In 2013, Toyota’s Tundra half-ton pickup was voted Best Full Size Truck for the money by U.S. News and World Report. Aside from that, the 2014 Tundra is probably the most handsome pickup among the Big Three of Chevy, Ford and Ram. It has a gentle, classy exterior, but underneath its skin, it possesses a rugged build that can handle all the chores and off-road pursuits of the aforementioned trio. Tundra, however, can do it with a bit more comfort and flair.
Powered by a 5.7-liter, V-8 that (a 4.7L, V-8 is also offered) produces 381-hp and 401 lb/ft of torque, this grunt flows to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivers EPA mileage ratings of 13 city, 17-highway mpg. A fuel miser it’s not.
Surprising though, is that as good as this truck is, Tundra has fallen behind the competition when comparing powertrains offered by Ford’s EcoBoost V6 and Ram’s new V6 diesel, both with comparable power ratings, but better mileage figures.
At one time, it was rumored that the Tundra was going to get a small diesel engine. Of course that never came to fruition. But it seems Toyota has the technology to have - in the least - incorporated cylinder deactivation (runs on four cylinders when cruising) to improve mileage numbers.
To its credit, Tundra’s 9,700 pound tow rating is a true rating as attested to by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2807 tow standards. Tundra is the only full-size pickup to adopt the standard. A standard that SAE developed with major automotive manufacturers that uses a single, repeatable test curriculum to determine real world tow ratings for body-on-frame vehicles. [Prior to J2807, manufacturers would devise their own tests and published their ratings without third-party guidelines]
Tested was the Tundra 4WD Limited Crew Cab that came with all the amenities and features you’d normally find on a luxury sedan including a sunroof.
The interior has a robust appearance with heavily padded seats fore and aft with the fronts heated. A hefty automatic transmission shifter and brushed aluminum trim covers multiple parts of the dash and is complimented by faux wood trim. All HVAC controls are large and easy to operate with gloved hands. A 6x3.5-inch display screen includes Toyota’s Entune premium audio system that is intuitive and easy to use.
Step-in to the rails is 15.5 inches or 25 into the cabin. The rear doors open wide for easy ingress/egress that can easily hold three adults or four tweens.
Tundra’s 4WD system activates via a rotary dial and consists of 2WD, 4-High and 4-Low gearing. In this respect, Chevy, Ford and Ram all offer a “4WD Auto” mode that is helpful on rain-slicked roads, especially when starting off on an incline.
As for ride, even with the TRD Off-Road Package and Bilstein shocks, the Tundra was smooth and could be the best rider of all full-size pickups. Load the bed with mulch, topsoil or landscaping timbers and it would ride even better.
Handling too is rock-solid and with a light steering feel, the truck doesn’t sway when being passed by an 18-wheeler that’s breaking the speed limit.
Starting with a base price of $41,895 nicely loaded, Tundra’s price escalated when adding such amenities as dual exhaust ($1,100), bedliner ($365), moonroof ($850), TRD Off-Road Package ($100), Limited Premium Package ($595), blind spot monitoring ($470) and Entune ($785), which brought the price to $47,815 with delivery.
As a capable hauler, offroader and boasting Toyota quality, Tundra deserves a look when cross-shopping.
To check out a Tundra stop by Bennett Toyota on Lehigh Street in Allentown or Krause Toyota in Fogelsville. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.