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New Truck Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra Pick-up By Marty Bernstein

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Toyota Tundra


by Marty Bernstein, Senior Editor at Large
The Auto Channel

Toyota’s decision almost a decade ago launch a new pick-up truck to compete with the big boys is paying dividends. The significant investment that was made in the design, engineering and production of the new Tundra truck in a new built from scratch, state-of-the-art $2.2 billion automated factory in San Antonio, Texas has been rewarded by Toyota loyalists who have purchased the Tundra in ever increasing numbers and have become new loyalists to the popular brand. It’s now a real player among the big boys who dominate the marketplace.

With the easing of the economic woes, pick-up trucks, especially full size half ton crew cab versions, have become the most popular selling vehicles in America. They’re double dippers: because of dual usage for both work and pleasure.

Meeting this new competitive challenge Toyota has invested in major redesign of the Tundra. The result, I believe will exceed expectations for those who want a good looking, hard working truck with a terrific interior space, available premium amenities for non-work time, a selection of five different models and a big choice of engines. All made even better with Toyota’s vaunted, enviable reputation for quality, reliability and durability and its knowledgeable dealers.

It’s a terrific package as a 360 degree walk-around inspection of the Tundra revealed. The exterior is better looking with a more stylish but aggressive design that’s chiseled and defining. What’s even better is the unique look for each of the different grades of the Tundra to make it distinctive. A new bed design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged new bed and tail gate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” stamped into the sheet metal, creating a one-piece forged look. The integrated spoiler in the deck helps with fuel efficiency, while the tail lamps express a tool-like quality to match the appearance of the body. Tundra offers three cab styles: two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab, and the super-sized four-door CrewMax. Tundra Regular Cab and Double Cab models are offered in standard bed (78.7-inch) or long bed (97.6-inch) configurations, while the CrewMax comes with a 66.7-inch bed. All beds are 22.2-in. deep.

I opened the door and stepped up for a good look in the cabin where countless hours will be spent behind the wheel … and WOW! You too will be impressed by the Tundra’s spaciousness, obvious attention to detail and choice of colors and materials, the clear and uncomplicated design of the instrument panel and gauges and there’s a big screen for the optional navigation system. Then I easily slid onto the drivers chair and found it comfortable but firm and supple. The big windshield offered fine sight lines to both sides and the front. The console is well designed with multiple storage areas for personal items and electronics plus additional padded surfaces and accent stitching in premium grades. Both Double Cab and CrewMax are available with a bench or bucket seats for the front row.

Tundra offers three proven powertrains that have proven reliable. A 4.0-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cab models and produces 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 278 footpounds of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined. The available 4.6-liter, DOHC i-Force V8 offers 310 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 327 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,400rpm. EPA-estimated mpg fuel economy is 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway/16 mpg combined on 4x2 models and 14 city/18 highway/16 combined on 4x4 models.

The test drive of the new 2014 Tundra was a short drive from the lovely Blackberry Farms venue near the most spectacular settings in America, the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee over a variety of road surfaces from the very smooth to the very rough and from the straight to curvy with some nice little hills and valleys. The ride was comfortable and the handling was excellent even on the roughest segments. At the lunch stop the Tundra easily pulled over 8,000 pounds in a trailer with ease.

There are five different grades of Tundra’s with each building on the next with added standard features.

1. Entry-level SR -- Although designed primarily for work-use, the SR is no base model. It has a standard back-up camera which is displayed on the Entune Audio's 6.1" touch-screen and has a Bluetooth connection.

2. SR-5 Model -- Adds to the SR with standard V8 engine, chrome bumpers, and chrome grille surround while on the interior the SR% features a 7” touch screen, Entune Audio with satellite radio.

3. Limited Model – this is the mid-grade Tundra which adds 20” alloy wheels, unique grill insert and chrome mirror caps and inside upgrades include leather seating, heated front seats and Entune Premium Audio with navigation system and large screen.

4. Platinum Model -- has big 20” alloy wheels, a monochromatic color scheme and LED daytime running lights while the interior features heated and ventilated leather seats and a the Entune JBL Audio system with navigation.

5. 1794 Edition – the top of the line Tundra has a Western theme it is differentiated from Platinum on the outside with a lot of chrome, 20” wheels and exclusive 1794 Edition badges.

The new Tundra’s are in Toyota dealers now. Drop by look at the truck then take a test drive and you will learn why this full size pick-up truck from Toyota is growing in popularity. Priced very well too.