Gaining a new sense of style and adding more focused visual and functional distinction to each of its trim grades, the 2014 Toyota Tundra debuted in Chicago. On sale in September, the automaker's full-size pickup was recast in response to buyer input that requested more chiseled exterior lines and great interior refinements with better ergonomics. It will be available in Regular Cab, Double Cab and Crew Max body styles, and offer the choice of rear-drive or 4-wheel-drive configurations.

Handled by Toyota's Calty Design Research centers in Newport Beach, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Tundra's exterior remake gives it even more presence infused with a modern, industrial character that flows from its taller and bolder front fascia to its all-new bed and tailgate. Key elements that highlight this changeover include a larger, bright grille that integrates with the hood, more squared-off fender lines and wheelwell openings, crisper body surfaces, new taillamps with a precision "tool-like quality" and three-piece bumpers that permit additional trim-grade visual differentiation while lowering replacement cost when damaged.

The 2014 Tundra's makeover also nets an all-new interior that more definitively separates content in the Tundra's SR/SR5/Limited/Platinum trim grades while enhancing overall user-friendliness at every level. A new dash, more legible instrumentation, larger control knobs and shorter "reach distances" are complimented by more comfortable and accommodating seats, a standard back-up camera and Bluetooth plus enhanced storage spaces. Moving from SR to the high-volume SR5 with its "professional gear" theme nets upgraded cloth and accent trim while the Limited's "active premium" motif brings real leather, faux-wood trim and additional soft-touch surfaces. Going Platinum adds more "personal-use" features highlighted by perforated premium black leather-trimmed seats, diamond-plate leather door and instrument panel inserts, and chrome seat and console accents along with a 12-speaker JBL audio system with Entune, heated/ventilated front seats, navigation and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

          See all the new vehicles from the Chicago Auto Show

Sitting atop the 2014 Toyota Tundra hill is a new "1794 Edition" that features a western lifestyle motif. Named after the ranch in San Antonio, Texas that was established in 1794 is now the site of the Tundra's assembly plant, the 1794 Edition boasts exclusive premium saddle-brown leather seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents in addition to all of the primo touches in the Platinum.

Powertrain choices for the 2014 Tundra carry over from 2013, and start with the 270-horsepower/4.0-liter V6 backed by a 5-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic that's standard on Regular and Double Cab models. The 310-horsepower/4.6-liter DOHC i-Force V8 is standard on long-bed Double Cab and Crew Cab models and optional on all other Tundras while the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter DOHC i-Force V8 is available across the lineup. Both V8 engines are backed by a 6-speed autoshifter.

While the basic Tundra platform also carries over, the engineers at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor did tweak the formula a bit to deliver better user experience. Retuned shock valving provides a smoother ride while subtle changes to the steering gear improve feel and enhance straight-line stability. The latter function also is helped by the presence of new turbulence-reducing Aero-Fins on the mirror housings and taillamp lenses. Some strategic rethinking of sound-attenuation processes under the Tundra's hood also led to lower ambient noise levels in the passenger compartment.

Pricing for the 2014 Toyota Tundra will be announced closer to its actual on-sale date in September. However, the automaker has confirmed that content of the individual trim grades has been configured to allow each to more closely align with a specific level of buyer budget.


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