In nearly every segment that Toyota has entered in the U.S., its vehicles have sold very well. I have to qualify with “nearly,” though, because the Tundra full-size pickup does not sell in nearly the volumes Toyota hoped that it would. When the current-generation Tundra debuted for the 2007 model year, Toyota had two plants to produce it, with capacity of up to 400,000 units annually. In 2012, the Tundra sold just over 100,000. Back to the drawing board!
Toyota has immense financial and engineering resources that it can bring to bear on any problem. The company isn’t going to just give up on full-size trucks when there are enormous profits out there for the taking, so it’s done a pretty comprehensive mid-cycle enhancement of the Tundra for the 2014 model year.
The changes are mainly cosmetic on the outside; the hard points such as windows, doors, and cab are identical to the 2007 to 2013 model-year trucks, but the hood, front fenders, bumper, and grille are all-new. Where the old Tundra had an arch-shaped frowning face, the new one is squared off – and quite a bit larger than before. Between the gaping maws on Fords and Chevrolets, and now the 2014 Tundra, the grille-size pissing match seems like it can’t go on much longer before the entire front of the truck is nothing but grille. As Michael Karesh, owner of TrueDelta.com said, once hemlines can’t go any higher, they start to go down.
Inside, the interior was upgraded with improved seats, a new dash, and improved materials. The former long reach to radio and climate controls has been shortened by 2.6 inches, but large knobs have been retained to allow gloves-on operation. There’s also a new “1794 edition,” which is basically a knockoff of Ford’s King Ranch trim level at the top of the Tundra hierarchy. “1794” refers to the date that a ranch was founded in San Antonio, on the site of where the Tundra is now built.
Powertrains are carryover, with a 4.0 liter V6 as the base engine (270 HP/278 lb-ft), with a 4.6 liter V8 (310 HP/327 lb-ft) and 5.7 liter V8 (381 HP/401 lb-ft) as the optional choices. All engines are connected to 6-speed automatic transmissions.
The revised Tundra will reach dealers in September 2013.