Boot Scootin in a Tundra – a midcycle update

2014, Toyota, Tundra

Diamond Cross Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY - It smells like sawdust. Wi-Fi on my iPhone is spotty at best. We're in the high country of Wyoming, where the dirt is organic and the cows are grass-fed. It's a lifestyle that is sexy to some. Others wouldn't understand.

I arrived at the Jackson Hole airport to a full moon on a dark night. If it hadn't been for a glint off the chrome of the Toyota Tundra from the moon, I wouldn't have seen the vehicle.

The whole event starts to sound like a Brooks and Dunn song, but the only neon lights in this neck of the woods are the blue ambient lights on the instrument panel of the Tundra.

The biggest change in the Tundra is to the front fascia. Each model, SR, SR5 (the biggest seller of all Tundras), Limited, Platinum and the 1794 are designed so that, subtlety, you can tell just by looking at the front which model of truck it is. Ride height is one of the tools in the arsenal kit that Toyota calls Tundra. Another tool is what Toyota calls military wrapping its springs. This technology gives the springs more durability, and Toyota says it's something its customers are looking for.

Bumper accidents are a bummer. If one side of the bumper gets bent out of shape, the entire bumper has to be replaced because it is one unit . With the 2014 model, the bumper is produced in four sections so that you don't have to replace the entire thing. Toyota has also relocated its trailer tow hitch.

Most of the driving we did on this trip was towing and off-roading on the ranch. Diamond Cross Ranch is built on the sweat equity of the Golliher's . They are the salt of the earth type of people who love their lives, their horses (especially Freckles) and their dog Sparky.

Diamond Cross Ranch is where Toyota has set up shop for us to be able to tow and off-road. Instead of driving off the ranch onto highway 287, we opted to stay on the property and put the truck through the hoops. As much as I would have loved to visit the Grand Tetons, I would not have had time to do anything else after the long drive.

As much as Toyota stressed the towing on this trip, I was surprised to find out that they didn't include an integrated trailer brake control. Toyota was adamant about its towing capacity, a very respectable 4,200 on the 4X2 SR V-6, up to 10,500 pounds on the 4x2 5.7L V8. They even talked about the fact that none of the other truck companies tested for the standard of towing that all the manufacturers had agreed upon, the SAE J2807 Methodology, calling the methodology the truth in towing. But there was no integrated trailer braking control.

The engines on the Tundra stayed the same. I am still surprised that Toyota does not use a hybrid in its trucks. Toyota could easily develop a hybrid engine for this truck that would take its fuel economy from the abysmal 13 mpg at worst to the 20 mpg at best on its V-6 and V-8 engines. The Chevy Silverado EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 gets 16 city/23 highway for its 2WD. Toyota is known for fuel economy. Most of its cachet is around fuel economy and environmental awareness. This is a decent truck on many levels, but it falls short on the fuel economy.

Toyota said in the presentation that it has no plans to make a diesel truck. Why this came up, we're not sure, other than the fact that every other truck company has a diesel, and Nissan has announced that they will have a Cummins diesel in the future. Diesel is known to produce 25-30% better fuel economy. They are concerned, rightfully so, with the amount of clarification the government has given the car companies on the direction of diesel in the future. Toyota would need a major platform change or would need to go to a different weight class to meet the CAFE requirements the government is going to impose in 2017. If Toyota doesn’t change the platform or the weight it will only be able to sell pickups in 37 states.

One place that the Tundra shines is price. On some of the models, there was no increase in price. On others, there was a decrease in price and an addition of content.

There are five trim levels and three cab styles to pick from; the base SR, the volume-leading SR5, the Limited, and two premium grades: the Platinum and the all-new 1794 Edition. The three cab styles are the two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab and four-door CrewMax, each available in 4x2 and 4x4.

Toyota is the only car company that is in competition with Dodge, Ford and General Motors when it comes to trucks. In 2003 Toyota acquired a portion of the JLC ranch that was founded in 1794. They have built a new truck, the 1794 Edition, to honor the ranch where the production facility now produces all the trucks.

The engineering of the Toyota Tundra is done at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor and designed by the Calty Design Research center in Newport. In 2003, Toyota acquired a portion of the JLC ranch that was founded in 1794. Toyota has built a new trim level, the 1794 Edition premium edition, to honor the ranch where the production facility now produces all of its trucks. It’s the kind of story country western songs are made of.

Pricing: SR Regular 4.0L V6 4x2 $25,920 SR5 Double 4.6L V8 4x2 $29,465 Limited Double 5.7L V8 4x2 $36,940 Platinum CrewMax 5.7L V8 4x2 $44,270 1794 Edition CrewMax 5.7L V8 4x2 $44,270

Fuel Economy 1. 4.0L V6 (city/highway/combined): 2WD: 16/20/17 2. 4.6L V8 (city/highway/combined): 2WD: 15/19/16 4WD: 14/18/16 3. 5.7L V8 (city/highway/combined) 2WD: 13/18/15 4WD: 13/17/15

By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2014, Toyota Tundra

2014 Toyota Tundra
2014 Toyota Tundra
Big trucks, big sky
Big trucks, big sky
and big cows
and big cows
and towing capacity
and towing capacity