By on July 1, 2015

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It’s been said that with the last Crown Victoria produced, the death of Ford’s Panther platform represented the extinction of the species, American sedanus body-on-framus, the last of the dinosaurs. Keeping in a biological frame of mind, it seems to me that the BOF American sedan didn’t go extinct, but transformed. Its trunk developed into an open cargo bed and those varieties with high ground clearance seem to have been particularly adaptive.

That’s the closest analogy I can come up with to describe how the 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Plantinum drives – it reminds me of the big American cars that were on the road when I got my driver’s license back in the early 1970s, and it should. It has body-on-frame construction, double A arm suspension up front, a live axle on leaf springs in the back, seats as flat as a sofa, and a powerful V8 engine up front, just like those old land yachts of yore. Oh, and it’s big.

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Actually, that comparison somewhat disrespects the Tundra that I drove for a week. Even with the ground clearance of a pickup and the added height of a 4X4 spec’d vehicle, the Tundra handles better than any large American sedan did back in the day. I’m not saying that you should take it autocrossing, just that it goes where you point it in traffic.

Since I was driving a 4X4 pickup essentially unloaded, the fact that the ride wasn’t as smooth as my dad’s 1974 Mercury Marquis Brougham should be expected. Unloaded pickups can tend to have a bit of the bouncy bouncies. Still, it was comfortable and all that suspension travel came in handy driving on Michigan’s terrible roads. You know that you’re going over a bump, but there’s so much there to absorb it that, while you’re aware of the craters, all the crashing is happening so far away and it’s so well dampened to not even be an annoyance.

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The V8 up front is a 5.7 liter engine derived from the UR family quad cam V8 first introduced in the 2006 Lexus LS460. Contrary to some urban legends, no, Toyota didn’t buy up the tooling for the old small block Chevy. The 381 horsepower motor is smooth and powerful, never lacking enough gumption to move into a spot in traffic as long as that spot was large enough.

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To be honest, it took me a day or so of driving the Tundra to get used to its bulk. Because of the vagaries of press fleet scheduling, I went from one of the smallest passenger vehicles sold in North America, a Fiat Abarth, to one of the largest. How large is it? It’s barely able to fit in either a standard shopping center or urban metered parking space; I had about 6 inches to spare at each end in each case. One reason for that is it’s a true four door truck. The back seat is as spacious as anything you’d find in the biggest Lincolns or Cadillacs of the 1960s. There is enough space for three adults with ample leg room, perhaps even more room than in a long wheelbase flagship sedan like a Jaguar XJL or comparable Chinese market Audi A8. Just as one could say the American sedan has grown a trunk and ground clearance, one could say that American pickups have grown back seats. Look around you in traffic. You won’t see many simple two door pickups. Everything is either a club cab or a crew cab.

Speaking of crews, the idea that this Tundra is going to be any kind of actual work truck is dispelled by a glance at the sticker. This is a $50,000 truck and the only way that I can see it showing up on a construction site is if it’s the daily driver of the guy or gal who owns the construction or drilling company, and they ain’t gonna haul around some greasy roughnecks on the nicely quilted leather upholstery.

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Concerning hauling, Toyota has heavily promoted the Tundra’s 10,000 lb. towing capacity. I believe that the owners of such blinged out Tundras will be hauling cargo, but it won’t be burly workers, room for them though there may be. No, a truck like this will use its 401 lb-ft of torque and five tons worth of towing capacity to haul things more valuable than a $50,000 pickup. One horse, let alone an entire horse trailer full of them, can exceed the Tundra’s value, as can a boat. The rest of the time the Tundra CrewMax Platinum will be used as a sedan, and that’s pretty much how I tested it. I had nothing to tow and, at 14.7 mpg over the week, I wasn’t going to drive it almost 200 miles round trip to The Mounds off-road park and back just to try out the 4X4 system.

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Actually, I did get to try that out while trying to avoid a small town parade. Cutting through a parking lot I noticed what I thought was an unfinished apartment building with a driveway leading away from where the traffic was barred, so I put it in four wheel drive and took it over a curb and some vegetation, only to find out that it was an abandoned construction site and that the driveway was fenced in. Still, I got a chance to try out the 4X4, which worked fine. As it’s indeed a 4×4, not an AWD system, it’s for low speed use (and it does have a low range, too) so on pavement you’ll feel the scrubbing.

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On their way to the lake, or the equestrian center, the people who buy a Plantinum trimmed Tundra will have a very comfortable experience. As you’d expect from the price, the truck had all of the latest tech toys except, oddly, no smart key, so there was no keyless entry or push-button starting. The steering wheel does swing up out of the way, the seat goes back when you’re ready to exit and, when you do leave the truck, you’ll be happy for the quite functional running boards. It’s a long way up there. That explains why the front and rear passengers have pillar mounted handles to grab for easier entry. Interestingly, Toyota must figure the driver will use the steering wheel to hoist themselves up to the commanding steering position because there’s no grab handle on that side of the cabin.

