2014 Tundra – Underwhelming, But Probably The Truck We Need
Jason Lancaster | Feb 07, 2013 | Comments 88
Toyota is a smart, profitable company. They look at the big picture, assess their opportunity, and act accordingly…which explains why the next-gen 2014 Tundra is:
- Better-looking (inside and out) than it’s predecessor,
- Offered in a wider variety of luxurious trim packages, and
- More focused than ever on the top-end of the market
All of these changes speak to Toyota’s best opportunity for growth: The older and relatively well-off family-truck buyer. He or she probably has a Toyota or Lexus-brand car in the garage right now, and they’re thinking about buying a truck to haul the boat, pull the ATVs, and/or to bang around in from time to time.
Constructing A Toyota Tundra Buyer “Persona”
Many companies construct “personas” to try and capture the wants and needs of their typical buyer. At Toyota, I’d guess this persona is a male in his late 40’s or early 50’s. He has good experience with the Toyota brand, needs a truck for some odds and ends, and is well-off compared to the average truck owner.
Is this buyer thinking about fuel economy? Not really. He’s probably looking at a top-end crew cab truck, which is expensive enough ($40k+) to mean that he’s too well-off to stress out over an MPG or two. Don’t get me wrong – we all want better fuel economy – but it’s not going to make or break a purchase for this guy…which is why Toyota isn’t trying to match Ford’s EcoBoost or Dodge’s Pentastar.
Is this buyer thinking about maximum horsepower? Sort of, but not really. No one wants to buy a weak truck, but our average buyer isn’t going to fret over his max hp rating too much…which is why the 5.7 Tundra engine (which is still a powerful engine) is good enough.
Is this buyer worried about max towing? No. First of all, he’s probably not buying a truck to pull something huge…more likely a boat or ATV trailer than a 28′ RV. Second of all, if he needed lots of tow capacity, he’d be looking at a larger diesel from Ford or Dodge.
Is this buyer a hard-core off-road enthusiast? Probably not. If he was, he’d be looking at the Tacoma, FJ Cruiser, or LandCruiser…which is why Toyota isn’t trying to compete with Ford’s F150-based Raptor.
Is this buyer thinking about cost of ownership, quality, and reliability? You bet. This guy reads Consumer Reports, pays attention to JD Power and other quality and reliability studies, and does a lot of research online. He considers himself to be a smart, informed buyer, and he isn’t an impulsive vehicle buyer.
If you think about who this buyer is (and I’m guessing that I’m describing a lot of our readers), than the 2014 Tundra is a great option.
- Since the basic underpinnings of the truck are untouched, the overall quality and reliability are unaffected.
- Since Toyota has taken an incremental approach to improving the Tundra, you can bet that it will continue to win awards for resale value, safety, and of course reliability
- By dramatically upgrading the appearance of the truck, Toyota has addressed the biggest critical short-commings of the 2007 model (a fine-looking truck for sure, but the 2014 Tundra is prettier by a mile)
- By using the same basic frame, chassis, etc., Toyota can keep the Tundra’s MSRP under control relative to the ever-increasing costs of F150s and Ram 1500’s that carry turbochargers, active grille shutters, etc.
Did Toyota dramatically advance the truck industry with the 2014 Tundra? No, and that is surely disappointing. While new fuel-saving technologies are on their way, they’re not happening right now. For the next couple of years, the Tundra’s EPA fuel economy ratings are going to be a weak point.
Still, when you look at the truck buyers need – something durable and reliable that holds its’ value – the 2014 Tundra is everything the previous model was and then some.
Bottom Line: The 2014 Tundra is more like the good-looking girl next door than a sexy new supermodel. While the supermodel is more fun to fawn over – and far more exciting to lust after – the girl next door is fun, trustworthy and a far better option long-term.
The 2014 Tundra isn’t the truck we lusted for, but it’s still a safe, reliable, and durable pickup that stands up to competition.
Filed Under: Auto News
Grill is hideous, no engine updates, total f-150 interior copy, all-in-all a lazy poor effort by toyota engineers
DJG – All fair points, but personally I like the grille. Still, I agree it’s a “you either love it or hate it” design.
I have to admit I am a hardcore Toyota fan, but I do think you make some good points… I kind of blame myself for being let down, Toyota has always been a very conservative company and really this goes inline with what they have done historically with their trucks etc… I think the interior is a huge upgrade, while I think the exterior is a let down, the good news is that I feel better about keeping my 2011 Tundra because really nothing I see here that would exite me….
The interior is where I am seriously impressed. For me, at least, they hit it out of the park. Exterior wise I have mixed feelings. The hood really doesn’t grab me but the rest of the truck has a much better look IMO. Looks like when in comes time to trade in my RW DC after finishing school I will be sticking with Tundra after all.
Good job Toyota.
KMS – Personally, I think the truck looks considerably better inside and out. Still, some Ford fans have pointed out that the interior looks a lot like the F150, and the front and back of the truck bear an uncanny resemblance to Fords.
I like the looks, and I think one could argue all these trucks look alike in some ways…I’m not sure I share the same “good job” sentiment, but I’m not sure they did a bad job either. Lukewarm, I guess. 🙂
For me the good job comment is based off of what they did with the interior. This has always been my biggest complaint with the current generation Tundra. When I bought my RW DC at the end of 2011 I told folks how much I actually missed the the instrument cluster in my 06, LOL. Yes it does look a lot like Ford’s now but as it has been pointed out, many features and appearances are shared by all the companies now. Look at Ford’s Atlas concept truck and it’s easy to point out similarities with other companies, including Toyota.
