Not everyone takes their work home. For most of us our daily occupations stay wherever it is we work. There are others however who spend days laboring and when it is over take that work home. That’s the case for many pick-up truck owners. They buy a vehicle not because it will look nice in the driveway or leave fat number elevens on the road or take an aggressive corner at a high rate of speed. For them the vehicle they own is as much a part of their work as a tool box. The truck serves a purpose; sure it can haul stuff, go on minor off road excursions and tow things, but it serves as part of the job, whatever that job may be.
The Toyota Tundra is meant to be just such a truck. The Tundra is Toyotas entry into the full size truck market. Introduced in 1999, the Tundra was once a top seller and twice (2000 and 2008) a Truck of the Year. Recently however sales slipped and the Tundra seems to have fallen from grace. Perhaps it was the lack of upgrades, the clunky interior; whatever the reason there just seemed to be an overall staleness. Well welcome to 2014. For this model year Toyota did a much needed upgrade to the Tundra. Gone are the curves on the outside replaced instead with sharper angles. It looks more industrial with a new grill and squared off wheel wells. Inside the dash is redesigned with a new easier to read gauge cluster, large knobs and a center console that is 2.6 inches closer to make it an easier reach. There’s also the Entune suite with a 6.1 touch screen display.
The Tundra offers three body styles; a two-door regular cab, extended four-door double cab and the four-door crew cab called the CrewMax. There are two wheelbases and three bed lengths -- 5.5-foot short bed, 6.5-foot standard bed and 8.1-foot long bed. Double cabs and CrewMaxes seat five or six depending on what you choose. There are also five trim levels; the base Tundra SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition.
As for options, the Tundra SR5 models offer an SR5 Upgrade Package that includes front bucket seats with power driver’s seat and power lumbar support, floor-mounted urethane shift lever and knob, tilt and telescopic urethane steering wheel, three front cup holders, a front console box (which by the way is large enough to hold small children), a rear under seat storage tray (Double Cab only), and an alarm system.
A TRD Off-Road Package comes with off-road tuned suspension featuring Bilstein gas-charged mono-tube shock absorbers, 18-inch TRD Off-Road alloy wheels, rear side privacy glass, engine skid plate, and front tow hooks on 4x2 models. A Limited Premium Package, available with all Limited grade Tundras, includes front and rear parking assist, power windows with driver and front passenger auto up/down; room, foot, ignition key illuminated entry system; and a glass breakage sensor.
A Tundra Work Truck Package, available on the SR grade, is aimed at commercial truck buyers or customers who need a no-frills truck. The package features heavy-duty vinyl-trimmed seating surfaces, and heavy-duty all-weather flooring.
Additional stand-alone options include a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade on
Platinum and 1794 Edition models, heated power outside tow mirrors with turn signal indicators and manual-extend feature on all models, a deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats on SR and SR5 grades (standard on Limited, Platinum and 1794), a tow hitch on V8 SR Double Cab and SR5 Double Cab and CrewMax equipped with a 4.6-liter V8, 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels and 20-inch chrome clad wheels with on the 1794 Edition.
Tundra continues to offer three powertrains for the 2014 lineup; a 4.0-liter V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cab models and produces 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 278 foot-pounds of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. It is mated with a five-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic. There is also an available 4.6-liter, V8 producing 310 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 327 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,400rpm and the 5.7-liter, V8, which generates 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,600 rpm.
We had the use of the SR5 CrewMax for a week and were left with no doubt that this is a truck that seems ready to go to work. The 5.7 V8 almost seems like an overpowered mistake, until you realize that this truck once towed a Space Shuttle. There is very little ‘fru-fru’ inside or out. This truck is all business. On the road it doesn’t seem to want to hide that fact. It looks like a truck and drives like one. And that’s okay; after all this isn’t a sports car, it’s a truck; one designed to get the job done. For that purpose it seems as though it will fit the bill quite nicely.
The last truck we spent time with was a 2014 Silverado and while the Chevy is a bit more expensive, it is also has more luxury features. Something the Tundra doesn’t. There is also the fuel mileage. The ratings on the Tundra are a bit disappointing; 13 city, 18 highway for a combined rate of only 15. The Silverado is a bit better; 16 city, 23 highway, and 19 combined. But as mentioned the Silverado is flashier, more luxurious, while the Tundra is all business.
Sales wise, for the last few years, the Tundra has lagged far behind its main competitors, Ford with its 150, GMC with the Sierra and Chevy with the Silverado. But with the new redesign that seems to incorporate a no-nonsense, all-work attitude, Toyota may have found a way to climb back into contention. For those buyers looking for few frills and don’t mind taking their work home with them, the 2014 Toyota Tundra is definitely worth a look.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra
MSRP (SR5 CrewMax 5.7L V8): $33,325
MSRP (As tested with options): $38,039
Engine (As tested): 5.7L V8 381 hp @ 5,600 RPM, 401 foot-lbs @ 3,600 rpm
Wheelbase (Short bed) 145.7
Overall Length (Short bed) 228.9 / NA
Overall Width 79.9
Overall Height 76.2
Inside Bed Length 66.7
Inside Bed Depth 22.2
Between Wheel wells 50.0
Track (Front/Rear) 67.9/67.9
Ground Clearance 10.2
Seating: 5 (Bucket seats),6 (bench)
Headroom (Front/Rear) 39.7/38.9
Legroom (Front/Rear) 42.5/42.3
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) 65.7/65.5
Hip Room (Front/Rear) 62.6/60.4
Curb Weight: 5625 lbs.
Payload (Max) 1440lbs.
Max Towing Capacity: 9000lbs.
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/60,000 miles
24 months/25,000 miles
Roadside Assistance Coverage
24 months/25,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance