Full 2014 Toyota Tundra Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Toyota Tundra has updated exterior styling and a revamped interior. The Entune suite of smartphone-connected services is now available in the Tundra, and there's a new, Western-themed top trim level called the 1794 Edition. On the safety front, a rearview camera is now standard across the board, and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is a new option.
After years of standing pat, Toyota has finally pulled the trigger on a major restyling of the full-size Tundra. It's not the complete overhaul you might expect at this point in the truck's life cycle, though. Toyota has left the Tundra's powertrain and suspension hardware largely unchanged, and that's a potential liability in the light-duty full-size truck class, in which competitors continue to set new benchmarks for fuel economy and ride comfort.
If you're a fan of traditional truck styling, though, the 2014 Toyota Tundra should be right up your alley. The previous truck's rounded edges have given way to squared-off lines, even around the fenders. The hood sits higher than before, with a larger, brighter grille out front. Should you doubt Toyota's intent to give its full-size pickup a huskier image, you can't miss the large "Tundra" badge stamped into the tailgate.
Inside, last year's deep instrument binnacles have been replaced by a traditional gauge cluster that's far more handsome and readable. What's more, the previously heroic reach to the Tundra's radio and climate knobs has been remedied by a center stack that's now 2.6 inches closer to the driver. Toyota has also added its Entune suite of smartphone-connected services to help bring the Tundra more in line with its competition. Although the ability to stream Internet radio and search for points of interest on Bing are nice features, we would have liked to see the automaker add another USB port or two, as even top trims have only a single port (whereas competitors offer multiple charging ports).
Otherwise, the 2014 Toyota Tundra feels much like last year's truck. The entry-level V6 remains just that, while the midrange 4.6-liter V8 is smooth and capable. The top-of-the-line 5.7-liter V8 is stellar, as good as anything the competition is offering -- except in the fuel economy department. Ride quality is also a bit behind the times, as the Toyota is choppy over bumps. To top it off, the Tundra feels like the big truck it is, whereas newer rivals feel smaller and more maneuverable.
If refinement comes as an afterthought to workhorse duties, the 2014 Toyota Tundra remains a worthy option for a full-size truck. Still, the competition matches its abilities while offering superior fuel economy, road manners and tech features in the cabin. The 2014 Ram 1500 is our top pick in this class, especially with its diesel engine option for 2014, and the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado (and its GMC Sierra twin) is another great choice. The Ford F-150 is getting on in years as well, but it remains a solid all-around choice, particularly with its strong yet efficient EcoBoost V6 engine option.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup offered in three body styles: two-door regular cab, extended four-door double cab and the four-door crew cab called the CrewMax. These body styles are mixed among 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 how you equip them.
Added to this matrix are five trim levels: the base Tundra SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition. Not all of these variations are available together, and the availability of some options depends on the region where you live.
Standard equipment on the entry-level SR regular cab models includes 18-inch steel wheels; a matte black lower front bumper, rear bumper and grille surround; tow hooks (four-wheel-drive models); keyless entry; heated mirrors; full power accessories; a windshield wiper de-icer; a damped tailgate; cruise control; air-conditioning; cloth upholstery; a 40/20/40-split bench seat with four-way manual adjustment for the driver's and passenger sections; a tilt-only steering wheel; two 12-volt power outlets; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; a 6.1-inch touchscreen; a rearview camera; and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and USB/auxiliary audio inputs. Options for the base 2014 Tundra include a bed rail system and a Work Truck package with vinyl seats and flooring.
Get the SR Tundra in the double cab body style and you add front and rear map lights, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat (four-way for the passenger) 60/40-split fold-up rear seats and two extra speakers.
The SR5 trim is available in the double cab and CrewMax body styles. Additional standard equipment includes foglights, a chrome grille surround, chrome rear bumper, variable intermittent wipers, a center-console shifter, an upgraded instrument panel, a manual sliding rear window (power sliding in the CrewMax, which also gets an overhead console), a higher-resolution 7-inch touchscreen display, satellite radio and HD radio. The optional SR5 Upgrade package brings front bucket seats with an eight-way power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a front console, a rear under-seat storage tray (double cab only) and an alarm system. The TRD Off-Road package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, skid plates and tow hooks (2WD models).
