Unveiling Toyota’s lineup of full-size Tundra pickups for the 2014 model year, Bill Fay, Toyota Div. group vp & gm, declared “we listened to what the market and customers were telling us when we redesigned the Tundra.”

The redesign represents the first major change to the truck line since the launch of the current generation for the 2007 model year.

Along with “maintaining the capability, reliability and safety that truck buyers demand,” Fay said the 2014 Tundra models will feature “unique exterior designs with a distinct look for each grade,” new, more spacious interiors “with each grade [distinct model] having its own identity,” and “new technological innovations that customers will appreciate every day.”

In his remarks at the Tundra media launch yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show, Fay painted a rosy picture for the domestic full-size pickup market.  “We're optimistic about the future of the full-size pick-up truck market,” he declared.

“The recession hit the segment hard-- probably harder than any other segment-- and there were only 1.1-million units sold in 2009,” Fay pointed out. “But in 2012, with the economy growing in many areas, the segment exceeded 1.6-million units-- and we see it hitting 1.8 million by 2015.”
 
Fay called the full-size truck segment “one of the most loyal in the industry, with owners continually replacing their old trucks with new ones.” However, he noted that currently some owners are “taking the opportunity to change” brands.  “We’ve also seen more segment-switching as people move from SUVs and cars to the unique capabilities and increased comfort of full-size pickups,” he added.

“There’s also a growing trend towards more premium grades [distinct models] with additional features and distinctive styling” being sought out by buyers, Fay said, which he indicated helped inform Toyota’s redesign of the Tundra line.

“Designed, engineered and built in the U.S., the new Tundra has a powerful front image and chiseled overall appearance.” Fay observed. “The new exterior design features a muscular front view that signifies its ‘pulling power” through a wider, taller grille, with ‘forceful’ headlamps that interlock with the rest of the front fascia.  The hood was raised by 1.6 inches to add to the bolder appearance. And the new bed design helps carry the sculpted character lines all the way down the side leading to a new tailgate with integrated spoiler and ‘Tundra’ embossed directly into the sheet metal for a rugged, high-tech look.”

According to Fay, to satisfy the growing number of “premium” pikcup buyers, the Tundra will come in  five distinct “grades,” each of which will be “immediately recognizable” due to such design cues as a different front grille .

He said the Tundra SR grade will remain its entry-level offering and that it is “designed primarily for the work-use buyer who will value its excellent utility on the job. Although work-focused, the SR will include such standard convenience features as Display Audio with integrated Backup Camera as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

The 2014 Tundras will be offered in three cab styles: two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab, and four-door CrewMax—all of which will be available either as 4x2 or 4x4 versions.

“We will continue to offer three engine options,” said Fay, “as our customers have consistently given us postitive feedback on the efficiency, power and durability of Tundra's powertrains, which remain the most capable in the half-ton segment.”

A 4.0-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 will be standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cab models and will produce 270 hp and 278 lb-ft. peak torque. It will be paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic.

The available 4.6-liter DOHC i-Force V8 will offer 310 hp and 327 lb-ft. of peak torque while  the 5.7-liter DOHC i-Force V8 will produce 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. of peak torque, in both gasoline and Flex Fuel variants. Both V8s will come standard with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Fay said all Tundra engines will feature an aluminum cylinder block and DOHC heads, along with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) for a “broad torque curve and optimized efficiency."

He said the truck’s 5.7-liter V8 will allow it to carry more than 2,000 pounds and tow over 10,000 lbs. “Tundra has been compliant with SAE's new towing standard since 2011 and it’s still the only full-size truck in the industry to that has adopted this new standard,” Fay noted.
 
Other key features Fay pointed to include:

  • New front and rear bumper that changes from one to three pieces for lower replacement costs
  • More ergonomic “driver-centric” cab that places center stack 2.6 inches closer for easier access and has a new gauge cluster that is easier to view
  • A trailer-brake controller has been added to the towing package and the 4- and 7- pin trailer connectors have been moved from below the rear bumper up next to the license plate, making  them easier to use and less susceptible to damage
  • New Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert on premium models
  • Toyota’s STAR Safety System with Vehicle Stability Control and Smart Stop Technology
  • Continuing to have the largest front brakes in its truck class and the segment’s only standard “knee” airbags
     

“While we won’t have pricing until closer to the September [2013] launch, “ Fay added, “I think the 2014 Tundra will offer the best overall package in the half-ton segment.”