I will though that it looks like someone at Toyota listened concerning the placement of the wiring connection for towing. They now have it in the bumper instead of hanging underneath. I guess they heard enough complaints from guys like me who found out the hard way just how easily that plug-in could be torn off while off road
The changing of the wiring placement is strictly due to Mike Sweers (as was pointed out in the reveal). He is a truck guy and tows a lot.
Having a “true” blue-collar truck guy at Toyota is going to be a great, long-term benefit. I see him making a lot of the changes that frankly Toyota Japan wasn’t able to do through not understanding the market that well.
I agree, if I could get that interior in my 2011 I would be a happy camper, not sure on the outside of the truck, the grill is too big…
Take a few drives out the long washboarded roads to Utah’s Green River. Over time hundreds of trucks can be seen driving these roads as they work the oil and gas drilling rigs. This is the domain or real working trucks.
You won’t a single Tundra working the oil and gas rigs at these sites. There is a reason. The demands of driving these roads every day require solid frames and suspensions. It’s almost all F250 and Ram 2500. Never seen a Tundra working on these roads. ZERO. The only Tundra you will see is a person towing his boat out to the river.
I drive those roads about 20 times each season to launch boats. While I like my T100 there is no way it will hold up to that kind of environment on daily basis 52 weeks a year.
In addition after a 40 mile drive out those roads, everything is covered in dust. Inside and out. If it’s raining the underside will have a thick coating of mud on every nut and bolt. While I can see some might like a nice cushy truck to drive down the high way to their office, people who do real work with trucks don’t car about the ride or what the truck looks like. The only factor is what is the total cost of ownership over the live of the truck.
All these reviews which talk about ride, style, looks just don’t get it.
Toyota does not make real trucks for work and the Tundra keeps getting worse. I would be interested in a Tundra if it was made with a standard cab 4X8 foot box 4WD fleet setup but, all they make is a leather sofa with wheels.
Some one mentioned a Tacoma with a V8? What sense does that make, why not put in an engine like the 8L Ford Power stroke diesel? Why is the 300 HP of a 4.0L V6 not enough for a light truck which does nothing but cruise around the freeway empty?
I am so fed up with hearing about the boxed frame is superior and the Tundra frame will sag arguments. This is all done by bench bloggers with no real world experience. If you go and see under the F250 you supposedly drive, you will find a C-channel frame rail behind the cab to the tailgate(http://www.kbb.com/ford/f250-s.....-crew-cab/). The box section is only in front on these “heavy duty” trucks. If you know someone who has a Raptor with a fully boxed frame, they will show you what happens when they hit the bumpstops… the frame bends and sags. Why? It has no give when the bumpstops hit the frame. Tundra’s frame under the same conditions as the Raptor would absorb the energy and flex. The Tundra would drive away with no damage. One day hopefully Toyota will create a Raptor killer to prove this point. I have not seen a single Tundra sag due to its 3 section frame. Not one. All theory, no proof. Maybe Toyota Engineers are smarter than Joe Schmoe with a keyboard?
Don’t do it. You will regret it.
sucks, don’t agree much with what was wrote. Nothing I wanted happened in the new design, gonna look at the new chevy come spring.
mk – I hear you. My initial thought for the headline was “What’s Japanese for ‘Surrender’?”, but then I remembered:
– Toyota has never been a wild and crazy company when it comes to making changes. What we saw with the 2007 model were far outside the box.
– Toyota’s goal here isn’t to sell trucks to everyone. It’s to sell trucks to people who are willing to pay for quality, reliability, and low cost of ownership. The Ford and GM trucks offer a lot of innovation, but the best they’ve been able to do is match Toyota’s build quality (and that’s only Ford).
– As a fan and a gearhead, I simply expected too much.
Am I happy with Toyota’s new 2014 Tundra? No. I think it’s a weak effort to improve a key product. But the reasons to buy a 2014 Tundra are the same as they are to buy a 2013: Quality, Reliability, low cost of ownership, Safety, etc. Toyota doesn’t hit ALL the marks, but they do a great job at hitting most of the marks that matter.
SO, I think we’re on the same page, but I’m not down with the “Let’s buy a GM” plan. I think that’s overstating things. 🙂
well said… I hope to see more improvments down the line… I”ve never bought Toyota trucks for all of the little lastest gadgets and what not, I buy them because of build quality and durability, my 2011 Tundra gets the crap beat out of it and never skips a beat…
i dont know what all the complaint is about… the f150 since ’04 is still the same body with just refreshes n their 5.4 carried in 3 generations, the super dooty still from the late 90’s too….
the tundra’s 5.7L engine is all still young n completes very well against competitors larger displacements engines such as gm’s n ford’s 6.2L.
whether toyota calls this redesign as a new gen or just a major refresh…. still a damn nice truck…
ricqik – A very fair point. Thank you.
I do feel like people are faster to critique Toyota when it comes to the full size truck market then they would one of the big 3, that being said I am a bit let down myself, was just expecting a bit more…
I have a 2013 Tundra SR5, 4.6 V8. It’s only 2125 miles. I already have problems with my front brakes. That is, when trying to suddenly stop, breaks won’t work as their supposed to. I can’t stop. I wonder, is that a common problem with this truck? Someone told me it was.
I own the very same truck as you do. I had the same problem the other day, my truck wouldn’t stop and made a lot of weird noices when suddenly applied the brakes. I took it to the Toyota dealer and after inspecting it, they told me that was “normal”. I’m not convinced about the explanation. But the problem seems to be the 20″ wheels. ?????????????
I agree with above poster. Looks good to me. I’m sold.
