Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra 4×2 LTD Crewmax 5.7 V8

Monday March 17th, 2014 at 4:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: More Spacious Than a Texas Prairie
Gripes: Slab Seats, Uninspired Interior Trim

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Okay, let’s start with the news for the glass half full brigade. 2014 marks the debut of the all-new third generation Tundra, with redesigned fenders, grill, bed and interior. Thanks to an acre of dazzling frontal chrome, the revamped Tundra looks just as imposingly monstrous as the competition from Ford, Chevy, GMC and Ram. Since size matters most in the truck market, Tundra has more space than ever to offer potential customers. More grill, more bed, more interior, and unfortunately, more weight. This latest iteration weighs nearly 3 tons. 5.7 liters of 381hp V8 is thus heavily taxed when asked to haul 5,899 pounds of truck. Consequently, the bad news is 13 MPG in city driving and 18 MPG on the highway, for an EPA overall rating of 15 MPG.

But the poor mileage penalty is offset by this rig’s imposing straight line performance. The 5.7 liter Tundra posts a 0-60 MPH time of just 6.7 seconds, and runs the standing start quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 91 MPH. Those times are nothing short of stunning for such a behemoth, making it the decathlete of the sport truck world. Embellishing the Olympic swiftness is a sensationally inexpensive handling package guaranteed to plant this high rider firmly on the pavement. For just an extra $135, the TRD Off-Road Package replaces standard 20 inch alloy rims with black-spoke TRD 18 inch alloys shod with Michelin LTX AT2 tires. These Michelins have a higher sidewall profile (275/65R18) than the 20 inch tires (275/55R20) normally delivered with a Tundra. That 10mm of added sidewall height sucks up chuckholes off road, as well as potholes on road. The package also includes bright blue Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates under the engine and gas tank, and front tow hooks. If you added these accessories individually, you’d spend well over a thousand dollars.

This Tundra is designed from the ground up to tow enormous payloads. Toyota provides as standard equipment a receiver hitch, 4 and 7 pin electrical connectors, 4.3:1 rear axle ratio, transmission oil cooler, and heavy duty battery and alternator. You also enjoy a “Tow/Haul Mode” setting for the 6-speed automatic gearbox. So you can believe those ads showing the new Tundra towing the space shuttle Endeavor to its final resting place in L.A. The towing capacity of our test Tundra is 10,000 pounds. If you opt for 4WD, maximum tow rating decreases to 9,500 pounds.

The 3rd generation Tundra has also added a new model to the lineup called “1794″ in honor of the JLC cattle ranch where the Tundra is built in Texas. The 1794 artfully emulates the look of a wild west saloon, hence matching decked out competitors like the High Country Silverado offered by Chevrolet. But the interior of our LTD lacked the finery of the 1794. In fact, its gray plastic came off as a bit cheerless and drab. The front seats, while heated and leather trimmed, are flat and unsupportive. But everything about the cab is huge, with massive dash vents, stick shift, steering wheel, mirrors and step-in, seemingly designed around six and a half foot tall occupants. There’s enough rear seat legroom for three adults to stretch their legs. Compared to the 145.6 inch wheelbase of the standard cab Tundra, the extended Crewmax’ WB measures 164.5 inches. The back seat bunch is well catered to, with air vents and 120V, 12 amp AUX socket in the floor console, plus flop down center arm rest. The rear seats also fold vertically, flat against the cab back wall to create a storage unit half again as big as the 5’5″ double walled bed of the pickup.

If you can live with the Tundra’s mileage shortfall, you’ll find this 3rd generation version Toyota greatly improved. Standard features include a rear backup camera and trailer sway control. The rear bed is surrounded by plastic-capped bedrails, and includes a deck rail system with 4 adjustable tie-down clamps. A $365 bed liner is a bargain option. Since the Tundra stands 75.7 inches tall, climbing aboard would present a problem without the $595 optional running boards. Even with such a full bevy of extras, however, the bottom line is just $41,280. For that kind of money, you’ll be hard pressed to match the performance, tow capacity and acceleration combo of the Tundra with anything from Ford, Chevy, GMC or Ram.

2014 Toyota Tundra 4×2 LTD Crewmax 5.7 V8

  • Engine: 5.7 liter DOHC , 32 Valve V8 with Dual Independent VVT-i
  • Horsepower: 381hp
  • Torque: 401 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 13 MPG City/18 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $41,280
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4WD Crew

Wednesday March 12th, 2014 at 3:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Subtle Redo, Off the Chart Interior, Huge HP and Torque
Gripes: Needs Better Contoured Front Seats

