2014 Toyota Tundra’s main goal: keep fans happy

2014 Toyota Tundra Review

Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tundra

Buyers of full-size pickups have not proven as susceptible to Toyota’s charms as sedan buyers.

While Toyota’s Camry and Corolla were, as usual, among the Top-10 best-selling vehicles in America last year, its Tundra truck was, as usual, an also-ran in the full-size pickup segment, garnering a mere 6 percent share.

Introduced in 2007, Tundra carried with it Toyota’s hopes that it would scoop up a big helping of the lucrative large-pickup segment. Alas, Ford, Chevy and Ram (nee, Dodge) owners have proven stubbornly loyal. Ford’s F-Series remains America’s best-selling vehicle, Chevy’s Silverado remains No. 2 and Ram is comfortably ensconced among America’s Top-10 best sellers, a category Tundra has never cracked.

Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tundra

In fact, Tundra’s 2012 sales of 101,621 units wound up a distant fifth in the pickup wars, behind F-Series (645,316), Silverado (418,312), Ram (293,363) and even GMC’s Sierra (157,185).

So, it seems, rather than make drastic changes that might alienate current fans in an apparently futile attempt to woo Detroit 3 truck loyalists, Tundra’s 2014 update, unveiled at the recent Chicago Auto Show, is a cautious exercise: no significant powertrain changes and evolutionary styling alterations, along with luxury and “cowboy” editions to woo personal-use buyers.

Regarding style, Tundra is more angular, but still familiar.

Available in regular cab, Double Cab and CrewMax (crew cab) configurations, the 2014 Tundra will be offered in SR, SR5 and upscale Limited and Platinum trims, along with a new brown-leather and faux-suede “western” model called the “1794 Edition.” That last one, somewhat confusingly named, honors the ground outside San Antonio, Texas, on which the Tundra manufacturing facility sits. That ground was once a ranch founded in … oh, you already guessed.

Toyota Tundra Interior

Toyota Tundra Interior

Inside all trim levels, each with its own grille design, by the way, is a new interior with, most notably, a centerstack moved 2.6 inches closer to the driver, a boon for Tundra fans tired of reaching halfway to Cleveland for right-side control switches.

Tundra’s motivation is provided, as Toyota likes to say, by three “proven” powertrains. (Read: same as last year.)

Thus, the base engine is a 270-hp V-6 that mates to a five-speed automatic and is only available in rear-drivers. Tundra’s two V-8s displace 4.6 and 5.7 liters apiece, making, respectively, 310 and 381 hp, each through a six-speed automatic. Both V-8s can be had with rear- or 4WD.

Look for the new Tundra in September.

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