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    Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax


    • Where Does Toyota's Full-Size Truck Contender Stand?


    At one time, Toyota had a real shot of toppling the big three in full-size truck sales. When the second-generation Tundra arrived on dealer lots in 2007, Toyota had a huge marketing campaign for it; complete with commercials and magazine ads. People took notice of this and the automaker moved 196,555 units that year. While that still lagged behind the stalwarts (F-Series: 690,589 units; Silverado: 618,257 units), it was dangerously close to the GMC Sierra (208,243 units). But then a funny thing happened. Sales began to drop in the coming years. In 2008, Toyota moved 137,249 Tundras and in the following year, only 79,385 units. Now there are many factors that go into this such as the housing crisis and Toyota offering the Tundra in only a light duty model, but there is one key factor many agree on; after 2007, the marketing seem to disappear in a flash. An odd choice considering that many of its competitors kept advertising like crazy.

    Which brings us to last year where Toyota introduced the redesigned 2014 Tundra at the Chicago Auto Show. With a restyled exterior, improved interior, and better electronics, Toyota said they were ‘giving customers more of what they want.’ The response was a bit lukewarm if we’re being a kind. But sometimes, first impressions can be deceiving. Maybe the 2014 Tundra has something up its sleeve that we’re not seeing and could give the stalwarts a run for their money. I recently spent a week in a 2014 Tundra CrewMax Limited to see.

    The 2014 Tundra looks very much like the previous Tundra at first glance, thanks to the two sharing a similar profile. Get in a bit closer and its a little bit more noticeable that the 2014 model is a tad different. Toyota sanded down the bubbly look of the previous Tundra to give the 2014 model a more muscular stance. The front has a long, imposing grille with a non-functional scoop and reshaped headlights with LED accents. Around the side are a set eighteen-inch TRD off-road wheels. The back comes with the Tundra name embossed in the tailgate and a set of chunky taillights. I'm a bit disappointed that Toyota appears to only have done a mild refresh for Tundra since they could have done so much more. I look at the new Corolla and Highlander and wonder what the designers could have done if they were allowed to go crazy with the Tundra.

    2014 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax 16

    Unlike the mild refresh outside, Toyota engineers really went all out with the Tundra's interior. The previous model was a mishmash of hard and shiny plastics that wasn’t really fitting for any vehicle. The 2014 model takes some inspiration from Ram and Lexus with a combination soft-touch materials, leather, and higher quality plastics. The center stack has been revised with a standard seven-inch touchscreen featuring the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and a new dual-zone climate control system. The new Entune system is still easy to use, but now comes with an updated interface which brings it into the current century. It also should be noted that Toyota pulled an idea from GM’s old infotainment system as the main screen can be divided into two to three quadrants to show much more information at a quick glance.

    Toyota calls the crew-cab Tundra the Crewmax and once you sit the in the back, you understand why. Sitting in the back, you feel like you’re riding in a limousine due to the comfortable seats and impressive amount of legroom. Toyota says the Crewmax has 42.3 inches of legroom, which is about 1.4 inches more than the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The Tundra Crewmax also beats the Toyota's largest sedan, the Avalon in rear legroom by 3.1 inches.

    For Thoughts On The Powertrain and Ride, See Page 2


    The Tundra’s powertrain lineup is carried over from the previous-generation. That includes a 4.0L V6, 4.7L V8, and a 5.7L V8. My tester came equipped with the 5.7L which makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and optional four-wheel drive system. While the power figure seems impressive on paper, a curb weight of 5,890 pounds negates that. Leaving off the line, the 5.7 V8 has excellent response and moves the truck with authority. But as you climb upward in speed, the engine begins to struggle with all of that weight. Not helping matters is throttle response that is somewhat sluggish and you find yourself pushing the pedal further down to reach the power. There also is a unpleasant racket that appears as you climb in speed. The six-speed automatic redeems the powertrain somewhat as its able to deliver smooth shifts quickly.

    2014 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax 12

    The EPA rates the Tundra equipped with the 5.7L at 13 City/17 Highway/15 Combined. I was able to get 14 MPG for the week. A far cry from truck manufacturers who boast models that can achieve 20 plus MPG on the highway. The Tundra could really use some fuel saving tricks such as direct-injection and cylinder-deactivation.

    This Tundra came equipped with TRD Off-Road package which adds eighteen-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin LTX AT2 tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates, and tow hooks. The package really makes the Tundra almost capable in the rough stuff as it was able get through some of the remaining snow in a lot. Toyota has kept solid-rear/leaf-spring setup from the previous-generation. Not surprisingly, the Tundra is a compliant rider as bumps and potholes are transmitted to the passengers. The brand could take some ideas from GM's full-size trucks as they employ the same setup in the rear, but are able to achieve a more comfortable ride. Steering is light and has very good weight whenever you are driving around.

    2014 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax 10

    After spending a week with the Tundra Limited Crewmax, I found myself scratching my head and wondering who should buy it? The problems with the Tundra range from poor fuel economy, sluggish performance from the V8, and a bouncy ride. But there are some pluses to the Tundra such as the improved interior, the optional TRD package, and an as-tested price of $44,459 make it a real bargain in the full-size class. While the Tundra may not have an ace up its sleeve, it is a good truck. But for many buyers in the full-size truck marketplace, good enough doesn’t cut it.