Mickey – You ARE the persona Toyota’s marketing department has up on the wall! 🙂
Toyota missed the mark, in my opinion. No fully-boxed frame, same choppy ride (it sounds like), no diesel (was really hoping), no change in mileage, no new technology to increase mileage. I mean….c’mon…this is Toyota! I expected more out of the company that pioneered hybrid technology (at least something to increase the MPGs on the highway). I am still undecided about that massive chrome surround on the grill and the stamped, larger-than-life, TUNDRA on the tailgate. Seven years with only a grill update in 2010 should have yielded a better truck, IMO. Sounds like they are only interested in the luxury truck market now. I’m sure Ford is breathing a sigh of relief. This won’t hurt them at all. The 2014 Tundra is nowhere near the “game-changing” truck the 2007 Tundra was. I mean, not even innovations like the “Ram-box” or “utili-track” in the bed? Very disappointing for a company as rich as Toyota.
Brian J – Based on comments, I’d guess the choppy ride issue has been further diminished with shock valving and aerodynamics. However, I think Toyota’s unofficial answer to that criticism is “It’s a truck.” I’m not saying that’s a good answer (I think a luxury pickup should ride like a nice SUV, and that’s basically what we have here), but it’s the answer they’ve given to the choppy ride question a few times now. I don’t think they care that much, frankly. (Again, not defending it, just saying I think it’s a problem they want to live with.)
As for increase in mileage, I expect we’ll see a small bump (1MPG) in highway mileage, but I don’t think we’re going to see any big changes in the combined rating. As I wrote in the article, I don’t think Toyota is targeting buyers who are fretting about 19mpg vs 20mpg.
Also, as Tim wrote in his interview with Mike Sweers, EcoBoost F150’s and Ram’s fuel efficient V6’s aren’t exactly getting great gas mileage in the real world. A lot of people are coughing up an extra $1-$2k for supposedly fuel efficient trucks that gets the same real-world gas mileage as the Tundra’s 5.7.
As to your point about Ford being relaxed, I think you’re 100% correct. Toyota is one of the only companies in a position to challenge Ford’s technology, and they passed. Ford can officially breath easy for the next 5 years. I too am disappointed at this lack of innovation.
Still, a fancy new interior and nicely upgraded interior aren’t bad, and the price point should be within 1-2% of the existing model. All things considered, it’s not like the 2014 Tundra is a hunk of junk…it’s just not the upgrade many of us were expecting.
Jason, I agree. Toyota did already have a good platform to start with. They answered a lot of inadequacies (sp?) with the 2007 Tundra. I am just disappointed it wasn’t more. The interior definitely needed an upgrade, and I don’t hate the new exterior. I was just hoping for at least a bigger bed on the C-max at a minimum. It’s clear that Toyota doesn’t expect us to put large amounts of payload and people in our trucks by offering us that small bed. I run out of space quick in my 2010 Tundra’s 5 foot bed when using it as an actual truck. Fuel mileage also kills me, especially as I drive a lot (12k miles in 6 months). Oh, well. At least we live in America where there is a free market. Freedom to choose…
Brian J – For sure – the fact that there are so many choices on the market is a good thing. I think that buyers looking for a nice crew cab truck with a big motor will probably like the Tundra just fine.
As for payload, keep in mind that the choppy ride gets better when you load some payload. If anything, it could be argue that Toyota’s frame and suspension is designed more for payload than comfort.
Can’t really say I blame Toyota for not wanting to invest large amounts of money and resources into the refresh. The Tundra sells far under their expectations, it would be very doubtful they would be able to recoup their investment, which is a shame. I was very hopeful for some powertrain updates to help improve fuel economy to match the competition.
10platcrew – A good point. If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
However, I wonder how much money Toyota would really lose…closing NUMMI and moving the Tacoma to San Antonio probably saved Toyota lots of money long-term, and it also reduced the Tundra’s overhead. Throw in the fact that any improvements to the 4.6L or 5.7L (or transmissions) could have been used on a few models – not to mention the new direct injection 4.0L V6 we’re hearing about – and I’m a bit skeptical. Part of the reason Toyota is so profitable is that they think years ahead…upgrading these engines must not have been part of their long-term plan.
I fully expect we’ll see some incremental improvements in the powertrain very soon. It wouldn’t even shock me if we learned that a new V6 is planned for the 2014 model, and Toyota is just waiting to show it off (only the hopes of that are admittedly low).
Personally I think the face-lifted 1st gen Tundra was the best looking inside and out. The newer ones tried to look like the big 3 too much. And what’s the deal with people going for luxury trucks? For the prices that they’ll be paying for these high end packages, you would get ten times more luxury out of something like a 5 series. Trucks were never designed to be a limos, they’re made for work. I just don’t see the appeal
Mike some people like to be pampered along with having a truck. I still use my truck as a truck but I also like creature comforts. Why not have the best of both worlds. If I wanted to fall into a seat or have a hard time climbing out of one tells me one thing. I like the height of the truck. Since mine does ride comfortable I use it both ways. Yes gas is expensive, but I can afford it and complain about it too. I’m not young by any means but still not old enough to have a Buick. I use my truck to pull my boat every other weekend to go fishing with the wife. Also we use the truck to travel all over hence the 153k miles on my 07 CM. While I’m doing all this travel why not have the creature comforts too. Especially heated seats. Most don’t think of using them as theraputic. After a hard day of sandblasting I do like to turn on the heated seat for my travel home. When I get there I don’t have a back soreness issue anymore and I’m ready to do things with the wife instead of complaining about my back.
