MEGA Road Test Review – 2014 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8 CrewMax Limited

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INTRO

 

Ahh, the joys of moving from a little car to a giant truck. Can they ever truly be overstated? The first few minutes, you are simply in awe at how large a vehicle you are piloting.

The steering can feel a bit slow, and the width takes getting used to. But after less than a mile, you start to “get it.”

You get the big view forward and to all sides. You get the sense that the roominess of the Tundra’s cabin goes on for miles and miles. And you get the sense, most importantly, that you are unstoppable.

You can move the world in this truck, just by flexing your right foot a little bit. The world suddenly seems more manageable, and all tasks much more do-able with the Tundra 5.7-liter V8 CrewMax Limited.

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EXTERIOR

The 2014 Tundra is all-new this year, with the exterior makeover combined with a distinct strategy to make all the trim levels appeal to different buyers — or at least allow the SR5’s dark grille to be the cool young-person option, while the more expensive Platinum trucks carry an imposingly-wide horizontal brightwork grille theme.

This nose strategy is really smart, and is part of the reason the Ford F-150 is so much more successful than the Ram 1500 or GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. It makes sense: the Ram and Chevy trucks all look pretty much the same, regardless of whether a $25k work truck or a $55,000 High Country or Outdoorsman Ram.

Toyota has siezed this insight to rich results: the Limited here bridges the gap between the simple black grilles of the SR5 and the premium-aspiring grilles of the Platinum. All work nicely with the huge Tundra surfaces and butch, chunky detailing on the fender flares, lighting elements, and even the TUNDRA stamp in the pickup bed door.

This is an insanely sexy and cool design, and one that really will stand the test of time for truck guys. It is classy, even while oozing testosterone from every panel gap.

The 20-inch wheels of the Limited CrewMax tester model help to ensure people know how loaded and cool your Tundra is, but even the base $25,000 4.0-liter V6 models will never be confused with the Tacoma. They are far too new, wide and huge all around to be anything but a full-size truck.

That being said, we looked in vain for the LED accents in these lower headlamps. There seems to be a place for them – and even some psuedo reflector element where they would normally reside. But no level of button-pushing will make them light up: the Limited runs high-beam-based DRL’s only.

The LED accent is reserved for the loaded Platinum trim, which is a darn shame. It would be a nice feature on this second-from-top Limited trim, and a quick shortcut to knowing this was the 2014 Tundra on the road versus a 2013 or before.

Our Tundra Limited without LED

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Tundra Platinum LED shown below.

 

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 INTERIOR GALLERY

 

 

INTERIOR

 

The Tundra’s cabin is intensely awesome. It is extrmely comfortable, with huge thrones for chairs in every position. The CrewMax has the largest back seat of any pickup truck we’ve driven in many years. By volume, it is probably the largest second-row-seat that Toyota or Lexus builds.

By comfort, it is second to most Lexus models due to the high step-in height and lack of much seat recline angle. But space, my friends, will never be a problem back there. Even three huge dudes will rarely have “thigh-touch” issues.

Thigh-touch? What is that? You know the feeling…:  It is when your leg has to touch that of the person next to you on the way to work or a family event? It is usually another gross dude you work with — so having a surplus of space is a great thing. One the Tundra has in spades.

The CrewMax is by far the most popular cab option, making it an easy item to find on the lots. Ford and GM trucks ship mostly in the smaller double cabs, with the largest cabin including a big price jump that the Toyota includes nearly free-of-charge.

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2014 TOYOTA Tundra – PERFORMANCE VIDEO

 

The Tundra has three engines available, but nearly all private buyers will be running a smooth and throaty V8. Only the cheapest SR single-cab and SR5 double-cab offer the standard 4.0-liter V6 — which in itself is plenty powerful with 270-horsepower and a sprint time of approximately 8.5-seconds to 60-mph.

The upgraded 4.6-liter V8 adds about 40 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque, dropping that sprint time down to the mid 7-second-range.

The biggest V8 is a dream. It has tug-boat levels of power all over the rev range, but especially down low, with 380 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque from 3600 RPM to about 5000 RPM.

This 5.7-liter Tundra is also fast as hell. It is seriously rapid.

 

As shown in the video below, sprint times of an estimate 5.9-seconds to 60-mph make this one rapid work truck.

There is such a surplus of power with the 5.7-liter V8 option — the big Tundra will still hit those sprint benchmarks with a 1000-pounds of cargo and 1000 pounds of people or trailer out back. It is fast.

Smooth and with good top-end power as well, the big V8 really becomes one of the Tundra’s best selling-points versus the Ford, Chevrolet and Ram trucks. The Nissan is geared more conservatively with its 5.6-liter V8, and is also down at least 60 horsepower and torque from the 5.7-liter Toyota.

The Toyota V8 is smooth and potent throughout the rev range, pulling hard still as the needle hits 6000-RPM. This is when the GM 5.3-liter V8 and even the Ram 5.7-liter V8 are really out of puff and waiting patiently in overrun for an upshift. Those trucks need a new gear to keep moving forward quickly, the Toyota does not.

