2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior – What They Were Thinking

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Quite often, when people look at the new Tundra they ask, “What the heck was Toyota thinking?” Here then, in the most complete way possible, is what they were thinking.

2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior - What They Were Thinking

The exterior of the new 2014 Toyota Tundra is definitely polarizing and pulls from other truck designs. Here’s why.

Before any discussion of the Tundra can begin, it is important to understand that Toyota relies on customer feedback as an integral part of their design process. In fact, you could criticism them for listening too much! The exterior changes are then a reflection of what customer’s told them.

Focus group feedback:

  1. The current Tundra looks like the smallest truck on the market
  2. It doesn’t “look” like an American truck
  3. It is way too bubbly and looks weak

With this feedback, the Calty Design Research centers in Newport Beach, CA started a new design. Interestingly, the entire Tundra team got together at times to talk through the changes. I was told that during these meetings marketing, engineering, design and manufacturing would sit together to discuss changes. In fact, the story goes, that is how the Tundra stamp came back. Many of the Toyota guys remember when the Toyota stamp was standard fare on their trucks. They wanted to bring that heritage back.

2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior Tailgate

Toyota says the new Tundra stamping is a throw back to the old trucks and speaks to Toyota’s trucks heritage. They also say the stamping is a great example of Toyota doing it right with no pitting around the lettering which is common when you bend metal this way.

Toyota says the new design is meant to give it a much more aggressive, brawny look. And it is meant to look more like an “American” truck. For example, the rear end. While part of the spoiler is due to wind tunnel tests, it is also supposed to make people think American. This last statement is odd though. Toyota claims that the Tundra is for an “independent” buyer and yet they have removed much of the unique look of the truck.

The new styling’s major points:

  1. Maintain platform size, re-utilize cabin assembly
  2. Move away from rounded, bubbly look—aim for a chiseled, masculine truck look
  3. Include a distinct look between trim levels

They also aimed to be more aggressive looking with the raised hood and brawny “shoulder” styling along the truck sides. Plus, see that line on the back of the tailgate below the lettering? It is meant to give it a more “chiseled” look. The goal was to make it look like a tough, chiseled truck.

2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior

All of the exterior changes were in line with customer feedback. It looks more tough and more American by design. Think it looks like an F-150. You’re right.

In the end, what they got was a truck design that is pretty polarizing. This is part of a sweeping design change at Toyota with new products like the Corrola (see: dramatic change). Gone are the days of plain jane cars and trucks. Now days, there will be more direct feedback from customers, a loss of distinctive styling and a more Americanized look.

What do you think? Hate it or love it?

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Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. Randy P says:

    I guess my comment is really no comment at all. What a truck looks like on the exterior is about number 1,000 on the list of what is important to me. But if I must rank it I will. Tundra is number 3, Ford is 1, Ram is 2, and the GM twins are 4. Putt another way, what the truck looks like has absolutely no effect on my buying decision. There are 999 things that are more important in my buying decision. For example: The interior is about 10 on my list of importance and my rankings would be Tundra 2, Ford 1, Ram 2, and GM twins 4.

  2. Nate says:

    I love the look of the new truck. I’m not a fan of the other trucks on the market. The f-150 looks cheap to me with a big plastic grill.

    I’m a first time truck buyer and have a 2014 on order. If this truck wasn’t out I would get an SUV.

  3. Anonymous says:


    You are one of the few.

    I would recommend for every hour people spend pondering the look and feel of their next truck, they spend 100 hours learning the technical stuff and get under the truck, on the ground at the dealer lot and find out how the thing works and try to figure out what it might cost to keep it working. ASK THE DEALER TO PUT THE TRUCK ON A LIFT AND HAVE THEM SHOW YOU HOW THE CONTROL SYSTEMS FREE THE FRONT END OF A 4WD SYSTEM. Because you will be paying to fix it one day if it’s all automatic.

    I just had all the wires ripped out of the underside of my old truck in the last few day. If this happened to a new truck with wires all over the place due to the complex automatic 4WD systems, it would be one big ticket repair. All I had to do was deal with was 1 pair of wires at the transfer case and 1 pair at the trans and a pulled speedometer cable.

    Forget about what it looks like and worry about if it will start when the key is turned. That is if it still has a key and is not started with a smart phone.

    We all have a choice, give all our money to a truck company or keep it for our future.

  4. Speedster says:

    I’m ok with the new one, but I was hoping for more of a radical change. I don’t feel so bad about keeping my ’10 CrewMax. I’ll keep it because one of the major reasons I got it was the reclining rear seats. The only reason I would think about a new one is if the changed the motor to direct injection and it got better mileage.

    • DJ says:

      Speedster – I agree. While the new body style of the 14′ has grown on me, and the interior is a major upgrade, I don’t see any reason to trade in my 12′ Crewmax on a 14′ to have the same engine, just a nicer interior – not worth it.

      We’ll see what other tibits Tim gathered from this event about future models. Until they do something to up horsepower slightly and increase gas milage (like direct injection) I see no reason to upgrade to a 14′.

