USA Today Reviews 2014 Toyota Tundra “Seriously Better”

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The USA Today review of the 2014 Toyota Tundra veers away from the standard beating the truck has been taking. It actually found the truck to be “seriously better.” What gives? Is this the first honest review of the truck?

USA Today Calls 2014 Toyota Tundra "Seriously Better"

USA Today found a lot to like in the 2014 Toyota Tundra. Are others missing the point?

Lately, many of the truck websites/magazines have simply called the 2014 Tundra a disappointment. Most have blamed either a “lack of money” (laughable) or plan misunderstanding on Toyota’s part of the 1/2 ton market. USA Today’s review stands out then in the sea of disparaging remarks.

The review (click here) plainly points out that what Toyota has been trying to hard to get across – they listened to their customers and addressed their big issues. Namely, these issues came from the interior and exterior styling.

“We heard from a lot of people that our interior materials were cheap. We set out to improve not only the look and feel, but also the craftsmanship throughout the whole interior,” says Mike Sweers, chief engineer.

Nailed it. Inside the new Tundra is quite a nice place to be. Textures and coverings should eliminate well-founded gripes about the interior of the previous truck.

Styling’s bolder, especially the grille. Some will like it, others won’t.

Some of the most useful improvements are unseen. And they combine for a seriously better truck. Toyota fixed:

•Delays shifting into four-wheel drive. That process now is quicker and can be done at higher speeds.

•Unwieldy throttle “tip in.” That refers to how fast the engine responds to a push on the gas pedal, and how direct and smooth that response is. The new tip-in calibration is a joy in off-road challenges, where smooth throttle application can be the difference between stuck and not.

•Unpleasant airflow through optional cooled seats. The air now is pulled through the ventilated seat fabric instead of pushed through it, out into your hind parts.

•Easy-to-damage, expensive-to-repair rear bumper. The 2014 bumper’s thicker and reinforced, and made up of three pieces instead of one. Repair or replace only the part that has the damage.

Now, we have quoted the entire list of changes that USA Today saw, because, well, everyone else seems to skip these. This makes us scratch our heads. If customers wanted these issues addressed and you addressed them, isn’t that a good thing?

And yes, the review does point out the biggest disappointment is the lack of power train improvements. This isn’t big news and the 2014 sales will either prove Toyota made the right decision or failed.

What do you think? Is this review a lot different or what?

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Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. Larry says:

    From USA Today

    The progenitor, called T100, was too small and had no V-8.

    The bigger first-generation Tundra, with optional V-8, was still considered a bit undersized for “real” truck buyers.

    Perhaps the biggest disappointment: The big, 5.7-liter V-8 has the same power ratings, 381 horsepower and 401 lbs.-feet of torque

    The writer likes the new Tundra. Same engine, same suspension, same transmission. This one is better then the previous one?

    Has this person every had a job and used a truck at work? He probably thinks 4WD is what is needed for driving down a dirt road in the Philadelphia suburbs.

    Last time I was in my T100 the bed was still 4X8, Too small, what does that mean? 19 years and only about 500 in repairs. He should be saying the progenitor was one of the best trucks ever made.

    The first generation Tundra:

    ONLY 381 HP
    ONLY 401 FT lb

    I guess this person tows a Space Shuttle around every day.

    Like I keep saying, people like this don’t know what a truck is for.

  2. LJC says:

    I’m a fan of Shark Tank! The men and women really know there stuff, since they have wicked deep pockets and earned their millions and billions the old fashioned way–they earned it from the school of hard knocks.

    During one episode, a business seeking an investment compared the advice they received from someone else (outside of the tank); a shark responded “how much money did they invest in that advice”. The response was “none”. The shark replied “What do they have to loose then?”

    Same principle applies here: None of these reviewers are investing their own money. If they did, their criteria for a truck reivew would change.

  3. toyrulz says:

    Good one LJC – I don’t just say toyota is the best, I spend all my money buying them to prove it.

    Celica GTS, 2 Corollas, 2 (80’s) Pickups, 4Runner, T-100, and 2 Tundras so far.

    I loved my T-100, if it were a doublecab to take kid seats in back I’d still have it – was last and biggest truck brought here from Japan. I put a load in it one time (all the granular-A, crusher dust, and concrete patio stones needed for base of my shed) that neighbours figured would have broke there big domestics – they couldn’t believe it could do it. Guy at building store thought I should some of the patio stones on the hood to keep the front wheels on the ground.

    PS. I wasn’t going far, underestimated the weight of my supplies, and too far in and stuburn to turn back – I would not recommend anybody haul like this.

  4. toyrulz says:

    My local dealer’s sales manager told me, “there is no “bed bounce” issues in Canada, and he thinks it is because all Canadian Tundras are imported with the Tow Package and the extra bracing of the frame at the rear changes the behavior”.

    All I can say, my CrewMax rides good enough – and I think my TRD Off Road shocks are the cause of half the harshness as they are tuned for hitting big bumps hard not little bumps fast. With a good load and/or my RV in tow, she’s great. When unloaded – I have hop in back hitting rail crossings and washboard but what do you expect from springs for over a half-ton that isn’t there and a solid rear axle. The ride I have and I can tow a space shuttle – good enough.

