2014 Toyota Tundra 4x4 CrewMax Review By John Heilig

2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax

By John Heilig
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

Reviewed Vehicle: 2014 Toyota Tundra 4X4 CrewMax

The Bottom Line: The Toyota Tundra is a capable as you can get from a full-size pickup. It’s hard to believe it isn’t an American-branded truck.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Crew Max

ENGINE:5.7-liter DOHC V8
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE:381 hp @ 5,600 rpm/401 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 rpm
FUEL ECONOMY:13 mpg city/17 mpg highway/14.2 mpg test
TRANSMISSION:6-speed automatic with Sequential Shift
WHEELBASE:146.7 in.
CURB WEIGHT: 5,860 lbs.
CARGO:5.5-foot double wall bed/ Payload: 1,255-1,440 lbs.
STICKER PRICE: $43,445 (includes $995 delivery, $6,075 in options)

Back in the day when we were camping in the Rockies with our girls, the Rangers warned us to take care of the fragile tundra, the delicate flowers that grow up near the frost line that caps the mountains. I’ll willingly accept that some of my memory may have faded of the details, but “fragile tundra” has become part of our family’s lexicon.

Well, there ain’t nothing fragile about the Toyota Tundra. This is as capable a pickup truck as they come, with a decent sized bed and seating for six. Of course, it’s large, and with little experience driving vehicles of this size, I had some problems. But, I’m not complaining.

I realize that Toyota builds vehicles for just about every segment in the marketplace. Still, The Tundra appears to be an anomaly. It’s a big, full size truck, fully on a par with the F150, Silverado and Ram. I had to keep checking the Toyota logo on the steering wheel to remember what I was driving.

First, the Tundra is roomy. If you use it for a family car, it’s ideal. There’s seating for three in the back and all three have more than enough legroom to be comfortable. The floor is flat, so a middle passenger won’t have to scrunch up. The rear seats have their own HVAC controls. The seat cushions also fold up if you want to use that area for additional storage. The front seats have a huge arm rest/center console that is great for carrying drinks or tablets.

Front and rear access is easier with the tube running board and access handles on the A-pillar.

Ride quality is befitting a truck. The weight and long wheelbase help to tame the ride a bit, but if you buy a truck, expect a truck.

The 5.7-liter V8 is noisy most of the time. Long rides on wall paved Interstates seem quieter. Acceleration is very good, considering the weight of the vehicle. We had no problems merging onto highways with oncoming traffic.

Parking is an adventure, but you learn. Also, I had trouble figuring out where the front of the truck ended, so I often parked with the rear sticking out.

Toyota’s Entune audio system is great, and the HVAC system has three simple knobs to control heat, cooling and air flow. In a working truck, the knobs make it easier for drivers and passengers who may be wearing work gloves, for example. For more delicate connections, there is a USB connection at the base of the center stack. The tray next to the front cupholders is great for holding a cell phone.

All four doors have space for two water bottles, and there are abundant cupholders in front and back.

Pickups are all about the cargo bed. The Crew Cab has a 5.5-foot bed, lined, with 10 tie downs to secure almost any cargo. We used them to secure a bunch of 4x8 plywood sheets. The rear bumper has a step to assist in entry to the cargo bed, but it’s essentially useless when the tailgate is down.

With very few faults, and they can be overcome with more familiarity, the Toyota Tundra CrewMax is a great truck. My son-in-law lusted over our test vehicle. He has a Tundra, but with “access doors” to the rear that can only be used when the front doors are open. I think I’d opt for real doors. See and compare specs of all Toyota Tundra models sold in North America right below my review, have fun!

2014 The Auto Page

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