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Even though you are sitting very high up, with outstanding visibility, it’s a good thing the Tundra has a parking assist system. While it won’t park the truck for you (and fie on anyone who thinks they deserve a driver’s license if they can’t parallel park), it will warn you when you’re getting close to things as ephemeral as vegetation. That particularly comes in handy because you don’t have a prayer of seeing where the offside front fender really ends. One of those camera-based, bird’s-eye views that Audi gives you would have been nice to have.

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The large touch screen based infotainment system worked as well as Chrysler’s highly praised U-Connect system. My Samsung Android phone worked seamlessly and reliably in both phone and audio modes with the Toyota solution. Navigation was easy to use and never screwed up, and there are enough actual knobs for the things you want to change right now. The climate control system worked flawlessly in summer heat. I particularly like the way the “eyeball” vents on the dash can be aimed wherever you want.

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I like taking 3D photos of historical sites around Detroit but one of my rules (along with avoiding taking photos of ’69 Camaros, ’57 Chevys, and perfectly restored Isetta microcars at car shows) has been to refuse to take any photos of the decrepit Packard plant on the city’s east side. I don’t do ruin porn and if I did, I’d be more creative than shooting that abandoned factory or the empty Michigan Central train station, another favorite of lazy photographers and editors. However, while I had the Tundra, it happened to be the anniversary of the end of Packard production in 1956. Some see the Packard plant as emblematic of the decline of the domestic auto industry and few vehicles represent the strength of Japanese automakers – Japan Inc. taking on Detroit Corp., if you will – than the Toyota Tundra. That’s why I decided to use the well-known overpass where unfinished Packards traveled from one section of the plant to another as a backdrop to my photos for this review.

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The historical reality, of course, is that Japanese and other foreign automakers had nothing to do with Packard’s demise.

Toyota’s first dealership in the U.S. opened up in October of 1957, more than a year after the last true Packards were made in the summer of 1956. To be more precise, while the last true Packards were made in 1956, the brand name and some hideous sheetmetal were slapped on some already funny looking Studebakers following the merger of those two companies.

Toyota and other Japanese brands didn’t really get a foothold in the American market until the late 1960s. Making mostly small cars that got good gas mileage, the Japanese car companies in the U.S. market benefited from the oil crises attending the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the 1979 seizure of American diplomats in Iran. It didn’t hurt that they used some smart engineering, packaging and marketing as with the first generation Honda Accord. As the U.S. automakers seemed to go from making the standards of the automotive world to making unreliable crap in the 1980s, Toyota, Honda and Nissan became preferred brands. Then Toyota dominated everyone with their “fat engineering” Corollas and Camrys in the early 1990s.

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Buoyed by the success of the Camry and Corolla with consumers in the 1990s and flush with cash, by the start of the 21st century, Toyota decided to go after the last remaining bastion of market segment dominance for the domestic car companies: full size pickup trucks.

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Sure, the original Tundra was sort of a 7/8ths scale American pickup, but in 2003, when Toyota announced at the Chicago Auto Show that it was going racing in NASCAR’s truck series, it was clear that Toyota was serious about selling trucks to Americans. Then, in 2006, also at Chicago, Toyota finally introduced a genuinely full sized Tundra that competed on equal footing with GM, Ford and Dodge/Ram. To do so, the Japanese automaker made as American a truck as they could. The Tundra was engineered at Toyota’s billion dollar plus R&D center in Ann Arbor, just west of Detroit, with styling input from Toyota’s Calty facility in California. While the engine was designed in Japan, the block and heads are cast in the U.S. and, like the rest of the truck, it’s assembled here as well. The Tundra is put together at a facility in Texas built with an even larger investment than the design center in A Squared. Not coincidentally, Texas is America’s biggest pickup truck market.

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When they introduced the truly fullsize Tundra about a decade ago, Toyota executives were under no illusions that they were going to get “Ford guys” or “Chevy guys” out of their trucks. Brand loyalty is about as strong as it gets with pickup truck buyers. However, at the time, Toyota made a point of how about 6% of the pickup market does shift from model year to model year based on whoever most recently introduced a redesigned truck. Those buyers tend to be businesses making dollars and cents decisions on fleets and they aren’t swayed by brand loyalty. Toyota was aiming for those buyers, hoping to expand from there. That expansion may be on the horizon. A quick check at goodcarbadcar.net shows that the Tundra’s market share for 2014 was at 5.7%, within hailing distance of that 6% baseline.

Photos by the author. You can see the full gallery here.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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106 Comments on “2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Platinum 4X4 Review...”


  • avatar

    I think the majority of the world will agree with me when I say:

    FORD F-150 instead

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The new Fords are nice trucks but shockingly expensive. This $50,000 (sticker) Tundra is loaded to the gills. $50,000 at Ford is the top end of XLT. Traditionally Ford has had an extra $6-7,000 on the hood to make up for that, before the huge 2015 price hikes that’d make up for it and then some, but less than a year into the changeover it’s not there yet.