Mickey I totally agree with you. As I read all of you guys comments about this truck (Tundra) which I am so in love with or was in love with (after researching, reviews), I’m really starting to wonder if I want to purchase one of the vehicles. I currently have a 2004 Cadillac EXT, which is so not a pick-up truck, but I treat it like one. Instead of me pampering it, I love to haul things, pull things, etc. So when I seen the 07 model back in 07 I said to myself, that is going to be my next truck, but after reading a lot of these reviews I’m starting to wonder. So having all of those creature comforts as you mentioned, the huge cab, plus the power, because obvious I’m not worried about the fuel, being that I feel that I have a gas-aholic 6.0L. I think everybody and their mother has an F150, and yes it has some great comfort features, but at the ened of the day I feel that it boils down to unless you are one of those people that just want A truck, you should get whatever you are not going to have regrets about purchasing.
Mike – I appreciate your perspective on luxury trucks, but to me it seems more logical to invest in a luxury pickup than a luxury car, because a pickup can pull, haul, etc.
Granted, luxury trucks don’t ride or handle nearly as well as a good luxury car, but their inherent utility makes them “feel” more practical…which is why I think the market for these trucks has grown so much in the last 15 years or so.
I understand the luxury of having both, but the main point i’m trying to make is that spending close to fifty thousand on a truck is not logical for the level of luxury people think they’re getting. Believe me, I would love heated seats, but I mean my old Smart Car had those for 15000 brand new. I guess what I’m really trying to get at is that a good amount of people buying the high end trims won’t be using the trucks to what they are capable of, save a couple trips to Home Depot. Wouldn’t these people be better off with at least an SUV if not a luxurious car?
I understand Mike. I afraid I kind of agree with you. Now even though the truck I got in 07 was at $40k. The most expensive vehicle I bought. I went for it because my thinking was “This is my last vehicle I buy and it should be the best”. Now that it’s just about paid off my thinking has changed but I still want a new one. I do like the way the new one looks. With the equity in the truck I have come October I would be able to have close to half of it paid for and my note will be lower than I’m paying now. I’m in a good position being retired Navy and working a great job too. So I’m basically working just to pay for my truck and boat. Yes I do take the wife out a minimum of 2x a week also. So that’s why I go for the max on the truck. Yes it cost more but I still have my truck along with the bennies. I don’t play in the mud I’m over that. I’m not into lifted trucks but that doesn’t mean I dislike them. Some are quite nice. It’s just climbing into one. I’m not young for that. As your statement for SUV. Personally the wife and I don’t care for them. If you put a camper top on my CM it would like the Sequoia. They don’t look bad but I would go for a Venza first. Now this is what was told to me when I went for my CM by the salesman. They are targeting soccer moms from the SUV’s to the CM. This is so dad can have his truck and mom still have the room for kids. SO to me that’s the connection for SUV’s to the CM. That’s not why I bought the CM. I like having a truck for whenever I need one. Alsoby having this truck I have what I “Want” instead of the need in the truck. I’ve had 5 trucks in my life. All 5 were bought brand new. Starting from a 92 GMC Sonoma two tone. Why GMC? It just look better and it was $3k more than the Chevy. At the time didn’t care at price. Then was the 98 Chevy 3rd door two tone. I would still have that one because like you it was plain but I was hit and it was totaled. Got a 03 F-150 plain but problem plaque. 06 Chevy LT3 which had it all. I still like that truck but it was worst than the 03 problem plaque. Like you mention it wasn’t worth the bennies since it had all kinds of issues. None were because of the bennies. I took a great loss in getting rid of that truck to this 07 CM. To me having this CM has giving me the greatest feeling of being relieved not having those problem plaques. Trust me I don’t particularly care for the price of the “Platinum”. But I do like the interior so I would go for one. Not that 1797 or whatever that one is. Knowing I can tow great with this truck according to the “J” standards also makes me feel good about Toyota.
All great points. Tough to argue with you given your position. If you do decide to get this new one, I hope it works out great for you. The interior looks great from the pictures so far
Mickey – Good point about targeting minivan buyers with CM Tundras. A Sienna LE with minimal extras is $30k, and the XLE with AWD can touch $40k. It’s not hard to walk over to a Tundra Crew and make the argument…
Potentially, yes. But I think there are some socio-economic factors at play as well. Growing up in a middle-class conservative mid-Western family, I was taught to view BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. with some disdain. “Rich people” drive those cars, while “people who work for a living” drive practical vehicles…and trucks. I saw this attitude repeated when I worked in dealerships as well…trucks are “practical” while luxury cars are excess.
Thus, a truck just might be the only socially acceptable luxury option available to a certain group of people. While I admit this argument I’m making is framed around my experience, I think it has some merit. There tends to be a consumer disconnect between seeing a $50k luxury truck and a $50k luxury car.
Just spitballing here – thanks for commenting. 🙂
Saying the same about how I grew up I just thought I could never own an 40k vehicle. That’s a caddy or vette price. I even told the wife she needs to change her job to work where I’m at to make the savings in gas or get her caddy and pay the same amount in gas as her Prius driving 45 miles one way. She uses nearly 2 tanks a week in that Prius which would make one week in the caddy or vette she likes.
I agree that 40k for a vehicle seems STEEP. Yet, watching sales numbers each month, somebody is buying them.
