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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Richmond Review · Page 13

Welcome to the driver’s seat

Can Toyota’s Tundra ride alongside heavyweight brands like Ford, GM or Ram?

Tugging at the tails of top selling trucks If there is one segment of the auto business that takes dynamite to get people to change brands, it’s the full-size pickup truck category, I’m sure most of us know of someone who is a “Ford guy” or The Tundra is “Chevy diehard” owner, even as capable as and getting him or her to move to a new many of the domestic truck would be almost brands but in some impossible. ways it still has a way It wasn’t until the last to go to truly be an Toyota Tundra was introduced in 2007 that alternative to Ford, Toyota was a real conGM and Ram. tender. That 2007 Tundra and this refreshed 2014 Zack Spencer model are designed, engineered and even built in America, helping to pull loyal domestic buyers away. The Tundra is even as capable as many of the domestic brands but in some ways it still has a way to go to truly be an alternative to Ford, GM and Ram.

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is a step up from the lower trims but not nearly as supple and luxurious as the new batch of interiors from Ram and GM. Those trucks, in particular, have almost luxury-sedan interiors that make the driver forget they are in a truck. The Tundra, in comparison, is a bit stark, featuring a hard, simple plastic dash and door pieces that don’t compare. The centre screen is smaller than many competitors are, and the screen embedded in the instrument cluster is small. What has been improved is the overall layout of the centre console. The back seat is massive and flips up with just one hand to make room for interior storage. I found the last Tundra to have a very high seating position that limited headroom. This new 2014 seems to have a better seating position, no longer crimping headroom for taller drivers. Drive Powering the Tundra are two V8 gasoline engines. The base model has a 4.6L V8 with 310hp and 327 lb.-ft. of torque. The larger 5.7L has 381hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. This is one area that the Toyota cannot compete; there is no V6 offered and no diesel (Ram only), which the domestic makers do offer. By limiting the available engine options and not having a heavy-duty model that will certainly diminish the

number of domestic buyers willing to give Tundra a try. On the road, I was surprised at just how rough the ride is in comparison to the all-new GM trucks, which really are like driving a big sedan. I would also place the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 a very close second in ride comfort. The Tundra is choppy on rough roads and the noise level is on the high side. Toyota claims to have improved ride quality on this refreshed 2014 model but I am not a fan of the ride. Verdict The Tundra is a capable truck. When equipped it can tow up to 4760 kg, which is on the high side in this class. What surprised me the most was the real “trucky” ride. I have had extensive seat time in all three domestic brands over the past year and I have to say that they are best sellers for a reason – the refinement is rather dramatic. The Lowdown Power: 4.6L V8 with 310hp or 5.7L V8 with 381hp Fill-up: 15.8L/11.0L/100km (city/highway 5.6L) Sticker price: $26,750-$54,000 zack.spencer@drivewaybc.ca

Looks As part of the 2014 redesign, Toyota went about setting up a slightly different look for each of its trim levels. Sold as an SR5, Limited and Platinum, each has a variation of the oversized front grille. The wheel openings are now larger and squarer, framing wheel sizes ranging from 18-inches on the SR5 and Limited and 20-inches on the Platinum. The Tailgate has a soft open feature, stopping it from slamming down, that is fantastic but there is no side step or ladder into the bed the way Ford and the new GM trucks have. Sold as a regular car, double cab or Crew Cab, there is a model for most buyers. Inside Just as the outside was redesigned to have a unique character for each trim, the inside mimics this idea. The Platinum model I tested is covered with a diamond pattern, or quilted look used on the leather seatbacks, side door inserts and dash front panel. It

Question OF THE WEEK:

Are you loyal to one brand of vehicle when you purchase and if so which? Please explain why you have made that decision.

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QUESTION OF THE WEEK!

Go to drivewayBC.ca to submit your answer.

Safety Tip: Every day brings us closer to more favourable spring weather but remember we still have plenty of rain ahead of us. It’s a good time of year to consider whether you need to change your wiper blades and to top up your windshield washer fluid.

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Visit the 2014 Tundra gallery at DrivewayBC.ca


Driveway - Driveway February 28, 2014