      The lower trims are even less competitive. A $39,000 (sticker) crew cab SR5 has all of the fundamentals, power everything, console, 8″ backup camera, A $39,000 Ford has vinyl seats and crank windows and that’s before they get to nickel and diming you on the basic mechanical fundamentals like tow package ($700), reasonable axle ratio ($600), full size gas tank ($400). Matching on interior trim works out to another $5500.

      I shopped all of them this year and ended up buying a Ram but Toyota was a close #2 and if they’d delivered on the 39 gallon tank that they teased for 2014 it would have been #1.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’ve sat in and test driven an SR5 CrewMax, and was actually quite smitten. I don’t have much experience with modern fullsize trucks, but man I’d love to have one. It was rather unwieldy to try and park, and I’m not sure what sort of real world fuel economy I’d see in my driving, but they’re awfully versatile things. On my test drive in a 5.7 over a mixed loop, with my relaxed style of driving, the on-board display was showing an average of 20mpg.

        The only option over the most basic trim that I’d absolutely have to have is the lowering rear window glass.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Dan – About $46K for the Lariat crew 4X4 with HD payload, V8, 3.73s w/E-loc, 6.5′ bed, hard loaded cab and 18″ wheels, class IV, 23 gal tank.

        yahoo.com/autos/research/ford/f-150/2015/4wd-supercrew-157-lariat-with-hd-payload-pkg

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          I just built that truck on the Ford website and came out at $49,500. At that price it doesn’t even have nav, buckets, or a decent stereo (which you can’t have with the HD payload package at any price.) Yahoo is wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      I say this after long deliberations mentally.

      The F-150 just doesn’t do it for me from a styling standpoint. The whole Atlas grill them from bumper to A pillar comes off weak.

      However, it’s a technological tour de force. One that I would never want to own out of warranty.

      I’m gonna get lambasted, but I honestly prefer the look of the Silverado out of all 3 from an exterior standpoint. It just has that classic Chevy look. Can’t wait to see the refresh.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      After driving this, the Titan and the big 3 pickups I would say any of the big 3 would be preferable to this.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I’d bet real money that if someone swapped all the badges between a Silverado and Tundra, you’d love the one with the Chevy bowtie on the wheel.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “it reminds me of the big American cars that were on the road when I got my driver’s license back in the early 1970s”

    It’s good to get reviews from someone who also remembers that.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Another alternative to the Crown Vic are the Tahoe, Durango and Expedition – which if you do it right, will also eat up 50 grand.

    I look at the crew cab Tundra as an urban warrior. The big crew cab trucks, while they are pigs to park in the central city, they are definitely well suited for our increasingly pot holed city streets.

    If you live in area like Florida where the streets are nice and smooth, I’m happy for you. It must be nice.

    • 0 avatar

      The current-gen Durango, unlike the previous models, is a unibody CUV, as opposed to a body on frame vehicle like the Crown Vic/Expedition/Tahoe.

      I do have to admit that it is one of the better looking CUV’s, though, on account of not looking like a generic bubble.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Man, the quilted leather on the dashboard looks tackier than a leaking honey jar. Maybe it’s better in real life without the on-camera flash, but I just have this horrible feeling like we’re about to descend into another brougham-era-style car interior design malaise. Please, let it not be so!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Quilted leather, it’s the new button tufted velour!

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        Yeah. This is what worries me. I have this nightmare that I’ll finally sell my business and be able to buy a nice car, but then I’ll go to the dealer and they’ll all look like high-end brothels on the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      Nellakwah

      Agreed. I would think it looks better in person (hopefully not so vinyl-looking), but in photos it reminds me of when Samsung was putting the fake leather and stitching on their phones in an attempt to class them up.

    • 0 avatar
      EvilEdHarris

      I own a 2014 Tundra Platinum and I can assure you that the interior photos in this article do not come out well at all. The quilted leather actually comes across well and not tacky at all in real life.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      FWIW, while in favor of some general seat quilting in the Bentley tradition, I do not agree with it on door panels or dash. This will look dated like 90’s “cool” tape stripes in about five years.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Makes me look for the fake purse badges around the interior like a Donk. The seats look like someone has cut out the bottom of a knock off purse and slid it over the top of the seats.

      I guess if their target market is the wanabe upscale female buyer they hit their mark.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I was kind of put off on the weird quilted leather too. I don’t like the looks of the Tundra at all, to be honest about it. If it came to looks only, IMHO, the Ram totally rules and, by a small margin, I like it as a driver better over all the other ones. But the F-150 is fine too, and I like the looks of it well enough that it wouldn’t annoy me after a couple of years. It has to be a decent bright color though, any of these in silver/white/brown, etc, is just boring to look at, even the Ram. I see dozens of Rams and F150’s daily here, and bright red looks great on both, with yellow, candy apple red (Popular on Rams) and bright blue close behind. I would probably be driving a 4×4 Ram now, but my bad knees make that too risky, so it’s cars for me.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      After driving this, the titan and the big 3 pickups I would say any opf the big 3 would be preferable to this.

      It’s even tacky in real life too!