A six-speed auto in almost all Tundras, bar the base 4.0-liter V6 trims, keeps cruising mileage respectable. A huge 26.4-gallon gas tank means stops are infrequent, but the 13 city / 18 highway MPG ratings take a soft foot to achieve or exceed.

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2014 TOYOTA Tech & Mechanical SPECS

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This next video is pretty boring, but does show the Tundra at 30-40MPH over gravel trails – being as un-phased by big divots and bumps as and machine I have ever experienced on in this familiar area near my house.

2014 TOYOTA Tundra Pricing

 

2014MY Tundra Pricing
Model Grade Cab Engine Trans MSRP
8204 SR Regular 4.0L V6 4×2 $25,920
8228 SR Regular 5.7L V8 4×2 $28,465
8327 SR Regular 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $31,515
8328 SR Regular 5.7L V8 4×4 $31,515
8215 SR Double 4.0L V6 4×2 $26,810
8239 SR Double 4.6L V8 4×2 $27,855
8339 SR Double 4.6L V8 4×4 $30,905
8242 SR Double 5.7L V8 4×2 $29,355
8245 SR Double 5.7L V8 4×2 $29,685
8332 SR Double 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $32,405
8335 SR Double 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $32,735
8342 SR Double 5.7L V8 4×4 $32,405
8345 SR Double 5.7L V8 4×4 $32,735
8240 SR5 Double 4.6L V8 4×2 $29,465
8340 SR5 Double 4.6L V8 4×4 $32,515
8241 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 4×2 $30,965
8246 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 4×2 $31,295
8331 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $34,015
8336 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $34,345
8341 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 4×4 $34,015
8346 SR5 Double 5.7L V8 4×4 $34,345
8259 SR5 CrewMax 4.6L V8 4×2 $31,825
8359 SR5 CrewMax 4.6L V8 4×4 $34,875
8261 SR5 CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×2 $33,325
8361 SR5 CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×4 $36,375
8363 SR5 CrewMax 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $36,375
8252 Limited Double 5.7L V8 4×2 $36,940
8352 Limited Double 5.7L V8 4×4 $39,990
8354 Limited Double 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $39,990
8272 Limited CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×2 $38,845
8372 Limited CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×4 $41,895
8374 Limited CrewMax 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $41,895
8275 Platinum CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×2 $44,270
8375 Platinum CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×4 $47,320
8377 Platinum CrewMax 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $47,320
8276 1794 Edition CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×2 $44,270
8376 1794 Edition CrewMax 5.7L V8 4×4 $47,320
8378 1794 Edition CrewMax 5.7L V8 FFV 4×4 $47,320

All prices listed above exclude the Delivery, Processing, and Handling (DPH) fee.

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SUMMARY

Have you ever been tailgated in your car by a full-size pickup truck? Of course you have.

Have you explained it away as being some insane yokel behind you, eager to get to the next gas station before he runs out? Or that his inferiority complex has gotten the best of him: oversizing his pickup truck to make his pants-junk feel more impressive?

That is not going through his mind whatsoever. He can simply see so far ahead of you that the impatience becomes a palpable thing. Like waiting in line behind someone who hasn’t seen the rest of the folks move up 100-yards — he just wants to get the show on the road, and by you slow-pokes. It is not personal, not intimidation, or self-aggrandizing.

He just sees down the road much farther, right over your roof.

Now imagine this scenario with the Toyota on your bumper. It is harder to do, right?

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That’s because the Tundra owner is almost sure to be smarter more world-wise than the Ford, GMC, Chevy, Ram and maybe even Nissan drivers. If not smarter, the Tundra is owned by more responsible and more worldly people.

This is an asset for Toyota, and the Tundra and I now see eye-to-eye.

This is the full-size truck of your dreams. It does everything the big domestic brands do, but without the stigma their core clientele have thrust upon us all via our rear-view mirrors.

So, let’s recap:

HIGHS

– Immense scale and fine styling details to show classy, full-size capability

– Various grille styles help Tundra buyers find one that fits their style

– Great cabin is quiet, huge and has good tech, plus all the truck capability of the old guard (trailer controls, center console file cabinet, etc.)

– Fast and throaty V8 rumble with 4.6L but especially with macho 5.7-liter V8’s 401 pound-feet of torque

– Not a Ford, Chevy, GMC or Ram — this is an advantage if you do not like being lumped into the herd

– Easy to buy without the millions of mechanical setup choices from Ford and Chevy, which send a limited selection to dealer lots without special-order

– Unburstable reliability – for decades of use

LOWS

– LED lighting is a Platinum (and 1794 Edition) exclusive, but you could add the Platinum headlights post-sale easily and safely

– Fuel economy suffers with a heavy right foot and with 4×4 High or Lock engaged

– Steering is a bit slow, even once you are familiar with and comfortable man-handling the Tundra’s big dimensions around corners

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2014 TOYOTA TUNDRA – EXTERIOR GALLERIES

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