While Detroit 3 carmakers – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – are overhauling and revamping their full-sized pickup offering, the same could not be said for Toyota, which is introducing a reengineered yet little-tweaked 2014 Tundra. While some may wonder and criticize Toyota for taking a conservative approach for its pickup product, the Japanese carmaker is just taking some cues from a lesson learned in the past.
In 2007, Toyota introduced a redesigned Tundra powered by a new family of V-8 engines that dictate the tempo for technology and fuel economy in the pickup segment. The Japanese also opened a $2.2-billion site in San Antonio, Texas that could build 200,000 units annually, with ample space for expansion.
But then, the vaunted economy of the United States collapsed and shrunk to recession, causing sales of full-sized pickup sales in the country sank almost 50 percent. The wager Toyota has made on the US pickup market failed big time. Since then, expectations for the Toyota Tundra have been lower – something that is visible with the 2014 model.
While Ram and GM’s reengineered pickups as well as Ford’s replacement for its F-150 will receive new platforms and powertrains, the Toyota Tundra only boasts of minor tweaks.
The Tundra is still powered by any of the three engine offerings: a 4.0-liter V-6 and 4.6-liter and 5.7-liter V-8s. The V-6 is still paired to a five-speed automatic gearbox, while the V-8s is still mated to six-speed automatic transmissions.
Instead, Toyota has hiked the equipment levels for the Tundra, adding more luxurious trim packages in a bid to raise transaction price. The Japanese carmaker may sell fewer Tundras, but it could make a larger profit on each one.
Although the Tundra is shorter than comparable trim levels of the new Ram and Chevrolet Silverado, it boasts of having the best approach angle, an attribute sought for by ranchers and off-roaders. Despite a carried over suspension design, the Tundra features a modified valving in all four shock absorbers as well as an adjusted spring rate on the rear leaf springs.