    Some have claimed levelling their Tundras has helped ride – I think this is true where the higher front is shifting some weight to the back altering the front to rear weight distribution. May be small, and maybe more noticable on heavier equiped CrewMaxs.

    That being said… The 2014 has different spring rates and retuned shocks that so far are reviewing well. Anyone else find the 2014 seems more level with more air over front tires?

    Also a shout out to whoever made a post somewhere about Tundra’s open channel rear frame is maybe too much frame for a light-duty truck and why it is the way it is. I think that viral Ford Video of frame flex was a death blow to the whole honest truth and made a mountain out of a mole hill. I watch transports race every year at an annual truck rodeo – the transports line up at the tree with full trailer of lumber and drag race up hill for 1/8th mile. The winning truck is ussually the one that launches one front tire in air so trucks from bumper nearly 45 degrees. Lossers stay flat and often drop tranny or drive shaft at the tree.

    Toyota – stay the course – add MPGs as you can without effecting cost and QRD. Bring back the driver hand grip, lose the antenna, and make room in wells for bigger tires without lift.

    TRD – where is the level-lift kit with quick detach stabilizer (front and rear) links for off road? Rear links sized for rear lift or adjustable.

  5. mk says:

    I never did understand why our 2007 thru 2013 tundra’s could not shift in and out of 4wd if 61 mph and over. Personally, my review is they could’ve done a few things to drastically improve the new 2014 tundra and they should have done it easily but didn’t namely better mpg and bed/cab configs. The outside is debateable if better or not and the inside looks like they copied ford f150. Overall, not too impressed but as far as I am concerned, the engine and tranny are the best in the 1/2 ton market still in 2014 but the big 3 are right behind them now and closing in with better features in areas than the new 2014 tundra, namely mpg and bed/cab configs.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I agree. I think there are really only two things that hold the Tundra back and that is like you said, MPG and options. I believe they are working on adding more options if they move production of the Tacoma. MPG improvements? I’m not so sure.


    • Anonymous says:

      Shifting into and out of 4WD at speeds over 60 MPH? Did I really read that?

      • KMS says:

        Agreed. I’ve driven 4×4 trucks for a lonnnggggg time and I’ve never really understood this trend of using four wheel drive at ever higher speeds. I always get a kick here in WV during the winter seeing folks spun out in their 4×4 equipped luxury trucks/SUV’s because they thought having 4WD meant they could do 70 in a snow/ice storm, LOL. Too many substitute 4WD for common sense and safe driving for the current conditions.

        BTW, not a dig at you MK, just my opinion.

        • Larry says:

          I commuted 120 miles a day from near Park City down to Provo Utah through Provo Canyon for 10 years.

          On snowy days, I saw SUVs and trucks in the Provo River over and over. Up on US 40 before descending to Heber City I can’t count high enough to enumerate all the times I saw 2 tire tracks going 50 feet or more off the road through deep snow with big trucks and SUVs stuck or upside down.

          I did that commute in a Subaru Impresa which was a great snow car. At 50 I could feel I didn’t have total control and would slow down. I always stayed in the right lane with a plan to just drive off the road into the snow if I needed to as the big SUVs would pass me on snow pack and slush going 70. A few times I actually saw people lose control at those high speeds as they would quickly change lanes to pass. They would hit deep snow between the lans and it was all over. Some managed to recover and then kept right on going at those speeds. Even big UPS double trailers were doing it. Whenever I saw people coming at me int he rear view mirror in my lane I always got ready to bail out if they lost it. I can only guess that the longer heavier full time 4WD systems which are not fully locked have the ability to pull nice and straight. That is until something happens then all control is lost and not at 45 but at 70 MPH and then they go down the bank and into the river.

          4WD and 60 MPH on snow pack don’t mix and it’s not needed if the road is dry.

          So why the full time 4WD and shift on the fly?

    • GoBig says:

      What I can’t figure out is why someone would be driving 61 miles per hour in conditions that require 4wd?

      I base this opinion on 40 years of driving in Alaska.

  6. Mickey says:

    It’s good to see a good review. I will only be convinced when I see one up close and drive one myself. Until then the Tundra is still a ?. I’m leaning towards a 1794.

    • KMS says:

      I like the 1794, just a bit rich for my wallet right now. I do like the look of the TRD off road 4×4 though. Guess I still have a soft spot for simpler trucks.

      • mendonsy says:

        I think that $47k price tag is ridiculous, but it is probably more a “talking point” than a real price. I suspect they are probably going to actually sell for more like $37k.

        • KMS says:

          Actually, considering that the 1794 is competition against the Ford King Ranch series and the other high offerings by GM and Ram, the 47g price is pretty competitive. Shoot, my ’12 RW came in at 41g and some change after having some stuff added. I see the prices for F-150’s, Ram 1500’s and GM 1500’s in my area, and feel that the Tundra’s are priced pretty good. GM’s are cheap not but only because of the ridiculous rebates being offered.

  7. LJC says:

    So, people are being really critical of the 2014 Tundra.
    I think they’re biased pricks–edit my opinion if it’s too offensive.

    Well, I just took a quick look at a 2014 Sierra Crew Cab.
    GM still has not solved the petite rear seats. I’m 5 ft 9 in and when I sit in the back seat and raise the head rest fully, I can lean my head back and the base of my head hits the top of the head rest and the head rest retracts.

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