  • avatar
    mikedt

    “Look around you in traffic. You won’t see many simple two door pickups. Everything is either a club cab or a crew cab.”

    I’ve been pricing trucks recently and therefore have their prices fresh in my mind as I sit in traffic. And I notice a lot of 40 grand-plus trucks all around me and for the life of me I don’t understand where people get the money for the monthly payments or the fuel bill. I have a pretty good paying job and the monthly nut on a vehicle like that makes me nauseous. If the highways were full of BMW 5-series people would wonder where the money is coming from but somehow since it’s mega-buck trucks it seems normal?

    • 0 avatar

      The cost of entry and enormity of the fuel bill – though, realistically, not much worse than say an AWD Murano or Edge – is justified by the fact that cree cab pickups can serve as your ONLY vehicle without much compromise if any.

      • 0 avatar

        Theres also a lot of cash on the hood at least here in CT. True car seems to show most 40k trucks at around 33-35k. Plus lease deals. Here in CT using them as a family hauler isn;t that common unless you tow a camper on the weekends so most new ones are sold to contractors etc (even the loaded ones) my friend who owns a small excavating company has a king ranch f250.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The “40 grand truck” gets you all the basics. 4X4, crew cab, leather. But that’s about 30 grand after rebates. And that’s where the 3-series BMWs start. Vinyl seats, CDmp3 and 16″ wheels.

      The trucks could be leases too, but who says they have a long commute just because you do?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Only comparable looking at purchase price alone and even there the 5 series is just getting started (with a 4 cylinder poverty motor and vinyl seats!) where a loaded half ton tops out. Depreciation, insurance, and service for anyone masochistic enough to keep a BMW outside of the free service and/or lease period aren’t even close.

      Edmunds’ TCO tool estimates the entry trim 528i at $14,500 a year and a High Country / Longhorn / King Ranch truck at $11-12,000. The LTs and Big Horns that you’re actually seeing are more like $9,000 flat.

      Really makes you wonder about the suckers buying BMWs.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Without bothering to look at how Edmunds breaks it down, my guess is the depreciation kills the BMW. Depreciation on luxury cars is extreme, while pickups hold their value better than just about any non-classic except maybe a Wrangler. There is always someone who can put a pickup to work and make some money with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      You must live in Alberta too. Never mind the cost of the loaded 1-ton 4×4 crew-cab, they also all have about $40K worth of lift-kits, wheels, racks, bars, lights and audio on them. I look like everyone’s poor cousin in my Lexus.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Many of its design features are practically, ahem, inspired by Ford. Add a shell to the back and you have a Mercury Navigator, down to the wheels.
    So Toyota now makes an powerful, gas-guzzling, overweight, oversized and overpriced American vehicle… they have learned, y’all.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    “…there’s no grab handle on that side of the cabin.”
    Do any trucks have driver’s side grab handles?

    Answer is yes apparently. After a brief excursion outside both our F250 and Chevy 2500s have them on the A pillar. Never noticed them…

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      My Tacoma has one. Wonder why they skipped it on the Tundra?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My F150 Heritage has one on the driver side and passenger side.

        Heck I think my Highlander has one for the driver, one for the passenger, and one for each passenger above the rear doors. My wife recently sat in the 3rd row and commented that there were no “Oh Sh*#!” handles in the 3rd row – I told her: “Well hopefully you wouldn’t be doing silly off road stunts with 7 people in the vehicle.”

  • avatar
    NN

    14.7mpg is awful. Consequently, in my test of the 2015 Silverado (https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-chevrolet-silverado-2wd-lt-crew-cab-reader-review/) I got 18.5 in 90% suburban/exurban driving. My Malibu 4cyl gets 23-24 on the same cycle, indicating it’s largely “city”. The Silverado 5.3 gets great real-world mileage, and I could see myself driving something that gets 18+ as a family sedan, but not something that gets 14; there seems to be a threshold of acceptability somewhere in between there.

    Over an ownership cycle of 100k miles @ $2.50/gallon, a 25% real world mpg improvement is about 1400 gallons of gas or $3500. That’s a big difference. However, despite those who claim that Toyota is worse than it was in the 90’s and the domestics are better, Toyota’s still break much, much less than any other brand. That’s an anecdotal statement but there’s plenty of facts to back it up (Consumer Reports, True Delta, etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      So, about $30 a month depending on your driving habits. Nothing to sneeze at, but not enough to keep me from buying a vehicle I like better. Our 2005 Yukon’s (5.3 V8) fuel economy was just as the sticker indicated: 14/18. It’d tickle 20 on a long 60 mph stretch, with a tailwind… Of course that was the old 4-speed auto, maybe the 6 really is better. At any rate, I still think reliability and residual value are worth a few mpg in a big family hauler, for which you are paying $50K+.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What makes you think your experience with a 2WD pickup under dissimilar driving conditions can be directly compared to this test of a 4WD? Even the EPA tests aren’t the final word:

      This Tundra is rated at 13/17 mpg city/highway.
      The 5.3 Silverado 4WD 17/22.

