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. The 2014 Toyota Tundra may help to change that image.
Tundra not a Contender?
Toyota trucks enjoy a global reputation for durability and high resale value few other automobiles can match. A quick check of AutoTrader's used-car listings shows that Toyota Tacoma trucks that are 10 years old with more than 100,000 miles are still worth more than $10,000.
And yet the Tundra isn't seen as a serious player here in the U.S. This is largely based on opinions formed about the Toyota T100 and later, the first version of the Tundra, a smaller, less-capable truck than the latest iteration.
However, trucks such as the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado have heavy-duty versions. If you earn a living with your truck, you're probably more interested in the 2500 and 3500 versions of the Silverado or RAM. Toyota doesn't offer these types of heavy-duty versions with the Tundra.
Still, the Tundra is very capable and more than enough truck for the average shopper.
The Toyota Tundra still has one of the most powerful V8 engines around -- 5.7-liter -- with 381 horsepower. With this engine, the Tundra has a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.
While the lack of a heavy-duty version may be an issue for some, the Tundra is available in several versions including standard cab, extended Double Cab and 4-door Crew Max. Each is available in several trim levels that vary in price from about $27,000 for a base standard cab to well over $40,000 for a loaded Crew Max version.
Toyota recently asked owners what they liked and didn't like about the Tundra, and then the company set out to fix the truck's perceived shortcomings.
A few of the owner-mentioned issues clearly needed attention. We've never loved the Tundra's interior, and the separated gauges were hard to read at a glance.
Thankfully, Toyota addressed those concerns and a few others as well. The center-mounted controls (navigation, radio, A/C) have been moved closer to the driver, making them easier to reach.
The suspension gets a few tweaks as well; the ride is now a little smoother and easier to live with.
Toyota's full-size Tundra also gets a few cosmetic updates. Some previous Tundra owners thought the truck was too round-looking or not wide enough. This is largely a problem of perception; the Tundra is just as wide as the more popular American trucks.
To address this perception, Toyota added a little more attitude to the truck's look. The hood is higher, the grille is more pronounced and the tailgate has a more sculpted look, with the word "Tundra" stamped into it.
The big news for the 2014 Toyota Tundra is the luxurious 1794 Edition, named after a ranch in Texas near where the Tundra is built.
The 1794 Edition gets LED running lights, power-folding side mirrors and more chrome up front. Inside, the 1794 Edition gets softer, more luxurious leather as well as a moonroof, Entune and a JBL audio system.
The Tundra is at a disadvantage as the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and RAM have recently been more significantly updated. It's hard not to recommend the Tundra, but the Silverado does feel a little more surefooted when towing close to its maximum payload.
But concerns about the Tundra's size are not rooted in reality. The cab is just as spacious as other full-size pickups. Toyota even reworked the rear seat to make it more useful for hauling cargo.
There's no Toyota Tundra HD, so if you need a heavy-duty pickup, you'll have to look elsewhere. However, compare the Tundra to trucks such as the Silverado 1500, RAM 1500 or F-150, and it's clear the Tundra can get the job done.
Finally, we know truck people care about where their truck is from, so it's worth mentioning that the Toyota Tundra is designed, engineered and built in America.