Although it may not look all that different from its immediate predecessor, the 2014 Silverado shares virtually nothing with the 2013 Silverado. What it does have in common, however, are styling keynotes that distinguish Chevy pickups from any other brand: horizontally split grill, massive hood bubble, and stacked dual headlights. Design departure for ’14 is limited to boxy new fender flares front and rear, sculpted tailgate with handy bumper step indentations, and opening rear cab pass-through window. There’s bigger news under that power bulged hood, because Chevy has upgraded all available engines in the 1500 line, using direct fuel injection for added power, and cylinder deactivation for improved mileage ( “Active Fuel Management”). Our Deep Ruby Metallic High Country 4WD, stood a couple of hands higher than an Arabian Stallion. Thanks to its optional 6.2 liter V8 Ecotec ($1,995), this Silverado made as much power as 420 horses. Torque is rated at 460 lb.-ft., with 14 MPG on tap around town, and a laudable 20 MPG on the highway. The 6.2 drives through a 6-speed automatic transmission coupled to a 2 speed transfer case, an auto locking rear differential, and a 3.42:1 rear axle ratio. Standard equipment includes trailer sway control, and a handy shift lever mounted button for optimizing engine/gearbox performance while towing. All these features make the new Silverado an ideal candidate for towing heavy payloads. Chevy rates our test vehicle’s trailer capacity at 9,500 lbs. If you opt for the available 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, your tow rating increases to 11,800lbs. but your gas mileage will suffer.

If towing isn’t your game, there are still plenty of virtues to appreciate here. Topping the list is the spectacular new High Country Premium Package ($1,345) which finally moves the Silverado’s interior into deluxe fantasyland territory previously occupied by Ford (King Ranch), Ram (Laramie Longhorn), and now Toyota (1794). In fact, Chevy’s treatment of this wildly popular Western Frontier look is by far the most muted and palatable of those on offer today. Both front and rear seats are trimmed in a baseball glove amber leather with stunning oyster piping. The front seats look so deeply bucketed and inviting that sitting in them is something of a letdown. They would benefit from more side and thigh padding. Standard heating and ventilation partly compensates for lack of support. The High Country trimmings also include mountain logo threshold kick plates and nifty matching embroidery in the seat headrests.

Your $1,345 also buys you a heated steering wheel, and a welcome built-in trailer brake controller. High Country includes a bevy of safety nannies like front and rear park assist, forward collision alert and lane departure warning. With a truck this big and ungainly, it’s nice to know where your bow and stern lie since direct sightlines are impeded. If you get too close to an object, Chevy has invented a new method to warn you of impending collision. It’s called seat alert because your seat cushion automatically begins to vibrate in the event of proximate danger. This attention getter also warns of an impending forward collision, as well alerting you to traffic on either side. In an impending frontal crash, a series of red warning lights simultaneously flash across the base of the windshield.

Only the Silverado 1500 series receives the makeover for 2014. If you are planning to buy a 2500 or 3500 series Chevy truck, you’ll have to wait for 2015 when GM will complete their transition to the new pickup platform. In addition to the lusty 6.2 liter motor in our test vehicle, Chevy also offers a new 4.3 liter V6 (285hp) and a mid-size 5.3 liter V8 (355hp). Despite its somewhat limiting EPA rating of 17MPG overall, the 6.2 liter V8 will make a believer of you the instant you hit the gas pedal to pass slower traffic or tow a major load over the Sierras. This combo is good for 14.6 second quarter mile runs at 96MPH.

Chevy has improved the steering feedback and overall handling of the Silverado by equipping it with low profile Goodyear Eagle LS2 tires (265/55R20) mounted on somewhat garish 10 spoke, 20 inch chrome rims that match the chrome running boards (which are a $700 option). The High Country Silverado handles any assortment of twists and turns with studied aplomb. The only jarring note is the occasional speed bump or mismatched pavement seam that will suddenly rattle you to the core. This one chink in the armor is just about the only sign that you’re actually driving a heavy duty truck and not some benign and cultured luxury sedan. That Chevy trucks have come this far is a testament to good engineering and a conviction by GM that you can have your cake and eat it too.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4WD Crew

  • Engine: 6.2 liter V8 with Active Fuel Management
  • Horsepower: 420hp
  • Torque: 460lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 14 MPG City/20 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $52,475
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4×4 Review

Monday October 8th, 2012 at 4:1010 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Prodigious Off-Roader, Stylish, Made in USA
Gripes: TRD Exhaust Noise, Annoying Cruise Control

Sometimes it takes an old school truck like this Tacoma to reaffirm that the simple virtues are best. Take the key to the Tacoma, for example. It’s small, light weight, and unpretentious looking. And you actually need to insert it into a slot on the steering column and twist it clockwise to start the Tacoma. After testing an endless stream of keyless entry vehicles with starter buttons instead of key receptacles, I found the Tacoma’s throwback system such a delight that it made me wonder why manufacturers ever gave up on it.

The rest of this Tacoma follows suit. It has a full-size spare, for example, mounted under the bed for easy access in case of emergency. Because its side windows lack the auto-up feature so common today, you can actually place that plane of glass exactly where you want it without fighting a computer system for control. It has no paddle shifts attached to the steering wheel, but the sturdy floor-console mounted shift lever features sharp detents for each gear. The front seats aren’t 14-way adjustable, but they’re still more comfortable than you would expect given their simple manual controls for backrest angle and fore/aft positioning.