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Tundra, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Toyota

    Model: Tundra

    Trim: Limited CrewMax

    Engine: 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve V8

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600

    Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/17/15

    Curb Weight: 5,850 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: San Antonio, Texas

    Base Price: $41,895.00

    As Tested Price: $44,459.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Limited Premium Package - $595.00

    Bedliner - $365.00

    Running Boards - $345.00

    TRD Off-Road Package - $100.00

    Exhaust Tip - $99.00

    Door Sill Protector - $65.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    User Feedback


    Nice write up, I am surprised to see a drop in bed liner. In today's auto world, I would have thought they would have done a Spray in bed liner like Rihno or LineX. Seems old school for the drop in and it always causes rub / rust issues unless you take it out once a year to wax the bed. I would rather it be spray on bed liner.

     

    I am also surprised by what to me looks like a bland dated dash. The air vents look like the same cheap plastic flip and spin ones that FORD uses. While functional as is the rest of the dash, I would have to say that this is sadly lacking in quality compared to what GM, Ram or even Ford is building now.

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    • By William Maley
      American automakers haven’t been known for building good compact vehicles. Previous attempts have faltered when compared to those from the likes of Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. But this perception began to change when Ford brought out the Focus in 2000. It seemed progress was being made in making a decent compact vehicle thanks to their European branch helping out. Seeing this, GM decided to follow the same path. They called in their Korean and European offices to help out with the development of a new model known as Cruze. The vehicle proved to be a massive improvement from the Cobalt as it got the basics right such as fuel economy and overall interior space. Yes, the Cruze was lacking in some key areas such as design and driving fun. But it was light years ahead of GM’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle.
      When it came time to work on the next-generation Cruze, Chevrolet knew they had a good starting point and only needed to make improvements to make the model a real contender in the class. Let’s see if that has panned out or not.
      Dare I say the new Cruze is a sharp looking compact? Yes, but to a point. It is clear that Chevrolet’s design team took a lot of inspiration from the Volt PHEV when working on the second-generation Cruze. The overall profile and certain lines of the Volt appear on the Cruze. The front end features Chevrolet’s new tiered-grille and a set of slimmer headlights. Where the Cruze’s design falls flat is in the back. It seems Chevrolet’s designers really couldn’t be bothered to do something special. There two ways you can fix this. You can either go with the Cruze hatchback which to our eyes looks so much better thanks to the longer roofline and tailgate, or opting for the RS appearance package which dresses up the back with a more aggressive bumper. The RS package also adds mesh grille inserts, and sporty looking wheels - 18-inch ones on our Premier tester.
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      The turbo 1.4 comes with an auto stop-start system as standard. The system is quick to start the engine back up whenever you take your foot off the brake. One item that will irk some people is that you cannot turn off the stop-start system.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze stand at 29 City/39 Highway/33 Combined for the Premier sedan. Our average for the week landed around 31.2 mpg. The L, LS, and LT sedan get slightly higher fuel economy figures of 28/39/32 for the manual and 30/40/34 for the automatic.
      It seems most compacts are trying to outdo one another in terms of offering the best driving experience. So it is a bit of fresh air that Chevrolet has decided to skip this and make the Cruze ride like a bigger car. The suspension provides a cushy ride with most bumps being ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Handling is competent in the class as the Cruze shows little body roll. However, the steering is too light in terms of feel and weight when driven enthusiastically.
      Chevrolet’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle have ranged from the punchline to a bad joke to something that can be considered at competent. But with the 2017 Cruze, Chevrolet put their heads down into making a compact that could stand tall among competitors. They have succeeded as the Cruze gets the fundamentals right and offers some distinctive traits that help it stand out from others such as the big-car ride and impressive amount of tech. Yes, it would be nice if Cruze was a slightly sharper in terms of design and the steering tweaked a bit to make it a bit more fun to drive. 
      Since I have been reviewing new vehicles for almost five years, there have been only a few vehicles that I keep thinking about to this day. Chevrolet has two to its name. The first was the 2014 Impala and the Cruze is number two.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Cruze
      Trim: Premier
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L DOHC VVT DI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 153 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 177 @ 2000-4000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/39/33
      Curb Weight: 2,978 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, OH
      Base Price: $23,475
      As Tested Price: $29,195 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      RS Package - $995.00
      Enhanced Convenience Package - $865.00
      Driver Confidence II Package - $790.00
      Floor Mats - $140.00
      Wheel Lock Kit - $60.00
    • By dfelt
      Cruze Diesel Review by Green Car
      http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1109762_2017-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-first-drive
      Came across this review of the cruze diesel and have to say I was impressed by the writeup, pictures and found the following two quotes to be very telling of just how well Cheverolet nailed the new Diesel Cruze.
      Quote 1
      Driving the Prius for mileage was an annoying affair, requiring me to putter away from stoplights and hang out in the slow lane on the freeway as other cars passed, just so I could come up short on the EPA-estimated freeway figure. It was tiring and tedious.
      Quote 
      While the diesel engine deserves a lot of praise, the reality is that I'd be ignoring the sublime 9-speed automatic. GM has just nailed this transmission.
      Over all this guy says this auto was snappy, responsive and quieter than a cruze gas ICO version.
      GM needs to apply these same traits to all their product lines.
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