Toyota has made the 2014 Tundra tougher on the outside and more comfortable within, while carrying over the full-size truck's trio of engine options. While still capable, the Tundra faces increasingly better competition as Ford, GM and Ram introduce half-ton trucks that boast more power and better fuel economy. A brighter spot is the Tundra's stellar resale value.
You'll Like The 2014 Toyota Tundra If...
If you haven't already pledged allegiance to a truck brand, the Tundra has allure with Toyota's reputation for quality in general and this model's excellent resale value in particular. Some buyers may also like to know that the Tundra is made in America at Toyota's San Antonio, Texas, factory.
You May Not Like The 2014 Toyota Tundra If...
Aside from blind-spot monitoring, the 2014 Tundra offers little that others don't. More power, better fuel economy, higher tow ratings and a wider variety of trims can all be found among this truck's rivals.
The Tundra has been significantly updated for 2014 with a more ergonomic interior and a freshened exterior that includes a higher hood and replaceable bumper panels. The Western-themed 1794 Edition joins the top-line Platinum model. Its name is derived from the founding date of the Texas ranch where the truck's factory now resides.
The most notable differences in the new Tundra come on the inside. The truck's big knobs remain (easier to use with gloved hands), but the controls and layout are sleeker. They're also within easier reach of the driver. To be exact, controls for audio and climate functions have been moved 2.6 inches closer. Regular-cab models seat three passengers across, while the 2-row double cab and even larger CrewMax 4-door models seat five or six passengers, depending on whether the front is configured for a bench or two bucket seats. A helpful feature from the past model that did not find its way into this one is a driver's-side grab handle.
The 2014 Tundra is available in three cab configurations and three bed lengths. Regular-cab and double-cab models can be had with a standard bed (78.7 inches) or long bed (97.6 inches). The CrewMax has the biggest cab of the bunch and is only available with a short bed (66.7 inches). The new Tundra's hood has been raised slightly and is better integrated into the grille. As with other full-size trucks, the Toyota's gaping grille appears to just get bigger and bigger. At the other end, the lockable tailgate automatically lowers slowly to prevent the dreaded tailgate slam.
On road and off, Toyota's full-size truck is still formidable when equipped with a V8 engine. The 310-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 is totally adequate for lighter duties, while the 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 is up for almost any task (yes, it even pulled the Space Shuttle over a bridge). The 270-horsepower V6 has acceptable performance in regular-cab models, but its capability declines with the added weight of double-cab setups. On the highway, the Tundra scores points with its quiet cabin. This half-ton truck isn't exactly nimble, but it drives smaller than its dimensions otherwise suggest. The Tundra's 6-speed automatic transmission on V8 models is smooth, though not as buttery at Ram's new 8-speed. The Tundra does not offer a locking rear differential, but the big truck had no traction problems in our tests in which we drove a 4-wheel-drive TRD edition up muddy embankments, crawled down steep hills and waded through several feet of water.
As with other full-size trucks, the 2014 Toyota Tundra's price roughly doubles from a base model to a loaded top-line version. At the low end, a regular-cab, V6-powered Tundra has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $27,000. At the other end, a 4-wheel-drive Premium or 1794 CrewMax Tundra climbs to about $50,000 when loaded. Compared with its competitors, the Toyota starts a couple of thousand more than the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. An entry-level Tundra is about $3,000 below a base Nissan Titan, which is only available with a king-cab or crew-cab configuration. Before buying, check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Toyota pickup. Though the Tundra's price starts higher than most rivals, it is also expected to lead the pack with the best resale value.
Like most of its competitors, the Tundra spans from basic work truck to leather-laden luxo hauler. Spend the least on an SR model and you'll get power windows, cruise control, and Toyota's Entune 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth and a backup camera. The more popular SR5 brings a manual sliding rear window and a high-resolution 7-inch touch-screen display with HD Radio and Traffic. Limited models add navigation, dual-zone climate control and leather with power-operated and heated front bucket seats. Premium and 1794 Edition trims use plusher leather like that found in the Lexus LS, heated and ventilated front seats, a moonroof and JBL premium audio.
Most extras for the 2014 Tundra are bundled into trims. Those that are available as options include a segment-exclusive blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, power-operated tow mirrors, running boards and a deck rail system with tie-down cleats. The TRD Off-Road Package brings Bilstein shock absorbers and skidplates to further protect the engine and fuel tank.
REPLACEABLE BUMPER PANELS
Treat a truck like a truck and it's almost bound to happen: bruising a bumper. The 2014 Toyota Tundra features a 3-piece design for its front and rear bumpers that makes them easier and less-costly to replace should/when they get banged up.
BLIND-SPOT MONITORING SYSTEM
Driving a big truck means dealing with a wider zone in which you can miss spotting other vehicles to the rear left and rear right. Sedans have been offering electronic monitoring of these areas for years, but Toyota claims the title of being first to bring the technology to a full-size truck.
Under the Hood
Three engines are available in the 2014 Tundra. The base 4.0-liter V6 is standard in SR rear-wheel-drive regular cab and double-cab configurations. It is connected to a 5-speed automatic transmission. A 4.6-liter V8 is standard in both rear-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-drive SR5 models. The most powerful engine in the Tundra's stable is the 5.7-liter V8 that is standard in the Limited trim and up, and available all the way down to base regular cab models for those who want to take advantage of the truck's 10,400-pound tow rating. Both V8s are connected to a 6-speed automatic. All Tundra engines run on regular gasoline, and the thirsty 5.7-liter is E85-capable.
270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
278 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 mpg
310 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
327 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 14/18 mpg (4-wheel drive)
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 13/17 mpg (4-wheel drive)
The Tundra is Toyota's entry in the full-size truck market, a segment long dominated by GM, Ram and America's best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150. For now, the revamped 2014 Tundra remains competitive, especially when fitted with a 5.7-liter V8. But in today's world, power isn't all that makes a model king. Even among full-size trucks, fuel efficiency is becoming just as important as firepower. And this is where the Tundra's luster fades. For its 2014 update, Toyota did little to address the Tundra's aging and thirsty engines. While competitors introduce potent V6 powerplants and 8-speed transmissions, the Tundra soldiers on with the same powertrains. The truck remains a workhorse with stellar resale value, but faces an uphill battle, especially with an all-new F-150 around the corner.