2014 Toyota Tundra
By G.R. Whale
On Sale: September 2013
Expected Pricing: Starting around $26,000
The 2014 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup was revealed at the 2013 Chicago auto show but the biggest and most important changes are reserved for the interior.
The 2014 Tundra will offer three wheelbases, bed lengths and cab configurations; both four-door models retain the front-hinged rear doors, now the industry standard. Most permutations offer a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive, and many offer at least two different engines.
Those engines are the 270-hp 4.0-liter V6 with 5-speed automatic, and 310-hp 4.6-liter V8 or 381-hp 5.7-liter V8 with the 6-speed automatic; some are flex-fuel approved.
Changes to the chassis include refinements to shocks, steering and noise and vibration reduction, so tow ratings should mirror the 2013's top ratings of 9,000-10,400 pounds. Note in full-size pickups that only Toyota adheres to an SAE standard for tow ratings adopted years ago that would promote apples-to-apples comparisons.
The existing four trim levels of steel-wheel SR and SR5, mid-level Limited, and luxury Platinum are joined by a 1794 Edition. Named for the ranch property on which the Tundra's San Antonio assembly now sits, is aimed at competitor's King Ranch and Longhorn urban cowboy pickups and carries more chrome than all the belt buckles at 1794 combined.
The 2014 Tundra cabin is more coherently designed, the slightly scattered prior arrangement now neatly organized. Controls are easier to reach, instruments easier to view, and a data screen added; Bluetooth and rearview camera are standard on every Tundra.
The seats and mounts have been revised for comfort, room and carrying cargo in the back. Both four-door Cabs offer a bench or bucket seats in front. On a Limited the seats are leather, trim soft-touch and faux wood. Platinum goes upscale with heated and ventilated perforated black leather seats and diamond-plate leather trim, moonroof, navigation, JBL audio/Entune telematics, and new blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. The 1794 follows the typical route with saddle brown embossed leather, full amenities and ultra-suede trim.
The 2014 Tundra exterior is expected to share external dimensions with the previous model. The cab and doors appear to be the same but the bed and ends have changed, giving a more geometric, less inflated appearance. Bigger grilles are the trend and Toyota went along; the look varies by trim but the Platinum's 4x2 bar arrangement with paint matched upper section and LED running lights hides the size well.
Bumpers at both ends have been changed to three-piece designs, a notable savings for them prone to scraping and bending them. The tailgate gets a built-in spoiler and the Tundra name stamped in rather than decaled on, and the mirrors and rear lights have small aerodynamic fins for stability. There is even talk of headlights that can be re-aimed for towing or hauling heavy loads.