This back-to-basics brand of practicality extends to the pickup bed, which features “heavy duty all weather flooring,” a $50 option. The interior sports $165 worth of “all weather mats and door sills” which look utilitarian enough to cope with the muddiest boots in sloppy weather. On the right rear wall of the truck bed is a 3-pronged 115 volt receptacle with spring actuated, self-closing cover. This nifty device allows you to plug in any electric device, affording 400 watts of output while the truck is idling, or 100 watts when underway.

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2012 Ford F-150 Platinum and Lariat Editions

Wednesday February 1st, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Ford F-150
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Smooth, powerful 5.0L V8 engine
  • Surprisingly luxurious interior
  • SuperCrew cab means plenty of room for passengers
  • Decent fuel efficiency, especially for such a large truck

Cons:

  • Ride gets choppy over rough pavement
  • Shorter bed length limits cargo capacity

The big news for Ford truck fans this year is an entirely new engine lineup for the best-selling F-150. Replacing the underperforming 4.6 and 5.4 liter V8 engines is a quartet of new motors, including two new V8s, a new base model V6, and even a turbocharged V6.

Although putting a turbo six in a full-size truck is a risky move for Ford, the 3.5L EcoBoost engine has the goods, producing 355 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, and up to 22 mpg on the highway, a potent combination with gas still close to $4 a gallon. The base 3.7L V6 engine is also an overachiever, making 302 hp and earning 23 mpg on the highway. With numbers like these, even hard-core truck owners might be convinced to abandon their V8s.

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2011 Ford F- 250 Super Duty Diesel Review

Thursday May 26th, 2011 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty
By contributing editor David Colman

Pros:

  • Enough torque from the diesel-powered dinosaur to move mountains
  • Super comfy interior

Cons:

  • 8 grand extra for the diesel engine option
  • No 4-wheel-drive

There are still a few escapees from the LaBrea Tar Pits roaming our highways, and this brutal Ford is one of them. At over 20 feet long, and 7 feet high, this F-250’s skeleton ought to be on display at the Museum of Natural History. Joking aside, though, if you plan to tow a big boat or mobile home, the Super Duty Diesel is just exactly what you need. The F-250, with a minimum tow rating of 11,800 pounds, will rise to meet any occasion, especially if you equip it with the new 6.7 liter Turbo V8 Diesel, which produces an amazing 735 lb-ft of torque at just 1,600 RPM. With that much grunt on hand so low in the RPM spectrum, you need to take extra care not to spin the rear wheels, especially when the eight foot cargo bed is empty. In fact, the F-250 really needs 4-wheel drive to maintain traction in damp conditions, because it’s way too easy to get this rig sideways in the wet in rear wheel drive.

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2011 Ford F-150 4×4 SVT Raptor Review – The most off-road capable truck Ford has ever built

Monday May 9th, 2011 at 2:55 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
By contributing editor David Colman

Hits:

  • Now with four full-size doors with the Supercrew version
  • New cab configuration increases interior volume and allows for more comfort for rear passengers
  • Large 36 gallon fuel tank
  • Unique Raptor motor roar
  • SelectShift automatic transmission as close to a manual transmission as an automatic can be

Misses:

  • Large 36 gallon fuel tank
  • Uncomfortable upright rear seating position

If Popeye owned a pickup, the Raptor would be it. When you fit the 6.2 liter, 411hp engine to this 4×4’s beefy frame, you’ve got way more muscle than a tin of spinach. No other truck in our care has ever engendered so many conversations. Most of them began with the question, “Is that the Raptor?” because lots of truck fans have been on the lookout for this stout rig since it was announced at the beginning of the 2010 model year. However, the mid-year addition of the $3,000 optional 6.2 liter V-8 motor, which produces 434lb-ft of torque, is just what the hefty 5,850 lb Raptor needed to make it fly. If you need a power boost for passing, the 6.2 is your ticket to the fast lane. On back roads, just drop the massive shift lever into second or third gear, and the Raptor will jump obligingly when you prod the accelerator. On the freeway, in the “Drive” gate, a stomp of the gas pedal instantly drops the rig into passing gear. The 6.2 liter V-8 rocks the truck slightly at idle, and sounds like a motorboat at full chat. It’s a delightful motor that failed to use a full tank of gas during a week of heavy-footed driving.

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2007 Toyota Tundra Review – Big Trucks Make Big Impressions

Thursday July 5th, 2007 at 10:77 PM
Posted by: anthony5150

2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax
by Tony S.

Pros:

  • Benchmark motor
  • Quiet ride
  • Towing and hauling capacities
  • Great interior

Cons:

  • Somewhat bumpy ride
  • Tiny door rattle

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2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax Review – The Big Three Bully

Monday July 2nd, 2007 at 11:77 PM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax Limited 4x2
By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • V-8 power out the ying-yang with up to 20 MPG
  • Interior nicer and more spacious than my office
  • Terrific seats
  • Slick features and accoutrements

Dings:

  • What, no diesel option?
  • Difficult to maneuver in tight places
  • Major understeer

Ruling: Diesel or no, the Tundra is 100 percent American and 100 percent for real.

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