Just after Toyota had officially announced the 2014 Tundra would be revealed at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, we decided we'd come up with our wish list/predictions for Toyota's new fullsizer. As with our predictions on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, there were a few things we got right and a few we missed.
In the Tundra's case, most of our predictions of "newness" came up short beyond interior and exterior styling changes. Mechanically, the 2014 Tundra is essentially identical to the 2013 model and has the same dimensions, payloads, engines, and towing capacities as its predecessor. Below is our post-reveal scorecard:
Updated Engines/Transmissions: No
The rumor mills were running overtime with guesses about what would be under the hood of the 2014 model, including our own. We'd heard everything from direct-injection across-the-board to even a turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost rival, which we were a little dubious about, considering Tundra chief Mike Sweers' adamant defense of a naturally-aspirated V-8 being a better choice for a fullsize truck. We were also hoping Toyota might step up with an eight-speed transmission to put it back in the hunt with Ford and the other domestics for improved fuel economy. Alas, we were wrong on all fronts. All engines and transmissions are carryover. Maybe in 2016.
Tundra HD: No
Our armchair-trucker dreams went unfulfilled once again. No Hino diesel under the hood or dually rear wheels to satisfy our tough-guy wishes. This prediction was going out on a limb to begin with, so we can't say we're disappointed or surprised.
Improved Capability: No
With the Detroit Three trying to out-do each other in payload and towing capacity seemingly every year, we were expecting Toyota to kick it up a notch with the 2014 Tundra. The maximum-rated towing capacity for the 2014 is exactly the same as it was on the 2013 model, at 10,400 lb. That figure is far from chump change, but it's also far from threatening the F-150's 11,000+ lb maximum capacity.
Improved Materials/Interior Styling: Yes
The 2014 Tundra's interior is a unanimous improvement over the 2013 model, which itself has barely changed since the second-generation truck's debut in 2007. Styling, materials, technology, and user-friendliness all improved, with even the reach of the climate controls being reduced by 2.6 inches. It may not seem like much, but reaching across a fullsize truck's dash makes you appreciate functional improvements.
Full-width Power Rear Window: Still There
As far as we can tell, Toyota wisely didn't touch the vertical power rear window, a segment first and still-exclusive feature. We still don't know why nobody else is doing this, 10 years after Toyota first came out with it.
More Interesting Variants: Sort Of...
What we didn't see were any announcements of bold or unique models in the vein of the Raptor or RamRunner, or even a street-oriented model like the Street Concept shown at the 2006 SEMA Show. Instead, we got the 1794 Edition, a high-trim "heritage" model making a stretch at having some sort of Western cowboy credibility. The number refers to the date in which the ranch on which Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX, the plant which builds the Tundra and Tacoma) sits, was founded. Considering that year pre-dates Japan's official relations with the outside world by more than 50 years, it doesn't quite lend it the same legitimacy as "King Ranch" or even "Laramie Longhorn."
With this refresh, it's anyone's guess when a truly all-new Tundra may be coming. The Nissan Titan is approaching a decade without major changes, but a new model is promised for 2015. While we give Toyota credit for doing far more to the Tundra after seven years than Nissan has done in almost 10, we were hoping for more and bigger changes than we got with the 2014 Tundra. Are you disappointed Toyota didn't do more?