Drive into the hills and mountains of Farmington, Pennsylvania and one cannot help but notice hills valleys and mountain ranges which very nearly resemble places like upstate New York, and Asheville, NC. It was in Pennsylvania where I was introduced to the 2014 Toyota Tundra. With its all new exterior and interior style the Tundra’s ‘refresh’ was just as exhilarating as the areas pure mountain air. During this three day adventure, my group of pro-drivers and reviewers stayed at the luxurious Nemacolin Luxury Resort which includes everything from a zoo to a country club, spa, paint ball, shotgun shooting, off road driving academy, and ‘The Crater’ offroad mud course.
The resort is a 4 diamond beauty which also includes a second hotel modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Falling Waters called the Falling Rock hotel. Not too far down the street from both grand (establishments) is the actual Falling Waters and a second Wright masterpiece called Kentuck Knob. Situated under hundreds of shade trees on a magnificent hill overlooking mountain ranges and prairie valleys, the current owners of Kentuck Knob allow visitors to view both the inside and outside of the minimalists structure. During my stay in PA we were able to test out each model of the upcoming years Tundra. Driving through the small towns streets, mountainous back roads, Nemacolin course, and ‘The Crater’ which is a fun-filled off road course consisting of mud, rock, muddy water holes, steep and sharp mud, root and rocky paths. Many areas of the course included a few feet of water which made the driving even more exciting.
This is the third generation of Tundra and by-far it’s nicest looking model yet. The Tundra is made at Toyota’s San Antonio, TX plant, and has achieved the designers goals of creating a more solidly looking, higher quality and styled vehicle. There are five trim levels, each with multiple options for cab and bed length. The models are the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and the 1794 Edition built in homage to a historical Texas ranch. All models are available in 4×2 and 4×4 and with a broader and wider grill, more sculpted multi-reflector halogen headlights, the Tundra now has a much more chiseled design. The Cab Inside the cab, Toyota engineers wanted to focus on ergonomics while providing high quality materials, comfort, and plenty of room. Each model includes a plethora of safety features including 8 SRS airbags, LATCH, Whiplash Injury Lessening seats, Blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, and Trailer Sway Control. They all also include an anti-theft alarm but the Platinum and 1794 models are equipped with a glass breakage sensor. Each model was very well equipped however they did need an over-the-door interior handle for those who are vertically challenged, (such as myself). The back seats now fold up while the headrests can fold down to increase visibility. The ability to move the headrests to minimize visual obstruction was a genius idea and especially needs to be commended, especially within the truck market, especially for women who drive trucks.
All Tundra models are equipped with Toyota’s Entune system, AUX, USB ports, 12 V outlet, and the instrument panel was moved 2.5” closer towards the driver for improved ergonomics. There are also storage nooks, pockets, and consoles throughout the Tundra and a larger center console box. All Trucks Need This Feature The 2014 Tundra will be the first in its segment to be equipped with a standard backup camera on all grades, and the only full-size pickup with available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (Limited CrewMax, Platinum and 1794 Edition).
Each model handled like a champ, even up some of the steepest of hills which included extremely muddy conditions. There were also gorges with high water levels and regardless of the engine type, this hot new monster kept on trucking. It also held the extreme terrains and made it up, down, and into every obstacle in its way. Each Tundra model presented very capable and fun rides everywhere it went. Engine Options are; 4.0L 24-valve V6, 4.6L 32-valve V8, and a 5.7L 32-valve V8. Towing capability ranges from 4,800 lbs, (for 4×2 4.0L V8) to 10,500 lbs, (for 4×2 5.7L V8).
The Tundra is also available in standard, double, and crew max cab sizes. There are even a handful of options when it comes to choosing wheel design. There is an 18” steel wheel, two types of aluminum (18”), and three types of 20” aluminum from which to choose. However the 20” is only available for the Limited, Platinum, and 1794 models.
Fine-Tuning Tundra’s advanced TripleTech frame uses wide, full-boxed rails for the front portion, a reinforced C-channel under the cab and an open C-channel underneath the bed to help maximize strength, ride quality and durability. The double A-arm front suspension uses coil-over spring shock units, while a front-mounted steering rack helps enhance steering feel and response. The rear suspension uses staggered shocks mounted outboard of the springs to improve the shocks’ dampening efficiency. Spring rates are tuned to provide a flat vehicle stance when fully loaded.
All Tundra models include four-wheel disc brakes with ventilated rotors – 13.9 inches and 1.26-inches thick – with a segment-most four-piston calipers in front; and 13.6 x 0.71-inch two-piston calipers in the rear. Part of Toyota’s Star Safety System™, Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) are standard on all Tundra models. EBD optimizes brake pressure at each wheel for greater control under braking, especially when cornering. BA is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If the driver has not pressed firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage ABS, the system supplements the applied braking power until pedal pressure is released. The standard Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto-LSD) helps provide better acceleration in deep sand or mud and on mixed-friction surfaces. Compared to a conventional mechanical limited slip differential, the Auto-LSD system is much more responsive and has better wear characteristics. The Tundra’s VSC system integrates traction control (TRAC) and enhances traction on or off-road by helping keep the vehicle on its intended course. Integration of these technologies also provides driver-selectable versatility to tackle just about any road surface or driving condition. In “normal” mode, VSC, TRAC and Auto-LSD all function to help enable traction and control capability. “TRAC Off” and “Auto-LSD” modes activate Auto-LSD to help extricate the Tundra from extreme conditions. The “VSC Off” mode turns off all three of these systems.
No matter which model you choose, the all-new Tundra brings the fun! The redesigned 2014 Tundra will reach Toyota dealers in September.