Seat Time: 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4×4

March 19th, 2014 at 11:57am

2014_Toyota_Tundra_LTD_009

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Manufacturer: Toyota
Make: Toyota
Model: Tundra CrewMax 4×4
Model Range: 4-door, full-size pickup
Competitors: RAM 1500 SLT 4×4 Quad Cab, GMC Sierra 1500 4×4 Crew Cab, Chevy Silverado 1WT 4×4, Ford F-150 4×4 SuperCrew Cab; Nissan Titan S 4×4 Crew Cab
Trim Levels: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition
Price Range: $36,375 Base; $39,214 As Tested
Made in: San Antonio, TX
Drivetrain: 5.7L I-FORCE V8, E85 flex fuel; 381hp, 401 lb-ft; 6-speed automatic transmission w/ sequential shift
EPA Ratings: 13 city/17 hwy/15 combined

Read on for Chip Drake‘s final impressions of this vehicle

Notable Features:

  • 2014_Toyota_Tundra_LTD_012New exterior design — less rounded, more boxy
  • New interiors with upgraded materials
  • Entune Audio Plus
  • 18-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels
  • Running boards (optional but necessary)

Final Impression:
As a “gentleman” pickup truck driver, when I first got into the Tundra, I thought it was a bit overkill for a guy like me with features like its titanic center console, part-time four-wheel drive, the flex fuel V8 and front suspension with stabilizer bar/multi-leaf rear suspension. And granted, for the most part of my seven days in the vehicle, I simply enjoyed the creature comforts of a terrifically-engineered light duty truck. The rear back-up camera made it a breeze to avoid knocking down the mailbox once again; the 7-inch high-resolution touch screen was indeed touchy, allowing me to change stations with Eskimo-like gloves on; and there’s so much room in the truck it could double for the Toyota Green Room on CBS This Morning. But then the snow hit…

Five days into my dalliance with the Tundra, everything got serious. As a late March storm dumped 8 inches of ice and snow on Detroit, I found myself employing all those “overkill” features that I had ignored early on and thanking the folks at Toyota that I had them. They allowed me to not only climb down and out of a valley, leaving Cadillacs, Fords and Kias jealous as I passed them sliding on the side of the road, while later that day the suspension — those wonderful front and rear suspensions — got me through a mine field of snow and ice moguls on one of suburban Detroit’s dirt roads that I was forced to take.

Now, despite the two previous paragraphs of praise, I did have a few issues with the truck including the annoying column shifter that never seemed to go directly into Reverse without a visit to Neutral first and needing a skilled Sherpa to get me over that gargantuan center console. However, all in all, the vehicle’s positives far, far outweighed any negatives I discovered during the week.

So a $40,000 pickup may not be for everyone, obviously, but I can tell you at least 12 other drivers who wished they had had my rig on that snowy Detroit day, and may in fact be considering one now. Toyota just hopes they remembered its logo as it passed them on the side of the road.

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