- Smooth V-8 engines
- New safety technology
- Good legroom (CrewMax)
- V-6 still uses five-speed transmission
- Gimmicky styling
- Poor gas mileage
A fresh new look and an upgraded interior with new technology make the 2014 Toyota Tundra an intriguing truck, but lackluster powertrains keep it from shining.
The Toyota Tundra hasn’t managed to become one of the major players in the full-size pickup market, but it nonetheless remains a favorite of some truck buyers as well as Toyota loyalists. Despite being a small piece of the overall truck scene, the Tundra’s updates for 2014 add new features and more luxury to a capable truck, both on and off road.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra brings new looks and new features to the venerable pickup model line, though overall proportions, engines, and most of the key details remain unchanged. Adoption of the SAE J2807 rating means the Tundra is the only full-size pickup with capabilities meeting an industry agreed-upon standard, rather than solely internal towing capacity ratings.
For 2014, the new exterior and interior look are joined by a handful of technology and equipment updates, and no changes to the engines or transmissions offered. That leaves the base model with the 270-horsepower, 278-pound-foot 4.0-liter V-6 engine; the mid-range 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque; and the top-line 5.7-liter V-8, good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The V-6 is paired with a five-speed automatic, while the V-8s get a six-speed auto.
Unloaded on city streets, both V-8 models feel about the same--fairly quick with decent low-end acceleration, but they run out of steam as the speed rises. Laden with an 8,000-plus-pound trailer, the 5.7-liter V-8 is the one to choose; even then, it's challenged to reach freeway speeds in the length of a typical on-ramp, despite a max tow rating of up to 10,400 pounds--and close to 10,000 pounds on most models. In our experience, the Tundra, despite its J2807 rating and big spec-sheet figures, doesn't feel as confident or as quick as the GM and Ford alternatives when towing larger loads, particularly when the larger V-8s from each brand are in the picture.
Ride quality is fairly good across all Tundra models, though pavement seams and surface bumps translate into larger-than-normal impacts in the cabin. The plush seats do a good job of keeping things comfortable, and the Tundra does handle well for a pickup driving around town, but it's not the smoothest-riding truck in the segment.
Much-needed upgrades to the interior and equipment levels come for the 2014 Tundra, including a new luxurious 1794 Edition. Trim levels include SR, SR5, Limited, and Platinum, each step up the ladder bringing with it more creature comforts and technology. Materials have been upgraded across the board, though it's less readily noticeable in the lower-tier SR and SR5 models. Double cab (standard on SR5) and CrewMax models both offer four-door access and seating for five, but the CrewMax is the definite choice if you want to seat six-footers in the second row--and fortunately is standard on all Platinum and 1794 Edition Tundras. A regular cab is also available, but only on SR models.
The entry-level SR model is the work truck spec, and it comes standard with the V-6 engine (the V-8s are available as an upgrade); a choice of regular or double cab (no crew cab option); and a long or standard bet. Standard equipment includes daytime running lights, 18-inch steel wheels, Entune Audio, 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, power windows, and all of the standard safety equipment. Step up to the SR5, and you add fog lights, variable intermittent windshield wipers, Entune Audio Plus, and optional 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Limited kicks up the luxury and opens up tech upgrade paths, with standard 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and Apps, leather seating, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and more. The top-tier Platinum trim adds to the Limited's spec with chrome-clad 20-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, perforated and ventilated leather seating, and front/rear parking assist sonar. The 1794 Edition matches the Platinum trim spec, but with its own interior color theme and ultra-suede upholstery inserts as well as 1794 Edition badging.
The 2014 Toyota Tundra includes a very good set of standard safety equipment, building on the previous Tundra's top-of-segment safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Active safety features like stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, trailer sway control, and more are all standard, as are passive safety features like eight standard airbags, pre-tensioning seat belts, side-impact door beams, and more. The 2014 Tundra hasn't been crash tested yet.
Gas mileage isn't a strong suit of the Tundra, earning below-average ratings across the engine range. Toyota says real-world gas mileage is on par with GM and Ford trucks, despite the EPA ratings. In our time behind the wheel of the Tundra in both 4.6-liter and 5.7-liter V-8 forms, the vehicle-reported mileage rarely rose above 15 mpg in unloaded, rural driving. Our real-world experience has seen better gas mileage in other full-size trucks with similar capabilities.