Back in the Saddle
By Don Armstrong
As the number one seller in this country, trucks are a hot ticket for manufacturers. They command the biggest return on investment, yet remain one of the easiest vehicles to build with its body-on-frame construction. So, it’s no wonder you see and hear more truck ads than any other form of transportation.
Granted; Ford, Ram and GM account for the majority of truck sales while Toyota and Nissan bring up the rear, but the folks at Toyota aren’t standing at the side of the road, it’s time to throw the Tundra hat in the ring.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra sports an all-new body and interior. While not a complete re-do, this new truck addresses almost all of the major issues we had with the outgoing model.
The Tundra has a much tougher looking exterior, ditching the softer, rounded shoulders for a more squared-off, muscular appearance. A bigger, bolder hood and in-your-face grille say, “take that, America.”
To us, the biggest improvement was made in the interior. Simple things, like moving the audio and climate controls 2 ½-inches closer to the driver, adding the ability to interface your smartphone with the vehicle and stream internet radio are just a few of the “likes.”
Toyota has added a top-of-the-line trim level to the new Tundra line-up called, “The 1794 Edition.” This blinged-out gun slinger oozes a western lifestyle theme and includes saddle brown seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents. Matching soft-touch materials also accent the shift console, the front and rear door trim, and the instrument panel. The 1794 Edition also boasts an array of standard features that includes heated and ventilated front seats and Entune Premium JBL Audio with navigation. By the way, 1794 was the year the Texas ranch was founded and where the Tundra is built today.
What hasn’t change with the Tundra are its engine options and frame. A V-6 and two V-8’s are available. For towing, you’ll want the 5.7-liter, 381-HP V-8. With its 401 lb-ft of torque connected to the rear axle via a 6-speed automatic, this bad boy can tow up to 10,400 pounds.
And if you think the Tundra is a foreigner, think again. This truck has its roots in Ann Arbor, Mich., Newport Beach, Calif., Huntsville, Ala. and North Carolina and is assembled in San Antonio, Texas.
MSRP starts at $26,200.