The most "American" model in Toyota's lineup is without question, the Tundra full-size pickup truck; and how could it not be since it was designed and built here in America specifically for domestic buyers.
Nevertheless, for all its Americanness, the Tundra hasn't really been able to compete against the country's best-selling pickup for 36 years and best-selling vehicle for 31 years, the Ford F-Series, which sold 645,316 units last year, a 10 percent increase over 2011. By comparison, Toyota sold 101,621 examples of the Tundra in 2012, up 22.6 percent from 2011 when it delivered 82,908 units.
Toyota hopes to improve the Tundra's sales numbers with a heavily refreshed model unveiled today at the Chicago Auto Show. We’re assuming you're familiar with the saying, "If you can't beat them, join them", which seems to be the case with the redesigned Tundra.
You can see that in the more sculptured sheetmetal and the new "in-your-face" chromed front grille as well as other exterior details like the chrome finish on the front bumper, but it is most evident in the completely new interior that blatantly copies the F-150's dashboard layout, circular-shaped air vents and trim décor.
Naturally, that's something you won't hear from Toyota. Instead, the Japanese brand says it's what customers wanted.
"Toyota prides itself on listening to its customers and the development of the 2014 American-born Tundra is a perfect example," explained Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.
"Tundra’s new exterior design and all-new interior were inspired by customer feedback requesting a more chiseled exterior and refined interior with improved driver ergonomics, and easy-to-use technology, giving customers more of what they want instead, in addition to what they need," he added.
The 2014 Tundra will be available in four grades, the basic SR, the SR5, the Limited, and two premium trims, the “Platinum” and the all-new “1794 Edition,” which pays tribute to the ranch, founded in the year 1794, on which the Tundra plant is located in San Antonio.
Furthermore, there are three cab styles, including the two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab and four-door CrewMax, all available in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.
Toyota says it has re-tuned the suspension and steering system, while also adding "Aero Fins" on the rear tail lamp lens, and the outside mirror bases to reduce air turbulence and improve straight-line stability during normal driving conditions and while towing.
For the 2014MY, the Tundra continues to offer buyers a choice of three powertrains, including a 278hp 4.0-liter V6 paired to a 5sp auto, a 310hp 4.6-liter V8 connected to a 6sp auto, and a range-topping 381hp 5.7-liter V8 in both gasoline and “Flex Fuel” variants connected to a 6sp automatic.
Toyota says when equipped with a tow package, Tundra has a maximum tow capacity of 10,400 pounds (4x2 Regular Cab).
Sales of the new Tundra models will begin in September.