I’m with Mike P on this one. I don’t want a luxury scale truck which Toyota is attempting to do here. I hate touch screens and all the gizmos now sounds like going to be standard eqmt. But, thus is change and I am old school not wanting all this garbage on a vehicle. We will see if Jason is correct on the 1-2% increase in pricing from 2013 to 2014 model years, but I highly doubt it. I have bought an 07, 2010, and now a 2012 and each year within a few hundred bucks, each identically bought model year has increased 1,000 bucks msrp in pricing. That equates to slightly above a 3% price increase on a 30K msrp tundra although most were in that 34-38K msrp range. I highly doubt a newly redesigned 2014 inside and out tundra will be ONLY 1-2% price increase from 2013 to 2014. For those in the market for the non-squared off version being more curved and looking tougher/rugged, the 2013’s will be discounted with higher rebates and will be the year to buy a tundra since very highly doubt the 2014’s will be have much, if any, rebates for the first year. I could be wrong on that though since in 2007 I got a 3500 rebate on the finally revised full sized tundra (never considered a toyota prior to 2007 since too dinky and ugly)and since then I believe the 2010 was 2500-3K and 2012 was only 2K in rebates is all. Pricing keeps going up by 1 grand each year and yet the rebates were getting lower and lower. All a part of supply and demand I guess. I’m not a huge fan of huge rebates, but 3500 is a good deal vs. the big 3 always offering 4-5K in rebates. I doubt rebates on the 2014’s will be over 1500 the first model year anyways unless sales are slow and might go up to 2K???
mk – Just a quick note: A few organizations are reporting a minor price increase with the new model (1-2%), and that’s something that we’re hearing from other channels too, so I’d say it’s a safe bet.
As for the new truck having too many gizmos, the base model will still be utilitarian.
[…] Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to get excited about either. I think the TH article sums it up. 2014 Tundra Review – Underwhelming, But Still Solid | Tundra Headquarters Blog […]
I wish they would have put a Landcruiser front end on the new Tundra, with a full size bed on the Crewmax and a larger fuel tank, I would be trading my 2011 Tundra in on the first one…
There’s nothing really wrong with the ’14, but certainly not anything to get excited about either.
I own a 2007 and have been holding off purchasing to wait on the model. I thought it would be here in 2012 and then in 2013 and now its 2014…. and I can say I am disappointed. I have no idea what they have been working on. Plus, I read the comments from Toyota execs that they are not looking to take market share. They are happy with 9 percent and don’t want anymore. I just can’t help but believe that is down right stupid. I have never liked Dodge. The reason being their realiability sucks. Yet, the new RAMS are really nice and if they come up on the quality… I’ll might just get one. I can’t think of one reason to consider Toyota anymore and I’ve own many of them. My 07 has been nice. Had a few issues but nothing horrible. I do believe I have the 4 wheel drive issue with the front end but if I cycle it in and out of 4 low… the low growl will go away. I can see that being my next fight with Toyota. I just passed 5 years on it in Nov. I can’t help but be disappointed.
Lewis – As I’m sure you know, there’s an old adage in business “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” and I can’t help but wonder what Toyota’s plan is for the future. If they’re not willing to expand the San Antonio plant, and they keep building the Tacoma and Tundra at the same factory, what are they hoping to accomplish? A small share of the truck market that slowly and steadily erodes in the face of continued innovation from Ford and Chrysler-Fiat?
I’d like to say that Toyota’s investment in fuel cells and hybrid truck technologies are the path to the future, but who knows. The Tundra just didn’t get the R&D budget this time around.
[…] Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to get excited about either. I think the TH article sums it up. 2014 Tundra Review – Underwhelming, But Still Solid | Tundra Headquarters Blog Mendonsy, thanks for posting the link. For those that haven't read this, I think you'll find it […]
Funny, the 1st-gen’s brochure showed it pulling a 5-th wheel RV…oh so wrong. That’s where a diesel super duty platform is mandatory! But,(minor article correction) 1/2 ton trucks are frequently used to pull 28ft RV trailers.
I agree with your article on all points otherwise. They’ve been in the game long enough to know where they fit in.
I will also cut Toyo some slack for no new powertrain development and this being more a mid-cycle facelift. The whole March 2011 earthquake,tsunami,fukushima thing did interfere with supply, production, research AND development for nearly a year or more.
Pete – Depends on where you live. Here in Colorado, where mountain ranges stand between you and all the fun stuff, it’s rare to see a half-ton of any kind pulling a big RV.
Also, good point about the various issues Toyota has faced. My guess is that the decision to mildly refresh the Tundra was made all the way back in 2009 when Toyota saw the truck market grind to a halt. At that time, Toyota likely decided to “play it conservative.” Still, this refresh was a little too conservative for anyone’s tastes.
After reading through this thread I see quite a few good critiques concerning the changes on the 2014 models but I also, in my opinion only, see where we have fallen into the same rut/trap that plagues many among the Chevy/Ford/Dodge guys. We, including myself, were expecting a “game changer” with this release but realistically we should have known better. After reading some articles here and other sites as well as some released video interviews I think that toyota overall scored well here and this is why. Again, just my opinion.
1. The current engines are all well proven. Yes some of us were expecting such things as cylinder deactivation, direct injection, etc… But let’s be realistic. We’re talking about real world driving, not EPA testing. As has been pointed out, some of the recent mileage claims by certain other makers are coming under serious scrutiny. Also the mechanical/reliability history of some of these techs, such as cylinder deactivation, has been somewhat checkered. One thing about Toyota is that they have always prided themselves on reliability and cost of ownership.
2. Toyota understands their real market share much better than most of us I would say. As has been pointed out here many times, the numbers are very misleading. When it comes to the 1/2 ton the Tundra is actually much more competitive than many realize. Toyota knows this as well. This is why many of the improvements made were based off of real world concerns and feedback.
