2014 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 4x4

2014 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 4x4 2014 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 4x4
Instrumented Test TESTED

Few things inspire brand loyalty as fiercely as do full-size pickup trucks. And although Ford, GM, and Ram have been burnishing their corporations’ bottom lines for decades, Toyota’s full-size Tundra has never really turned cargo-hauling capability into solid-gold success. This fall, while Toyota was celebrating the one-millionth Tundra to roll off its San Antonio assembly line since the plant opened in 2006, Ford casually announced it had sold 559,506 F-series trucks in the first nine months of 2013 alone. And the other two weren’t far off Ford’s pace during the same period, with GM selling 496,445 of the Sierra/Silverado twins and Ram delivering 262,787 units. Harsh statistics from the Toyota perspective, even as the domestics bolster their numbers by lumping half-ton trucks together with their heavy-duty models.

Bloodied but Unbowed

Whatever the stats, Toyota seems to be taking them in stride, having utilized a conservative approach with the Tundra’s mild makeover for 2014. The exterior received a larger grille, reworked lighting, and bolder bodywork. There’s also now a prominent “TUNDRA” wordmark embossed into the tailgate. The powertrains, however, remain basically unchanged, with none of the engines yet offering direct injection. Buyers can select from three carry-over engines: the base 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 (available only on 2WD regular and Double Cab models); the 310-hp, 4.6-liter V-8; and the 381-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 found under the hood of our Tundra Limited CrewMax 4x4.

Both of the V-8s still pair with a six-speed automatic, while the V-6 continues to make do with five-speed auto. Unlike the smorgasbord of options available in the domestic trucks, the Tundra’s order sheet keeps the list of available engine and axle-ratio combinations short: The V-6 and the 4.6-liter V-8 get a 3.91 axle, and the 5.7-liter V-8 receives a 4.10 (or a 4.30 when equipped with the tow package, as was our truck).

CrewMax is Toyota’s tag for its true four-door pickup, and our 2014 Tundra’s doors swung wide for easy ingress for passengers and any attendant paraphernalia. Front or back, we found it easy for a family of four to get comfortable, even with laundry, computer bags, or groceries at passengers’ feet. The gauge cluster has been reworked into a slightly more traditional arrangement that features a large speedo and tach, with a 3.5-inch color information display placed between them. A quartet of slightly smaller analog gauges provide for fuel, coolant temperature, oil pressure, and volt information.

Toyota says the center stack has moved about 2.5 inches toward the driver, and the controls are indeed easier to reach now. (Previously, reaching the farthest functions felt like stretching over to crank down the passenger window in pre-power-window cars. Remember those?) The large climate controls and the simple but effective centrally mounted fan-speed button are appreciated. In our Limited model, the oversize console sat between climate-controlled power-adjustable leather front seats (10-way driver, four-way passenger) and played host to the shifter, cup holders, and a number of open and covered storage cubbies. The centrally mounted seven-inch touch screen served as home base for the Entune Premium infotainment system and comes standard on Limited trim levels like ours, along with Bluetooth, USB, and aux-jack connectivity. The $595 Limited Premium package brought power windows and front and rear parking sensors, plus a few minor items. A backup camera is standard across the 2014 Tundra lineup.