      That’s a huge difference on paper, but Motortrend runs a controlled fuel economy test in which the Silverado returned 13/19 and the Tundra 14/19.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The ultimate Tundra would have the ISV Cummins slotted in, to make it a real truck. Then add coils on the assend with greater load capacity and comfort would produce one of the best full size pickups in the US.

    I do not mind the look of the vehicle overall. The only part of the ute that requires a redesign is the overly stupid large grille.

    But, like with my BT50, a bull bar and driving lights can conceal most of the little dick design. The Amarok and the US Colorado so far have managed to produce a decent looking front end.

    The interior requires someone with some design skill as well, the interior is quite disturbing. Driving this vehicle would require a person to wear a shinny leather vest adorned with chrome exposing a hairy chest and a shinny leather cap.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      We don’t romanticize diesels here. The extra power is nice, and so is the big rig, “rat-rat-rat-rat…” sounds, but not worth the added expense and headache. Especially not in light duty pickups where gas V8s are the perfect match. Overkill in most cases.

      Pickup trucks aren’t pretty. They’re not meant to be. But the Colorado and BT50 don’t look special.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Supposedly Toyota was going to add the same Cummins 5.0 L turbo diesel that Nissan is using in the new Titan, but their engineers found it too unrefined to meet their standards in testing.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I am another guy who will never understand why anyone would want to be mistaken for the bread van or the UPS guy driving up…no diesel for me, thank you.

      I got a ride home from the Chevy dealer the other day when I left my truck there overnight. The truck was a 4-door long-box new Chevy, so long that the guy had to back and fill to turn around in our culdesac. My wife and the neighbor lady hadn’t noticed this, sitting on the neighbor’s lawn. When I walked up they thought I’d come from the house. Couldn’t have happened if the truck had been a diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The only truck task big diesels are better for, is steady state, heavy towing. The Ram Cummins is unusually wonderful, but mainly due to having a real gearbox, rather than the slushbucket other fullsizers over here make do with.

      Small diesels are nice for long range expedition use, as they can get out of sight of the gas station before having to turn around for a refill. But small and diesel means 15+ to 60, which require a bigger something else than what the most vocal pickup buying groups tend to be hauling.

      ‘Yota already sell a V8 diesel in your neck of the woods. Add some cooling capacity and emissions tweaks, and it shouldn’t be to far off the Cummins as far as truck utility goes. I doubt the volume would be there in the US to justify every dealership getting diesel service equipped and trained, however; unless Toyota gets serious about the HD market and introduce 3/4 and 1 tons. Including duallies, which is where diesels really start to shine.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        stuki,
        I agree with you on your overall view regarding diesels, except there are a few things you should know.

        The 4.5 Toyota V8 diesel is great, but somewhat underpowered for its capacity in comparison to current and not so current diesels.

        My 5 cylinder, 3.2 Duratorq in my pickup has very similar power and torque as the Toyo 4.5 and does a 0-60 in about 10 seconds. Not blistering, but sufficient for city driving.

        As for my FE on the highway it will give a tad over 32mpg (US). Off road the FE is over twice a V8 US full size. The vehicle was a F-150.

        It will tow as well as the average US half ton and carry lots more weight in the bed. When I lived in the NT Outback I did use it for expeditionary style use. I even have the suspension completely changed with ARB Old Man Emu gear. Seems to work quite well.

  • avatar
    Andy

    Roll-down rear window FTW!

    The Tundra seems a little dated, and the fuel economy sucks, but there is something (a lot, actually) to be said for reliability. According to my Toyota dealer, Tundra has the highest residual value of any full size truck (and Tacoma is best residual of any vehicle period). I haven’t fact-checked that, but I did browse the listings for used Toyota pickups, and couldn’t find anything without a million miles that wasn’t dang near as expensive as the brand new ones. And they sure don’t have money on the hood of either truck. Guys here love that little “made in Texas” sticker.

    The Taco was enough truck for me now, but as my boys grow, and the Tundra gets an update, I may go bigger on the next one.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I don’t know where the Taco falls (resale wise) but I’m sure it’s pretty high. I know Jeeps, particularly the Wrangler have a high resale value and Acura, as a brand, maintains value better than any other marque.

      I sat in a Tundra Crew Max at the local auto show and I’d categorize the cab as cavernous. There’s leg stretchin’ space a plenty but there’s also a lot of head and shoulder room.

      I really like the Tundra, though I think it looks best in TRD Pro trim. And like you said, roll down window FTW! Now only if they’d let you option a moonroof with the TRD Pro package.

      • 0 avatar
        Andy

        http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/best-resale-value-awards/best-resale-top-10-cars/

        1) Tacoma
        2) Wrangler
        3) Tundra
        4) Colorado (huh? It’s brand new, this is just a prognostication)
        5) Canyon (ditto)
        6) Sierra
        7) Silverado
        8) 4Runner
        9) F-150
        10) CR-V

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          Toyota 4 Runner resale story: last summer my wife hit a deer. We were both on the phone with the insurance claims rep after the body shop submitted the bid. “I know you love this vehicle but it’s a 1997 with 255,000 miles…[clicky keyboard sounds]…um, um, um, no airbag deployment means the repair is approved. People must like 4Runners on the west coast, because the book value is insane.”