Now I do believe Toyota missed out on a couple of points that would have addressed some of the concerns voiced here. The big one to me is why not go the active grill management route that Ram did? The tech is pretty straight forward and solid. We see this being incorporated in Ford’s Atlas concept. That to me is a mistake on Toyota’s part since it would have addressed many folks concern about mileage. The other point I think they missed the boat on is not including a 6.5 bed with the CM. That for me was the biggest reason why I went with the DC, because bed was an important consideration to many serious truck buyers.
Overall I think the 2014 Tundra is a step in the right direction. Many I think, including myself, got got up in the hype and our own personal wishlists with this release. Personally I believe that this evolution of the Tundra will do well and will help increase sales among serious and realistic truck buyers for Toyota for the segment of the market they are targeting.
Just my opinion, I could always be crazier than a fruit bat also.
On the Active Grille Shutters, I did ask Mike Sweers, Chief Engineer, about them. He said Toyota has looked at them and it really isn’t new technology. He said it does help in certain circumstances, however, the long-term durability of the parts is a concern for them.
The longer bed just wasn’t that attractive to Toyota and their thinking about what customers needs are. While there will be some customers who REALLY wanted it, it wasn’t enough for it to be a feature. That is most likely to change as consumer demand grows with the other makers. Once, they see sales growth in crew cab with longer beds, Toyota will change their tune.
KMS – As always, a great comment. I agree that Toyota missed the mark with active shutters, but it’s not as if they can’t be added at a later date.
Also, as Tim has said, I think PART of the issue with active shutters is durability…and the other part is that they’re hard to make money on. It’s hard to get consumers to fork over $500-$1000 for a feature like this, so you either have to make it standard or roll it out in some sort of “super duper fuel sipper” package, and we all know how poorly these types of packages have sold in the past. Both Ford and GM rolled out special packages that sipped gas, and both were very unpopular.
As you say, Toyota knows their customer base. Gee-whiz fuel economy features would have got the media and hardcore fans excited, but my father-in-law (who is a good example of Toyota’s luxury truck buyer persona) really couldn’t care less about 20mpg vs 18mpg. He’s not using his truck to drive cross-country, he’s using it to haul the boat, drive over to the golf course, etc.
Finally, the 6.5′ bed on crew cab pickups has a lot of resistance. Toyota doesn’t like to build a wide variety of packages, and the number of variations they would have to plan for skyrockets with a 6.5′ bed. Combine that with what will likely be a low take rate, and you have a feature that’s not worth offering (speaking purely in terms of ROI).
Both you and Tim make excellent points, as usual.
As a Toyota “fanboy” there are aspects of the truck I do like and others that make me shake my head. The interior for one is well done. The 1794 version is ugly. The platinum model with the black/chrome grill looks a lot better. The TRD Off Road truck looks nice too.
Now with that said, Toyota failed to raise the bar. Yes, the tundra hangs with the Ram in regard to payload and towing. But the domestics are going forward with new powertrains, 8 speed transmissions, and never frames. If Toyota did any research they would have known that regardless of how good the tundra frame may be, it is perceived as being weak. Truck buyers like the fully boxed frame.
Toyota has a high torque 8 speed transmission that would have been a much needed improvement with all RWD tundra applications. Toyota should have added their multi-mode 4WD to compete with RAM and GM.
We can only hope that Toyota follows Ram and modify their powertrains in the next few years.
TRDSmokedU – I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about the frame’s perceived weakness. Not only is their some damning footage on YouTube, but we also have a history of rust issues and the common knowledge that “fully boxed” frames are better.
People in the know tell me the Tundra’s frame is actually quite good, but that doesn’t really answer the populist concerns.
Of course, you can’t just stiffen the frame without making a pretty major investment in redesign.
As for the additional gears in the transmission, I’m not sure that 8speeds are all they’re cracked up to be. Ford is supposedly going to a 9 or 10 speed automatic this decade (maybe even next year), but the conventional wisdom is that you only see a 5-10% improvement in fuel economy when you move from 6spds to 8spds, and moving from 8spds to 10spds is only good for a 3-5% improvement. Toyota has lots of other options when it comes to boosting fuel economy 10-15%.
What surprised me was that Toyota didn’t go with electric steering and variable valve lift. Both upgrades would have been relatively cheap and easy, wouldn’t have effected MSRP much at all, and would have been good for a 5-10% increase in gas mileage and/or horsepower. Toyota could have tweaked the 5.7 to 400hp AND boosted combined fuel economy 1mpg. That would have been something to brag about, especially considering that 400hp would have put the 5.7 right there with Ram’s HEMI and GM’s 6.2.
But, having said all of this, Toyota is likely to upgrade the 4.0L V6 very soon (perhaps even in this 2014 model). It could be that we’ll see Toyota roll out a DI 4.0V6 that’s rated at 22mpg highway…
Here’s a million dollar question: Why does Toyota still use belt driven engine fans when so many are going to electric fans? It seems a waste of fuel to me to have an engine driven cooling fan, especially at highway speeds when relative wind from forward motion is providing nearly all of the cooling for the radiator and a/c condensor. Even though the fan clutch is at its lowest setting at this speed, it still had a draw on the engine that is unnecessary. And then there is the draw on the engine at low speeds as well. After sitting for a minute or two at a red light the clutch is fully engaged consuming more fuel. Maybe the savings are negligible and that’s why they choose not to, but every little bit counts over years and miles of ownership.
Not sure. I really didn’t look that closely at the engine. I know they have made modifications, we will just have to wait and see what they are.
I think with the recall fiasco and the tsunami Toyota has fallen being in R&D. Here is a good article about the future of Toyota engine development. I think we will see this Tundra get updates through the life cycle.