    • Brian says:

      I feel the same way I have a 2012 platinum crewmax and I love the reclining seats. And I think Toyota will get new engines. I think they haveto I would guess maybe in the 15 model year but gotta b 2016 model

  5. Mickey says:

    I will play the opposite role. Truck looks good to me and I’m okay with the same drivetrain. If the so call direct injection was so good Toyota would have put it in. Just like EB having it’s growing pains I for one am tired of being the guinea pig for the manufacturer. I’ll take what works. The engine gets decent mpg’s and that okay with me. I for travel a lot in my CM hence the 163k miles I have on it. Toyota has a very decent drivetrain. Ride has been pretty good to me. It tows what I need. Since Toyota is the only manufacturer using the J 2807 standards that all manufacturer’s agreed upon back in 2008. I’m for a driving truck that can tow when I need it. I’m not for a Raptor wanna be. I’m not into off road so I don’t need that type of stuff. I use the gizmo’s in a new fancy truck. That’s my ball field. You can spend just as much for lift kits etc., as I can for all the options I care for. I say again I travel but don’t like SUV’s so the truck is for me. It’s the right height off the ground I care for. Anyone can say what they want but it’s me that has to be satisfied. I’m not much liking they took away the reclining seats but I will still live. I can still stow a lot of gear in the rear of the cab.

  6. Brian says:

    I love the new look inside and out. I don’t get the one thing that customers said it was smaller than the competitors trucks. My 2012 crewmax dwarfs a couple of my buddies trucks. one has Silverado and the other has ford both crews. The chevy is noticeably smaller in everyway the ford is close in the back seat area and bed but that’s it from when im parked next to it or in one. They must mean the 2006 tundra or earlier that’s what im thinkin

  7. mk says:

    The 2014 tundra outside is not any worse or for that matter any better, just different. I still agree with most they copied ford especially inside and somewhat outside for the most part.

    Doesn’t bother me too much they screwed up the interior as far as I am concerned no more door pockets and 2nd glove box gone and no reclining/sliding rear crewmax seats as well as a dumb touch screen I so hate. But, that is what car buyers are after and more trucks are becoming car-like.

    Just glad they didn’t mess up the engine and tranny although 2-3 more mpg would have been nice.

    Biggest disappointment for me anyways is lack of crewcab 6 1/2′ bed which should have been a NO brainer. Looked at the crewcab 6 1/2′ bed chevy silverado 2014 model and can’t stomach the 43K msrp price tag and down to 40K purchase price with NO rebates.

  8. Go Big says:

    “We fear Change.” -Garth Algar

    In 1984, I didn’t like the refresh of the Toyota 4wd pickup. It grew on me, I bought a 1985 4wd pickup, and have been driving it ever since.

    Gee, I wonder why I’m sold on Toyota? I drive one that is almost 30 years old, and has had minimal repairs.

    The ’14 Tundra grew on me much faster. I like the more squared off design. I guess proof will be in the sales numbers.

  9. Mason says:

    I Don’t get that focus group. The first time I saw the current-gen Tundra several years ago I thought it looked Huge. I was surprised at it’s departure from the previous gen Tundra. I thought It looked very masculine yet stylish

    As for love or hate the 2014 Tundra, that gray one looks really good. I’ll probably buy the new Tundra in a year or too.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Talking with Toyota, they were quite surprised as well. They point out that technically at the time of its release, the Tundra was the LARGEST truck on the market in the 1/2 ton size. It was just people’s perception when they lined them up.


  10. Go Big says:

    The flurry of ’14 posts, got me curious. I went to my local dealer’s website. They show 15 new trucks in stock. I didn’t know they were out yet. Maybe they’re jumping the gun?

    I’m going to take a drive by to see.

    I’m disappointed that they discontinued the green since it was my favorite. I think the Barcelona Red is my next choice, but the dealer mostly lists silver and white trucks.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Dealers should be receiving inventory starting/through this week. Go check it out and let us know your thoughts.


      • Go Big says:

        Duped again! They should have put “in transit” on the dealer website. I drove up and down the rows of trucks where I saw dozens of 2013 trucks.

        A salesman spotted me, and trudged out in the rain to show me the trucks. As is usually the case, I knew more about the subject matter than he did.

        He wasn’t aware that his dealership has posted the 2014s. He then went on to say that Toyota was going to begin building the new tundra soon, and they should be here by the end of next month.

        He then asked what year my truck was. (the ’85) I figured it to be only slightly older than the salesman making the inquiry.

        I went home, and will try my luck at a later date.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Go Big,

          LOL! Your truck is older than the salesman. 🙂

          By the end of next month?!? I have seen customers take delivery of them already. I know that Toyota is currently building them, they sent a press release out saying they went into production last week.

          Now, it is probably likely where you are that it will take more time to be delivered, yet 5 weeks seems a bit much.


          • GB says:

            New vehicles arrive to us on a ship from Tacoma, WA. (even the ones built in Japan)

            I believe they get to Tacoma on a train, and then it’s about a week ride on a container ship. I know Toyota’s secret spot near the Anchorage port where they store their incoming stock. I may drive by there today since I’m getting antsy to see one.

  11. Justin says:

    Wow, their customer input was to make it more “American” looking and more “Masculine”? Personally they missed the mark. I neither think this looks any more American than the previous model, and doesn’t appear much was done to give it that “chiseled” look they were hoping for. The truck looks much better on the inside, both in material quality and ergonomics than the outgoing model. But it doesn’t appear to be either an upgrade/downgrade on the exterior styling. Too little was done on the exterior to meet the goal they had intended.

  12. grieved says:

    who would buy a truck without a fuel efficient direct injection engine anyways they screwed up big time. GMC sierra rocks.

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