Toyota's latest effort is the reworked 2014 Tundra, which benefits from suspension tweaks, styling revisions, and a nifty new interior.
The new Tundra is a good looker, sporting the macho heft that has become obligatory in the land of the large pickups. It has big wheels, big tires, and a rectangular grille huge enough to be worthy of a Peterbilt.
The upmarket Limited model I tested (base price $41,895) received a masculinity booster shot in the form of a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) off-road package. This included TRD off-road alloy wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers, protective engine and fuel-tank skid plates, and big decals for each side of the cargo bed that read: TRD 4x4 OFF ROAD.
The designers did a nice job on the interior, which exuded manly chunkiness and provided a lot of room, comfort, and storage. The center-console storage cavity was big - if it isn't as large as the spare room beneath the Chevy Silverado console lid, it's awfully close. I fell into the one in the Tundra and had to be rescued by firemen. (Just kidding.)
The crew-cab Tundra I drove boasted good visibility and generous rear-seat legroom. The seats were comfortable, and the instruments and controls were aptly situated except for the radio tuning knob. Reaching it was a stretch for this driver, and I have a 6-4 wingspan.
My only other interior quibble was the amount of hard plastic in a vehicle costing more than $40,000.
The Tundra proved a nice driver. It handled well, afforded good steering response for a big guy, and stopped in a hurry.
And boy did it go. While you can get a Tundra with a 3.7-liter V-6 or a 4.6-liter V-8, the tester was powered by Toyota's beasty boy - a 5.7-liter V-8 that develops 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.
That kind of guts takes the Tundra from 0 to 60 in about 6.5 seconds, which is jalapeño hot for a 5,000-pound Clydesdale that can tow almost five tons. It actually feels even faster than that when you get on it from a standing start. And the engine note that accompanies that acceleration is boy-racer heaven.
Is there a trade-off for all that fun? Of course. The 5.7-liter Tundra recites gas mileage scripture found only in the Book of Slurp: EPAs of 13 city and 17 highway.
The Tundra test truck proved comfortable as well as spirited. It rode well and kept the noise down. High-speed driving produced a modicum of wind noise from the side mirrors, and that was about it.
With the help of the off-road package, the tester also acquitted itself well when it was on a trail of moderate difficulty. The Tundra also felt solid enough, despite the fact that it uses channel-style frame side rails instead of the stronger box members employed by the domestics.
2014 Toyota Tundra LIMITED 4X4
Base price: $41,895.
As tested: $44,429.
Standard Equipment: 5.7- liter engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, and an extensive safety array ranging from stability and traction control to rear camera, a comprehensive trailering package, and an amenities litany ranging from leather to a power rear window.
Options: Include front and rear parking sonars, an off-road package, running boards, and a liner for the 5.5-foot cargo bed.
Fuel economy: 13 city and 17 highway (regular fuel).
Engine power: Top drawer.
Ride comfort: Very good.
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 bumper to bumper.
The Ben key: four Bens, excellent; three Bens, good; two Bens, fair; one Ben, poor.