I think the late arrival of an American Engineer in charge of the truck (rather than Japan-controlled) will have the most impact on future trucks. And that could also be blamed for a perceived falling behind on R&D.
I have a first generation Tundra and Sequoia. The Tundra has the belt clutch, while the Sequoia has both electric and crank powered. The Sequoia is now ten years old with that technology, so it’s not much of a stretch to add the full electric for a 2014 model.
Not really a Tundra fan here, but must say I think they took a step in the wrong direction on the exterior styling. The prior models had a more appealing grille, old tail lamps were more attractive too. Also the chrome rims on the model shown above look like a cheap cost cutting move, not feeling them. Maybe it’s that brownish color that doesn’t look good with the chrome accents. At least Toyota offers a different rim pkg. Interior, while I agree it appears to have a very Ford looking dash, the entire interior looks to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model. Nothing here would push me into purchasing a Tundra though.
How bout a locking rear differential? Is that going to be an option?
Billy – This question was asked in the press conference (I think it’s included in Tim’s interview with Sweers) and the answer is no. The rear-diff is staying the same.
You can always buy the part and put it in if you need it. I would if I needed it. To me it’s a want/need situation. Haven’t had an issue with my 07 pulling out my boat. Now I even let the wife pull me and the boat out.
I am anxiously awaiting the double cab. I have a need to put stuff in the bed of my truck a lot more than I need to put people in the back seat. I prefer the longer bed to the shorty on the crew max.
I like the new styling. I adjusted to it much faster than I normally do with make overs. I loved the 1983 Toyota 4WD pickup. When they squared it up in ’84, I couldn’t stand it.
Of course I bought an ’85 and drive it to this day. That fact is what sells me on Toyota. I also have a 1990 4runner, and both are running strong after two and half decades on Alaskan (read crummy)roads.
I have a great link but it wont let me post it. Do you know how?
Just paste it in. You can also click the “link” button as well.
how does Dodge Ram, and GMC cars and trucks get the (toyota owned) Aisin 8 speed automatic transmission and this tundra don’t? Dodge Ram is talking about putting it in there 3500!! whats boing on here
I can tell you that Toyota has looked at 8-speed transmissions and has looked at them. We should keep in mind that GM and Ford trucks aren’t all going to have 8-speed transmissions. While 8-speed transmissions sound great to the public, they aren’t without reservations. Remember Toyota looks at durability and increased cost to the consumer above all else.
Here is our story on them: https://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/2011/06/03/ford-f150-innovation-toyota/
Toyota blew us away in 2007 with a truck that was the biggest best in class – the new all alluminum DOHC 5.7L was major then and still competitive. If my memeory serves, Dodge/Ram was always bottom of barrel for MPGs – and is using many little tricks to be competitive now. What does it say when you have a cu.in. Advantage and barely beat on power and competitive MPGs come from 8 speeds, lower ride height, electric stearing, active shutters, etc… Etc… And all these too fragile for truck gizmos are prone to failure.
I think cylinder deactivation is a joke without hybrid help. If you drive so taking best advantage of it – you would have almost as good economy driving that way without it. How you drive is worth more MPGs than exists between the competition. You want to race vettes with a 6000lb truck and get good MPGs – you’re dreaming.
I was looking forward to a Toyota with 8 speeds only because I have 2004 Tundra with only 4 and was dreaming of 6 for so long – but also know there is a limit. Maybe if top gear was high enough we would be at an RPM lower than idle on highway – if you have around 400HP/ft.lbs, do you need a much lower 1rst gear (especially with a llow range when needed)? If you do, you are hauling/towing more than you should.
I waited for this redesign and my only hesitation is I fear regret in getting 2014 when it seems Toyota will provide more QRD MPGs in next couple of years. I am debating now if 2-3MPGs are worth the wait for 2016. I doubt it.
Anyone know if rear seat that now folds up still slides and reclines? Is there usable storage under or potentially behind seat (slid forward)? I will give up a foot of CM box if I can have it in cab.
I guess what I am saying is that I too had a big wish list and high expectations and was disappointed Toyota did not bring their A-game – but with time since the reveal and much thought of the big picture, I think Toyota did the right thing.
They could not overcome generations of enherited Brand loyalty with the 2007 as the visiting team. Most of us Toyota fans were once owners of domestics, switched teams, were happy and stayed – what would Ford/GM/Ram have to do to get a Toyota fan back? For me – prove the product is high quality, dependable and reliable – they could do release that tomorrow and it will need to be on the road for years for me to believe it and trust them again. For others, it may be the Rambox or rim or grill shutters or 1-2mpgs…
Toyota should not follow Ford’s example of minor revisions yearly (hurts resale) get it good and stick to it – but marketing must improve – they have a long history making great (famous even) trucks/jeeps and SUVs – educate us that Toyota knows how to build for the long haul with proof (even if it was not in America – it will increase respect and improve acceptance).
They can not offer the configurations the others do with the volume they are selling – they would price themselves out. They need to learn to sell what they do best to up numbers first.
I will suffer less configurations, features and mpgs to have a truck I trust. I have recomended Toyota to many friends and family, they bought them and have not looked back (something my best friend was used to as parts would fall off his GM for no reason – on his 4th Toyota now and nothings come off).
So when I spend – I will put my $$$ where my mouth is.
I agree on all points except lesser MPGs. I really need to write an article on this, but I believe Toyota’s “real-world” MPGs is very competitive to the bloated EPA estimated MPGs of the other makers.
To clarify, I mean more that QRD is a much higher priority to me than the EPA stickers, and that I would pay a little more at the pumps for something that is known most reliable and dependable. Not saying the toyota is bad MPGs.
