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.
Each Tundra grade represents a distinct theme through clear designs that go beyond what its badge is.
Calty design team embarked on an adventurous journey to develop a stronger, more potent exterior to represent Toyota Tundra’s performance power. The brand-new front design blends the hood and grille for a chiselled and trendy industrial look. Designers grew the dimensions of the front fascia and compressed the surfaces and character liens to graphically accentuate Tundra’s pulling power and wide posture.
The grille has a higher, robust appearance, graphically attaching the upper intake to the lower bumper. The front, lower bumpers now have a three-piece layout, resulting to fewer replacement costs. Also, the fenders and wheel wells have been trimmed for a broader and stronger stance.
A fresh bed design helps extend the chiselled character lines all the way down the profile, prompting a sturdy new bed and tailgate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” marked into the sheet metal, producing a one-piece forged image. The integrated spoiler in the deck assists with fuel regulation, while the tail lamps convey a tool-like quality to match the look of the body. Like the front bumper, the rear bumper has been replaced from one piece to three, for lower replacement charges.