A visit to Chicago in the wintertime is a sure-fire way to get you thinking about Arctic geography, and that’s especially the case this year, since the Windy City recently welcomed the new 2014 Toyota Tundra to its annual auto show. Now, it’s true that Toyota’s full-size pickup tends to be overshadowed by its domestic rivals, but the Tundra scored more than 100,000 sales last year, when it increased volume by 22.6 percent, and it got off to a fast start this year by growing sales another 27.1 percent, on the strength of 7,004 deliveries; that's more January sales than achieved by such “popular” vehicles as the 2013 Chevy Traverse, 2013 Nissan Pathfinder or 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe.
In other words, the redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra is coming to the marketplace with a strong head of steam, and it’s bringing the kind of changes necessary to ensure that that momentum doesn’t evaporate. Consider: Not only will the Tundra introduce driver-assistance features like a blind-spot/cross-traffic warning to the full-size pickup segment, but the truck also will showcase highly differentiated styling across its lineup to help owners stand out from the crowd.
“Toyota prides itself on listening to its customers and the development of the 2014 American-born Tundra is a perfect example,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota Division. “Tundra’s new exterior design and all-new interior were inspired by customer feedback requesting a more chiseled exterior and refined interior with improved driver ergonomics, and easy-to-use technology, giving customers more of what they want instead, in addition to what they need.”
(For those keeping score, the 2014 Toyota Tundra was designed and engineered in the U.S., and will be built here, too.)
2014 Toyota Tundra: A New Grading Policy
The overall design of the 2014 Toyota Tundra is a much more chiseled affair, with strongly sculpted lines, a bolder and more prominent chrome grille, squared-off wheel wells, three-piece bumpers, and an industrial-style one-piece tailgate with integrated rear spoiler. The look is then complemented by four differently themed interiors—each of which has been developed to provide high levels of ergonomic comfort—as follows:
- Tundra SR5—The entry point for the 2014 Toyota Tundra lineup gets a “professional gear” design with metallic accents, high-contrast fabrics and premium surface treatments.
- Tundra Limited—Here, Toyota deploys an “active premium” look in which owners benefit from leather seating surfaces, soft-touch materials on the door and console surfaces, and wood-style cabin accents.
- Tundra Platinum—Created to appeal to the growing number of customers who want premium amenities in their pickups, the Platinum grade boasts seating trimmed with perforated black leather, double-stitched diamond-plate leather inserts for the doors and instrument panel, and chrome accents for “an upscale yet urban feel.”
- Tundra 1794 Edition—The newest top-of-the-line Tundra gets its name from the San Antonio ranch where the Tundra factory is located—said ranch having been founded in the year 1794—and premieres with model-exclusive saddle-brown premium leather seats, a full range of premium soft-touch cabin materials, and standard content that includes heated/ventilated front seats, premium JBL audio, Toyota’s Entune media technology, navigation, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
All models of the 2014 Toyota Tundra also come standard with a rearview camera system and Bluetooth technology.
2014 Toyota Tundra: Here’s the Hardware
Getting down to the heart of the matter, three engines will be available in the 2014 Toyota Tundra to further meet customer requirements. The standard choice is a 4.0-liter V6 capable of 270 hp and 278 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a five-speed automatic; stepping up to the truck’s 4.6-liter V8 nets owners 310 hp and 327 lb.-ft. of torque, along with a six-speed automatic; at the top of the heap is Toyota’s 5.7-liter i-Force V8, which routes 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque through its six-speed automatic.
It’s a not an uncompetitive engine lineup against some of the Detroit trucks, but shoppers looking for the cutting-edge of powertrain technology will note that, unlike the RAM 1500, there’s no sign of an eight-speed transmission, and as opposed to the Ford F-150, there are no hi-po, high-efficiency EcoBoost-style alternatives. On the other hand, neither of those trucks—nor the Chevy and GMC entries—were called upon to tow the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home base at the California Science Center; that, of course, required the Toyota Tundra.
Also, the 2014 Toyota Tundra will continue to be offered in two- and four-wheel-drive configurations, with standard and long beds, as well as with three cab styles: Regular, Double and CrewMax.
More details about the 2014 Toyota Tundra, including its pricing and fuel-efficiency ratings, will be provided closer to the truck’s retail debut in September.
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