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March 16, 2014

Toyota Tundra wears grit on new fenders

(Continued)

And that’s not just because of the rougher and tougher exterior look, according to Horgan. The 2014 restyling of Tundra also includes extensive upgrades to the truck’s cabin. For example, front and rear seats are redesigned to increase comfort. Front seats slide more, for more leg-room adjustment. Controls are easier to reach. The instrument panel is a new design. Higher grade materials and trim pieces have been installed.

“The interior makeover seems to be exciting truck people the most,” Horgan said.

That fits with the long-term trend in pickups, which sees drivers demanding a more comfortable ride and a more accommodating cabin – even as trucks’ working abilities remain as capable as ever. On that balance, Horgan sees the Tundra scoring well.

“We have seen a lot of contractors and a lot of recreational truck people buy the Tundra for the way it mixes driving comfort with a lot of utility,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a number of Tundra owners who simply enjoy the way the truck rides. They often comment that it doesn’t drive like a ‘truck.’”

Like other pickups, the Tundra comes in an array of styles, sizes and cab types. Its two-door, regular cab seats three people on a single bench seat. The four-door, Double Cab model adds a back bench seat to hold up to six riders. The CrewMax, with four full-size doors, has a lounge-sized rear-seat area. The Regular Cab and Double Cab versions can be purchased with a long bed that adds 19 inches for greater cargo hauling than the standard bed. The bed of the CrewMax is 12 inches shorter than the standard bed, to make room for the larger cab.

Engine choices start with a 270 horsepower V6, move to a 310-horsepower V8, and end with the large, powerful, 5.7-liver V8 in the model I evaluated last week. All engines mate to automatic transmissions, with an option for rear- or four-wheel drive.

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