The Limited trim adds 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome heated side mirrors, a more upscale silver billet grille, the bed-rail system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, power front bucket seats (10-way driver, four-way passenger), heated front seats, a power-operated sliding rear window (double cab), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system and the Entune smartphone app suite. The Limited Premium option package provides front and rear parking sensors, one-touch power windows, illuminated entry lighting and a glass-breakage sensor.
The Platinum trim comes only in the CrewMax cab and adds trim-specific 20-inch wheels, more chrome exterior detailing, power-folding outside mirrors that are heated and auto-dimming, a sunroof, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver-seat memory functions and an upgraded sound system with 12 JBL speakers.
At the top of the 2014 Tundra range is the 1794 Edition (named for the Texas ranch on which a portion of the Tundra assembly plant now stands). Available only as a CrewMax, the 1794 adds unique silver exterior details, saddle-brown leather upholstery with ultra-suede trim for the front seats and matching soft-touch materials for the shift console, door trim and instrument panel.
A blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alerts is optional on the Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition models.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Toyota Tundra is offered with a choice of three engines and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Unlike on the competition, each engine comes with a single rear axle ratio, making it easier to configure a truck that meets your needs.
Rear-wheel-drive SR models come with a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg combined (16 mpg city/20 mpg highway).
Next up is a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. It's optional for the 2WD SR double cab and standard for the 4WD SR double cab and all SR5 models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg combined (15 mpg city/19 mpg highway) on 2WD models; 4WD versions also rate 16 mpg combined but have lower city/highway figures.
A 5.7-liter V8 is the most powerful engine available for the 2014 Tundra. It's standard on 4WD regular cabs and all Limited, Platinum and 1794 trims, and optional on the other models. It generates 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 mpg city/18 mpg highway) on two-wheel-drive models; 4WD models also rate 15 mpg combined but drop a point on the highway rating.
A tow package is standard on all Tundras equipped with the 5.7-liter V8, and towing capacity tops out at 10,400 pounds when properly equipped.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags that cover both rows and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is standard across the board, while parking sensors are optional on the Limited and standard on the Platinum and 1794 Edition. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is optional on the Limited, Platinum and 1794 models.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the Tundra has received a thorough update for 2014. Everything seems at once larger and more legible, and the uncomfortably long reach to the audio and climate dials and buttons on the center console has been remedied by reorienting the dashboard 2.6 inches closer to the driver. The instrument cluster now features two conventional and wonderfully legible dials for the speedometer and tachometer. It's nothing wacky or trendy -- it's just instrumentation that works.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra's interior materials also look and feel higher-quality than in past years, and the leather appointments in the upper trims are particularly appealing. A touchscreen display is now standard across the board, and most models are available with Entune, a suite of smartphone-connected services that includes such features as the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio, real-time traffic and sports and stock information. Getting started with Entune can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account, plus you always need an active data connection to use it.
The front seats in every trim are broad and comfortable, but as this is a truck, you shouldn't expect much in the way of lateral support. There's a vast amount of legroom and headroom in the backseat of the CrewMax, which shouldn't surprise considering the enormity of this configuration's footprint. The folding rear seats in double cabs and CrewMaxes also provide a good amount of protected storage for valuable items you'd rather not leave in the bed.
Despite the size of the 2014 Toyota Tundra, nobody's going to feel sold short by the 5.7-liter V8. The 5.7 may not be a class leader in horsepower anymore, but it remains a champ for towing thanks to its prodigious torque and well-sorted six-speed automatic. Casual users probably will find the 4.6-liter V8's shove adequate for most driving situations short of big-time towing, and it provides better fuel economy -- although neither V8 is a class standout in this department. The entry-level V6 is available only on 2WD regular cabs; if you want a full-size truck with a six-cylinder, the offerings from Ford and Ram are better bets.
The Toyota's light but accurate steering makes it fairly easy to drive on a daily basis, but the Tundra feels bigger than competing trucks. Moreover, even with various suspension revisions for 2014, the Tundra still has a stiffer ride over bumps and ruts than most rivals.