          • 0 avatar
            azmtbkr81

            4runners of your vintage would easily fetch $10k when I lived in Denver a few years ago. 10 year old models with over 100k miles were in the very high teens. I don’t imagine that’s changed much. One could make a very lucrative business of importing 4runners from states where the resale values are somewhat sane.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I happily jumped at the chance to pay $6300 for my ’96 Limited 2 years ago. Seems steep until you see what people generally ask for a clean rear diff-lock equipped 3rd gen with less than 150k miles, all of a sudden it’s a steal.

        • 0 avatar
          RedStapler

          The higher trim levels of the 04-12 of Colorado/Canyon seem to hold their value, I wonder if they are projecting residuals based on them.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “Resale” means little if you don’t want to sell. Means even less if you get $6,000 more in “Resale Value”, but paid $10,000 more upfront.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      According to a Toyota dealer, the Tundra is the best? You don’t say! Take anything any dealer says with a boulder of salt.

      Funny a cursory scan of autotrader shows me several lightly used Tundras about $10k – $12k cheaper than MSRP.

      The Tundra is more than a little dated. Before buying my Silverado I drove all four big trucks (lol at Nissan’s “truck”). Versus GM and Ford the Toyota 5.7L delivers the performance of the mid-level engine (5.3L or 2.7TT) with worse fuel economy than the top engine (6.2L or 3.5TT). The suspension manages to both ride like hell and handle poorly. It’s a couple hundred pounds overweight versus GM and Ford (though lighter than a portly Ram). And perhaps worst of all, its loud as hell and I don’t mean the engine. The Silverado and F150 feel like Mercedes sedans inside, they’re vault quiet. In comparison the Tundra is more like a 20 year old Honda. I will give Toyota this though; like GM, their engine delivers its rated performance and economy with 87 octane fuel, Ram and Ford demand higher grade stuff.

      As for resale; the 5 year cost to own is higher than a GM or Ford with similar equipment. Depreciation between the three brands is a wash if taken from MSRP; if incentives are taken into account; you get better resale value with a Ford or GM.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        My thoughts exactly!

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/best-resale-value-awards/best-resale-full-size-pickup-truck/

        https://www.alg.com/residual-value-awards/#ac2014c

        So the Toyota dealer didn’t fabricate it out of thin air. And yes, I’m sure the suitcase full of cash sitting on the hoods of the domestics changes this and the 5-year ownership costs.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m a Toyota fan, but why can’t they ever seem to make a good looking truck? Their full sized models have looked so strange and ungainly since they entered that market. The Big 3 never have really struggled with making good-looking full sized trucks for the last 20 years, at least in my opinion, but Toyota’s look so out of place and odd.

    Most people that buy them do so because they just don’t trust Big 3 quality, I don’t think there’s much emotional appeal.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I do not doubt this is a very nice truck, and the interior (rhombus design seats notwithstanding) is quite attractive. But I thing Toyota’s major failure with these trucks is their exterior styling. They simply do not look as good as the Ram, F-Series, and the GMC/Chevy twins. I think Nissan has done a better job with their upcoming large pickup of capturing the “American pickup truck” look than Toyota has.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      If by “capturing the American pickup truck look”, you mean “blatant rip-off of the last-gen F-150″… yep. Nailed it.
      :)

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        True. It is a smorgasbord of the F-150 and the Ram, but at least in photos it looks to me as something that would better appeal to the typical pickup truck buyer than the current Tundra, don’t you think?

        • 0 avatar
          Andy

          It’s innocuous. Maybe looks better in person. The Tundra is a little overdone, for sure. I won’t pretend that truck buyers don’t care about looks, but it’s probably less important in this category than it is in sporty cars. And truck buyers tend to personalize with accessories. I’ve seen some pretty mean looking Tundras, tastefully modded.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I like the way the Tundra looks. Not really a fan of the Chevys or the Fords but do like GMC.

      The RAMs look great and I really like the new Rebel. Yes, it has some unfortunate styling elements (tail gate) but when weighing pros and cons, the pros win.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        ” Yes, it has some unfortunate styling elements (tail gate) but when weighing pros and cons, the pros win.”

        The nice thing about that is the tailgate and grille swaps out. I like that truck aside from those elements.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “Barely able” to fit in a parking space in Detroit means “not able” to fit in parking spaces in denser cities. Fortunately, Toyota is finally giving us a new Tacoma for those of us who sometimes park in places other than a Wal-Mart parking lot.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I really like this truck on paper and I really liked the previous generation. However, after driving it’s stablemate the Sequoia back to back with a Yukon Denali, I have to say the Denali was a better vehicle. I don’t know if the Tundra/Sequoia share brakes, but the Sequoia I drove had the touchiest brakes in the world. If I so much as looked at the brake pedal wrong, the whole car would violently convulse.

