A serious dose of machismo gives the Tundra an aggressive edge.

2014 Toyota Tundra

Toyota's big truck gets a heaping spoonful of steroids.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: August 1st, 2013

Talk about one hell of a refresh. Toyota's upcoming 2014 Tundra has done away with its soft, bubbly exterior in favor of a macho aesthetic that speaks more to the truck's heavy-duty underpinnings. This was one of the main points that Toyota's engineers touched on during our preview in Farmington, Pennsylvania.

In lieu of a more curvaceous look, the 2014 Tundra has a face carved from thick concrete, which more closely mirrors its other full-size competitors. The hood has been raised by nearly two inches, and it's been given an additional upper mock-grille to emphasize its aggressiveness. Other important changes include three-piece, modular front and rear bumpers, which allow for easier and cheaper replacement when dents and dings come into play.

The 2014 Tundra comes in five different trim levels: the SR and SR5 are the entry-level offerings that cater more towards your everyday working man; the Limited is geared towards those that prefer an active lifestyle; and the Platinum aims for the affluent customer that wants a bit of luxury during the workday. To combat the Laramie Longhorn, King Ranch, and other Western-themed competitors, Toyota will offer the range-topping 1794 Edition, as well.

The changes aren't all about aesthetics, either; the new Tundra complies with the SAE J2807 towing standard, which is a voluntary towing test that requires the truck to tow heavy loads in serious conditions (12-degree grades in 100-degree heat) without issue. Clearly, Toyota isn't here to sell you empty panache.

Toyota offers up three different engine options for this truck - the 4.0-liter V-6 is found only on the entry-level SR, whereas every other trim level comes with one or two V-8 options. There weren't any V-6 models at Farmington, so we'll only comment on the driving impressions of the V-8 Tundra below.

Oh - before we dig in to the details, there's one thing we need to address. Many truck owners will scoff at the notion of a truck with an non-American badge on it, if only because we live in the Land of the Oversized Vehicle. Well, it's time to put those unfounded fears to rest - no other full-size pickup has more North American parts content than the 2014 Tundra. And, to make it even better, all trim levels of the Tundra are assembled in San Antonio, Texas. Doesn't get much more American than that, now does it?

  • Interior

    Not only did Toyota update the look and feel of many of the materials in the cabin, but they've also released a new generation of their Entune infotainment system, which is more intuitive than ever before. That said, there are still a few rental-car-grade hard-touch materials at play in the cabin, but since we drove a pre-production prototype, that might change by the time these trucks hit the showroom floor. Otherwise, everything is easy to reach and sensibly arranged. Plus, there are plenty of good ol'-fashioned control knobs, and we like that.

  • Exterior

    Simply put, it looks great. It's adopting a design language similar to its competitors, which should hopefully turn a few more heads than usual. It looks like you could drive it through a wall made of Wolverine's bones, not that we're suggesting you do that. The three-piece front and rear bumpers are also a great idea, since work trucks will get damaged, and it's much easier to replace a small portion of the bumper versus the whole darn thing.

  • On the Road

    We can only speak to the driving qualities of the V-8 models, but they were still impressive nonetheless. Even with a full-size cab, the Tundra drives like a much smaller truck, which speaks to how well they've set up the suspension for handling. Even on more technical back roads, never once did the truck feel like it was too large or cumbersome to keep up with regular traffic.

  • Off the Road

    We were lucky enough to flog the Tundra on an off-road course that included everything from 25-degree berms to 30-foot hills made entirely of mud and rocks. The truck took everything we threw at it with the four-wheel-drive system set to four-low. The truck's air intake is also mounted so high that you may worry about drowning before waterlogging the motor.

  • Final Thoughts

    Whether or not you need a truck specifically for work, if you're looking to purchase a new truck, the Tundra comes in just about every flavor you could want. Once the prices are announced, we're sure this will be a highly sought-after entry in the full-size pickup category.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 4.0-liter V-6; 4.6-liter V-8; 5.7-liter V-8

    Transmission: Five-speed automatic (4.0); Six-speed automatic (4.6, 5.7)

    Power Output: 270 hp / 278 lb-ft (4.0); 310 hp / 327 lb-ft (4.6); 381 hp / 401 lb-ft (5.7)

    Fuel Economy: 16 city / 20 highway (4.0, 2WD); 15 city / 19 highway (4.6, 2WD); 14 city / 18 highway (4.6, 4WD); 13 city / 18 highway (5.7, 2WD); 13 city / 17 highway (5.7, 4WD)

    Base Price: To be announced.

    As Tested: N/A

    Optional Features: Work Truck Package (vinyl seating and flooring), SR5 Upgrade Package (anti-theft alarm, floor-mounted shift lever, cloth power driver's seat), Limited Premium Package (parking sonar, auto up/down windows, illuminated entry system), TRD Off-Road Package (Bilstein shock absorbers, 18" TRD wheels, engine and fuel tank skid plates)

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