up to the Limited ($37,500) and the standard features improve dramatically. Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-in alloy wheels, dual power seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth, leather upholstery and a JBL audio system. The Limited also adds navigation capabilities to the Entune infotainment system.
At the truck's top end is the Platinum ($45,000), which offers Lexus levels of equipment. They include ventilated front seats, a sunroof, driver memory functions, perforated leather seats and auto-dimming mirrors.
New for 2014 is the 1794 Edition ($45,000), named for a ranch in Texas near the truck's production facility. It doesn't slot above the Platinum but offers an alternative that features a Western-themed interior, wood trim and extra chrome on the outside.
Note that Limited models are offered only in extended and crew cab variants, while the Platinum and 1794 Edition can only be had with the crew cab body style.
The Tundra also offers a dizzying array of options, including an off-road package with larger wheels and a towing package that includes a transmission cooler and other tow-ready items. Many upscale features can also be added to SR5 and Limited models, making them similar to the Tundra Platinum.
The Tundra comes standard with stability control and eight airbags, including knee airbags for front occupants.
In government crash tests, the Tundra received an overall score of four stars out of five, but performance varied slightly between the CrewMax, which received three stars in both frontal-impact and rollover testing, and the other Tundra body styles, which received four stars in those categories. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was more impressed, awarding the Tundra its highest score of Good in all crash-test categories.
Behind the Wheel
Like every big truck except the RAM 1500 (with its controversial coil-spring rear suspension), the Tundra's ride is firm and jittery when the bed is empty. Updates for 2014 help the truck's case, but it's still a full-size pickup truck, after all.
We like the Tundra's relatively compact steering wheel and carlike cockpit, which help give the truck a maneuverable feel. We also appreciate that the cabin remains fairly quiet at highway speeds. Off-road, the Tundra is a formidable performer, especially with the imposingly named TRD Rock Warrior package.
The Tundra's standard front-seat configuration is a 3-person bench, but fancier Tundras have front bucket seats with escalating levels of luxury and power-adjustability. The top-of-the-line Limited's power leather seats may be the best in the business. It's not every day you find a truck with perforated-leather upholstery and power thigh support for the driver.
The regular cab doesn't have a back seat, of course, but the 4-door Double Cab provides decent room for adults in its 60/40-split folding rear bench, while the CrewMax would make 7-footers feel at home with its extended legroom. Every CrewMax's back seat slides fore and aft, but the Double Cab's is fixed by default with an optional sliding function.
The Tundra comes with three bed lengths -- 66.7-in (CrewMax only), 78.7-in (standard on Regular Cab and Double Cab) or 97.6-in (optional on Regular Cab and Double Cab). So if you want the CrewMax's extra passenger space, you'll have to live with the shortest bed of the bunch.
Other Cars to Consider
Ford F-150 -- Extensively refreshed with new powertrains a couple of years ago, the F-150 has plenty of oomph and if anything it's quieter than the Tundra while cruising.
RAM 1500 -- With its novel coil-spring rear suspension, the Ram is the first full-size truck that genuinely rides like a car. Some feel that this design compromises the truck's toughness, though.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 -- The GM twins are all-new for the 2014 model year, placing them a step ahead of the Tundra's mere face-lift. While the Tundra remains competitive, these are the new trucks to beat.
The point of these full-size beasts is to handle just about any job, right? So we'd take a Tundra Double Cab with the long bed and the 5.7-liter V8. It's the closest thing Toyota has to a heavy-duty truck, and it's all the truck we'd ever need.