    That being said: The Tundra used to be considered “Too Expensive”. Not so much anymore. A fully loaded F150 is $60k. A Sierra Denali is the same.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Pull a trailer a lot with my 4Runner. Get 18mpg in mixed driving with trailer. About 22 straight highway without. Have had other SUVs that did better. I guess if I owned a bigger truck I would lose some versatility (not with a four door) but, generally speaking, would spend more on gas.

    Honestly, I cannot see myself using something that big. 14.7 is a complete turnoff and steering the titanic is another thing to avoid. Have driven large school buses and trucks so I can but don’t want to. Drove a Nissan Hardbody (reg cab) from 2002 to 2010, a (regular cab) S10 from 2010 to 2013. The genre disappeared without me noticing till too late. Feel like I’m Rip Van Winkle and just woke up.

    If I could go back in time I would buy the last pre-tacoma or pre-frontier king cab that was available. I doubt if I will ever have another full size truck and doubt if most people need one. Unless you are a contractor, an SUV and a trailer for those times you need a bed should do the job and allow you to haul grandkids and pets. You can even buy utility trailers that fold up and lean against a garage wall.

    Now I realize that this may cause a fecal event to spontaneously erupt and sorry for that. Don’t normally resist change but don’t care for a lot I see in the automotive market.

    Rant over. Good review on a vehicle I don’t see myself ever buying. Nice to be able to live vicariously through your article Ronnie.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’d say that most people buy more vehicle than they need. Do singles or couples really need more than a Civic or Elantra? Do families with one or two children need more than an Accord or CR-V?

      And nobody needs a:

      1.luxury car
      2.performance car
      3.sports car
      4.liter bike
      5.swimming pool
      6.pair of 38DDs
      7.various and sundry other items to include but not limited to houses, boats, airplanes, watches, clothes, food etc.

      But they sure are nice to have (especially number six…and four and seven and three and five).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You’ll need a performance car if you’re going to lug around tetas gigantes that heavy.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Also, our current economy depends -entirely- on people purchasing more than they need.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        hubcap,
        I wish I could agree with you. I currently am driving an Opel Corsa rental.

        I wish I could write a review on the vehicle as I will be driving it for two weeks under varied conditions.

        Overall, it is the worst vehicle I have driven since the 80s. Avis should be ashamed of themselves for purchasing such a terribly designed vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          Judging by some of the rental cars I’ve had over the decades, the car rental companies seem to purposely pick terrible cars over good ones. I have noticed a definite upgrade in the last half dozen or so cars I’ve had versus the past ones. Recent ones have included:

          1. Jeep Cherokee, best rental ever, hands down. I had no complaints at all. 3.6 was a lot of fun.
          2. Chevy Cruse, turbo was fun, liked it, but too small for gorilla like me.
          3. Ford Mustang. Base car, auto and A/C was about it, but not bad. I guess the only thing I really hated on it was the horrible looking steering wheel. Useless trunk.
          4. Jeep Patriot. Too small, and CVT was just weird, but it was better than many of the past ones.
          5. Chevy Camaro. V6, drove fine, but lack of headroom and uglyness inside and out was a turnoff. Useless trunk.

          Any of the above are light years better than the many Mitsu Galants I’ve had, one for almost a month!

  • avatar
    Joss

    How was the tranny Ronnie? You don’t mention it so I’ll assume fine. If Toy does diesel don’t shift like a Bluetec.

    I’d like to see drums the available option for passenger rather than the norm but in this sector you can understand it for payload.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Is it just a lens artifact or is that firewall-bumper distance the least of all the full-sizers? Looks kind of Ridgeline-y.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Why do I think one former reader and huge, I mean huge, Tundra fan is foaming at the mouth, writhing in ecstasy, rubbing himself, and having conniptions over this review. Why if Toyota made water it would never need filtered, flavored, or boiled. According to some.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ronnie how do you feel about the styling? I didn’t see any styling commentary!

    I personally don’t like it – the grille reminds me of one of those plankton strainer whales.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota’s take on a big, bold American pickup truck. I don’t find it offensive but then I also don’t think it will compete with the Miura for most beautiful vehicle of all time.

      Of the current pickups, I think I like the styling of the Ram best. It will be interesting to see what GM does when they refresh the Silverado/Sierra twins.

      In general, as someone who isn’t tall, I’m not fond of how tall the bed walls on modern pickups are. There was a time when you could lean over the side of a pickup truck bed.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks.

        My dad (as someone who actually uses his truck bed) complains of bed height as well. And that he can’t find single cab, long bed trucks used any more. He searched quite a while for a Ram 1500 (ended up with an 04) which was not bright red. Seems the long bed single cabs are usually red.

        I think right now, I like the GMC the best, as it gets rid of the horribly overworked Chevy grille. The Ram is second, unless they’re going to start using that bullnose grille on all of them, then it drops to last.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Ronnie,
        Ram has a Korean inspired front grille and hood line from Ssyang Yong and you consider this attractive?

        That new front grille came straight off a Chinese designed residential air con unit.

