3rd Place: 2014 Toyota Tundra
When Toyota set out to redesign its current truck, the company spent all of its time on the ride, handling, and style, and not so much on what’s under the hood. The engines and transmissions are carryovers, and much like the Ford their age shows, especially on the fuel economy sheets.
While Toyota claims that its engines are on par with other brands when it comes to sucking down petroleum, our test numbers prove otherwise. The Toyotas continue to use the most fuel of the bunch overall, though the Tundra’s 5.7-liter did edge Ram’s HEMI when driving unloaded. Equipped with the 5.7-liter, the Tundra consistently drinks at least 2 to 3 mpg more than the competition when trailering and hauling.
Other updates to the interior and exterior style of this truck are, however, spot on. The Tundra finally looks and feels as nice as its rivals and the interior updates did away with some of the large blocky plastic found in the old truck. Especially nice is the new 1794 luxury trim, which sources its seats and materials from Lexus, providing a classy interior and easily the most comfortable seats that can be found in any half ton today.
On the outside, many of the rounded edges were squared off to make the Tundra appear bigger, a response to customers claiming that the previous Tundra looked smaller than its competition. The hood was raised, giving the truck a new pronounced snout, adding to its new brawnier appearance.
The redesign brought the Tundra new handling and a softer ride, though this truck still feels like the most rigid in the group. Steering is light, perhaps too light, though highway cruising is easy in this truck and requires little input to ensure the wheels stay in between the lines.
Power wise, there in no denying that the 5.7-liter equipped Tundra is a beast. Paired exclusively with a 4.30:1 rear axle ratio, this truck pulls harder than almost any other truck in the pack, matched in feeling only by GM’s new 6.2-liter V8, though that engine makes almost 60 extra lb-ft of torque.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Toyota Tundra Review – Video
The rigidity of the frame combined with that torque-laden power plant is enough to make the 2014 Tundra haul like a champion, sitting flat as can be in every situation.
Hitching up to this truck is easy, thanks to improvements made for the 2014 model year. The seven and four-pin connectors for the trailer lights have been moved above the bumper, and the lights for the license plate have been spaced further apart to help illuminate the entire area.
Tie downs in the bed are also well placed thanks to Toyota’s moveable tie-down rails. The hooks are located high up in the bed and can be moved to wherever they are needed.
The new Tundra is no-doubt a huge advancement over the previous truck, but the fuel economy shortcomings make it a costly choice when compared to some of the fuel-sipping competition.
1. The Tundra can be had with a 4.0L V6, a 4.6L V8 or a 5.7L V8.
2. The 5.7L V8 is good for 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, and is mated exclusively to a 4:30 rear-end differential.
3. When properly equipped, the Tundra is rated to tow 10,400 lbs. and is the only half-ton pickup to fully conform to the SAE J2807 towing standard.
5. The 5.7-liter Tundra is rated at 13 MPG city and 18 MPG highway.