2014 Toyota Tundra Performance

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Performance

For truck buyers, the engine and driveline is a huge part of the equation--after all, it's going to be called on to perform strenuous tasks at least occasionally.

In the Tundra, the engine is weak spot, no matter which one you choose. There are three engines available, a 4.0-liter V-6 in the base Tundra, a 4.6-liter V-8, and a 5.7-liter V-8 for those with more serious towing needs. Engines are unchanged from 2013.

The 2014 Toyota Tundra performs as well as any Tundra ever has, but still comes up a bit short of the competition.

The 4.0-liter V-6 is rated at 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The 4.6-liter V-8 rates 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque, and the 5.7-liter V-8 sits at a potent 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. For V-6 models, a five-speed automatic is standard; the V-8s get six-speed automatics. All of the transmissions shift smoothly and reliably.

While the numbers are generally good across the Tundra's engine range, that's only half of the story. On city streets, in an unloaded truck, both V-8s feel about the same--plenty powerful for getting around in traffic. Strap a hefty load behind the Tundra (it can tow up to 10,400 pounds, depending on equipment and configuration), and the story changes.

Toyota is the only pickup truck manufacturer to adhere to the J2807 standard for two ratings, but despite the technical qualification, the Tundra feels anemic with a load of even 8,000 pounds. Accelerating to freeway speeds within the length of a typical on-ramp while towing is a serious challenge--something that's not true of the top-tier towing configurations from Ford, Chevy, and Ram.

Driving in day-to-day traffic, the Tundra is comfortable and easy-going, with light, quick steering. Ride quality can be a bit jouncy with no load in the bed, but that's true of all pickups to some degree. Despite its positive traits, the Tundra clearly lags behind its American rivals.

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