Day 4: Churchill Falls to Goose Bay - Fighting Bad Fuel economy
Read the first installment of our adventure in the Toyota Tundra here.
At this point, we had made it far enough into the reaches of Northern Canada that our hotel had signs posted saying “please don’t clean game in your room.”
To recap, we spent the previous leg of our trip outside cell service. It returned as we pulled in to the hotel and not long after, the phone rang. The call we received told us that the ferry we had booked to take us from Labrador to the Island of Newfoundland – our only access to an airport – had been cancelled. The water was frozen and the ice breaker necessary for the ferry to operate wasn’t available.
At this point, we knew that we had to drive home rather than flying as planned. This doubled the drive distance and added days to the trip that weren’t in the original plan, raising new problems. Our team was on a deadline to return in time for the New York Auto Show. Extra days simply weren’t an option, so we decided to make it as far as Goose Bay – about 75 percent of the way down the Trans-Labrador highway – before turning around and driving all the way back.
This leg stretches 179 miles, which proved to be too far for the 2014 Tundra to travel with the trailer hooked up without re-fuelling. Gas stations are scarce in that part of the world, so we fell back on an emergency jerry can in the trailer.
That brings us to one of the weakest points of the truck: fuel economy. It is worth mentioning that the old truck turned out to have the same fuel consumption as the 2014 model with or without the trailer. While towing, they averaged between seven and nine MPG. No wonder we ran out.
Unbridled, the trucks saw between 14 and 16 MPG, a number that puts Toyota’s V8 on-par with Ram’s HEMI V8. For reference, the EPA pegs the trucks at 13 mpg in the city, 17 on the highway and 15 mpg combined.
Fuel tank size is also on the bottom of the heap at 26.4 gallons. Ford offers the largest tank at 36 gallons, while Ram will sell a 1500 with a 32-gallon tank. Chevy, like Toyota, only offers a single 26-gallon belly for fuel.