        Boy, I thought you had taste.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    I see a fair number of these in southeastern Wisc. Usually they are barreling down the interstate at 80 MPH, weaving back and forth across lanes. When I see a huge chrome Tundra grille in my rearview mirror, I scoot over one lane to the right in a hurry coz these Tundra drivers tend to be rather aggressive on average, even compared to F-Series and Silverado drivers – who are also similarly aggressive behind the wheel.

    Styling-wise, I think the Silverado looks best to my eyes, but these Tundras sure do have a bold and weighty presence.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      There is a subset of full-size truck drivers who buy the trucks because they are perceived as the most masculine vehicles it’s possible to buy. Those guys tend to also feel it’s “tough” to try to intimidate everyone in traffic. (Too bad about the effect they have on insurance rates for normal people who drive pickups.)

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I’ve never seen even a 6.5′ bed/crew cab 1/2 ton as a big vehicle out in the country. Not when parked next to it is a jacked-up F-250, a one-ton dually crew cab, or a tractor.

    It’s all relative, though. In an urban environment, surrounded by Alticamrycords and compact CUVs, yeah, they do look a little swole.

  • avatar

    Unlike pretty much every other Toyota for sale in the States, I really don’t see why you’d buy a new Tundra (and don’t even get me started on the Titan, which is older than Methuselah). The domestic competition is stronger than ever, especially that new F-150, and the quality delta between a domestic truck and a Japanese one just isn’t *there* in the same way that you could comfortably say an Accord or Camry is a safer bet than a Fusion or Malibu. Except for some rare bad apples, like Fords with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke, pretty much everyone’s truck will make it to several-hundred thousand miles with proper maintenance and care.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “The domestic competition is stronger than ever, especially that new F-150, and the quality delta between a domestic truck and a Japanese one just isn’t *there* Except for some rare bad apples, like Fords with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke, pretty much everyone’s truck will make it to several-hundred thousand miles with proper maintenance and care.”

      Spend some time with a mechanic out in the sticks (preferably salt country with broken up roads) and you will very quickly see some patterns. Dodges seem to forever suffer from weak front ends, doesn’t matter if it’s a half ton, 3/4, or one ton, 5 years into ownership and it seems like half the truck has been rebuilt with Moog parts. A litany of other random things like hemis breaking exhaust manifold studs. GM brake lines are all shot to hell within 5 years or so. Everyone seems to have wheel bearing/hub problems. Don’t know enough about Tundras to comment on what sort of symptomatic issues they have, but everyone knows about the older Tacomas’ frame rust. “Proper maintenance and care” doesn’t even begin to cover it, not in the Northeast anyways.

  • avatar
    mcgiv33

    I have a 2014 Tundra Double cab with the 5.7 V8. I have seen/read constant comments regarding it not matching up with the ‘American’ built pickups; but frankly I don’t understand it. This is a solid truck. Most comments seem to be preferential, not that it can’t compete or has cheaper features, etc. If anything I continue to read about reliability problems on the domestics that with the Toyota trucks I’ve owned I have not seen. Maybe I’m missing something, but would love a comparison test done on here with the Tundra vs the domestics. I just don’t think they are leagues above the Tundra like the articles/commenters would suggest. But maybe its more ‘I’m a Ford guy or a Chevy or Dodge guy through hell or high water thing….’

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It’s already been done:

      http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2015/01/2015-light-duty-v-8-challenge-overview.html

      The Toyota that was sent was:

      Slower to 60; loaded or unloaded.
      Worst Fuel economy; loaded or unloaded.
      Worst Braking Distance: Loaded.

      Toyota has also failed to update with at least a Trailer Brake Controller for towing. Toyota can beat their chest on how much it can tow, but failing to provide an integrated brake controller and a tow mirror option really show on how out of touch they are.

      Has Toyota fixed the tailgates of the new trucks? You couldn’t put anything heavy on it because it would collapse; Toyota considered it a “door”.

      I don’t mind the exterior of the Tundra, but the interior is still a mess. The plastics look cheaper than the Ram and F150 and I found the knobs and secondary controls felt cheap as well. Honestly the felt just like the latest Expedition that I had a rental. Just a mid cycle upgrade to address some issues, but can’t fix everything on that budget.

      I will say that they will probably be extremely reliable. One of my co-workers has a Silverado that has a completely screwed up electrical system, I’ve known a few people with F-150 problems (including EcoBoost), and I lived my own Chrysler style nightmares.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Pickup trucks get more and more absurd looking every year.

    The old malaise era tanks from the 1970s may have looked like rolling Gothic cathedrals with their opera windows, buttresses and vacuum actuated headlamp covers, but at least they had class.

  • avatar
    TopJimmy5150

    Got my red 2015 Tundra Crewmax SR5 three months ago. Tows my RV great and has lots of room for the family and our stuff on camping trips. I can squeak well over 20mpg with it if I stay out of town, and around 12 towing. I considered a Ram Sport, but ultimately I have learned from my bad experiences with the big three and will not buy their products again.

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