You are like most truck owners then. You want a truck that is reliable and will last forever while not being a complete gas hog. I get it, that’s what I want to! 🙂
Anyone know if rear seat that now folds up still slides and reclines? Is there usable storage under or potentially behind seat (slid forward)? I will give up a foot of CM box if I can have it in cab.
Only pic I found with cushion up has shows new mounts (no apparent sliders)… Do not see many levers either.
Only mention ever says fold up while maintaining a nice recline angle.
Did we trade slide/recline for fold?
No idea, sorry.
ToyRulz my CM rear seat slides back n forth 11 inches and reclines. Also the top folds down. The bottom doesn’t fold up. Only DC’s have that. There is room behind the seat and under them. I’m sure the 2014 will do the same as I hope the rear glass will come down like they do now in the CM’s. If not then I will go for a 2013 CM I like my back glass to go down. Now for the storage you mention. I have 5 straps under pass rear seat. A set box of craftsman tools with wrench set inside under driver rear seat. Behind seats I have my 2″ ball with the piece that goes into the tow harness. It’s wrapped in a towel. I have a Walmart black and yellow with handle hydraulic jack with a 3 foot 2×4 behind the seat also. I have a f way lug wrench under pass seat. 10,000lb tow rope, plug in air pump, winshield shade, plug in Spot light, 2 blankets, 2 jugs of antifreeze and 2 pillows.
I can almost say 90% that the rear window will roll down in the CM. Too cool of a feature not to keep!
That’s awesome – thanks! I am hoping for same answer for the 2014 though (its CM folds up and there are changes so that cool feature may be lost). If I end up in pre-2014 I will be happy with the storage you describe – just hoping 2014 is where I end up.
Just hoping when I have kids strapped in – I can slide seats forward and put some shopping bags or kids pack sacks behind or under.
Tim – thought I saw somewhere that the power rear window is still on new CM – or I was dreaming – either way, I think it’ll be there too (I like this feature – though use the the defrost more). I wanted rear defrost on every truck I had before getting it on my 2004 DoubleCab limited – I can’t imagine not having it now.
Yes Toyrulz I love my rear defroster. But unlike most I love to lower the rear glass. I even open sunroof to the moonroof position and put back glass down 6 inches or more even when it’s down to 40 degrees. I just like the air flow it gives you. Not to mention I can really hear my Borla Pro XS complete duels sounding off. Also you keep getting alot of attention because most people think you had that done on the truck. When I tell them that comes only with the CM they can’t believe it.
OK – Toyota if you’re listening (or anybody else that thought to look at the show) – I am getting nervous about the loss of slide and recline on CrewMax.
Not good – segment exlusive gone – one that caters to moving car/suv owners into trucks. My truck is an SUV with a box – I haul dirt in box, passengers and their carry ons and shopping bags in the rear. I really wanted to put small items behind my small legged passengers. I didn’t realize till I found not even a hint slide and recline was still there how much that loss meant. It is how i decided DoubleCab or Crewmax.
In fact – it is the one thing that makes a truck make sense to my wife – I can not spend 40-50K without her being happy – keep slide recline for in cab storage.
PS – proper install of kid safety seats is way easier with slide and recline so truck can match their angle and slide forward can put added tension in seat belts (plus access to tethers is easier), etc…
Toyota – you’re smarter than this – this is a big deal to those you are catering to – tell us its still there before the 2013s are gone.
E-mail to Toyota asking has no reply.
It may be the only thing stopping me from getting a new 2014 (other than fear I will hate Toyota a year or two later for releasing 5.7 that has has 3+ better mpgs.
Just saw this…
Sadly – I was right – slide and recline are gone to have tip-up instead…
On a better note, though small – I will take it…
Recalibrated engines and retuned exhaust for slight improvements to gas milage and throatier sound during acceleration.
Also mention of changes to springs (not just retuned shocks).
I see a mod kit for the slide and recline, how about you??
Sounds good. Please post solution asap 😉
What are they doing with the apparently wasted space that is the big underseat box that raises the cargo floor they are so desperate to lower and expose with tip-up seat cushions?
I just can’t believe the contradiction of marketing new Tundra CrewMax to people coming from cars and SUVs and removing a segment exclusive feature that hits this target well. Tip-up makes you chose – passenger or cargo – Slide and recline allows both provided cargo is small. CrewMax is big enough to allow this – they could make wonderfull commercials of soccer-moms sliding kids forward to hang some shopping bags or pack sacks behind their seat.
All I can see is cost cutting by standardizing rear seats across both DoubleCab and CrewMax where obviously slide recline won’t work in DC.
Maybe Platinum or 1794 will have slide recline optional so parts can exist?
I wrote Toyota Canada and they replied – specs announced are preliminary and they’ll know more as release gets nearer. I was hoping to get message to Toyota before it was too late to reverse the ommision of this feature – but dead ends everywhere. I will pay extra for it as an option if I have too but seriously – I think this will effect Toyota more than it will me.
Update: Could not make the case for new 2014, which became “if old model anyway, why not used” – so am new owner of lighlty used 2011 with slide and recline. Will have to wait and try again in 2018 and hope my used 2011 will be enough of a down on trade then.
Congrats! I have been back and forth myself. The savings of a new used Tundra are substantial and the only thing I really like on the 2014 is the interior. I dislike the deep gauge cluster on the 2007-13 trucks.
The barrel guages don’t bug me – like my 2003 4Runner. Don’t look at them much anyway LOL
That’s one ugly tundra, some ugly cosmetics. What is Toyota thinking?