Toyota trucks tow SAE line

2014 Toyota Tundra Platinum

2014 Toyota Tundra Platinum


There aren’t many that intrinsicly know how much they can tow behind their truck without referring to their owner’s manual.

Toyota, however, is the only automaker to adopt the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) towing standard, known as J2807, for its trucks and SUVs, beginning with the 2014 Toyota Tundra as the only full-sized truck to adopt the standard. Toyota has been in compliance with J2807 since 2011.

The  J2807 standard establishes a single, repeatable test curriculum to determine real-world tow ratings for body-on-frame vehicles. Prior to the standard, manufacturers had devised their own tests and published their ratings without a third-party guideline.

“Toyota owners look to us to develop vehicles that meet the highest safety standards, and our voluntary adoption of J2807 helps us deliver on that promise,” said Mike Sweers, chief engineer of the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma. “Tundra owners can tow confidently knowing that the published tow rating has been verified by the industry’s foremost engineering authority.  With Tundra, what you see is what you get.”

Toyota has certifications for its entire towing-equipped lineup, including every Toyota pick-up truck, SUV, and minivan. SAE’s J2807 certification includes a comprehensive test of the vehicle’s engine, transmission, cooling system, axles and structural rigidity to handle a rated load so customers will know that rated Toyota vehicles have survived the industry’s harshest test methods.

The Toyota Tundra is assembled exclusively in San Antonio and is the only half-ton full-size pickup to hail from the state of Texas. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) employs 2,900 Texans, with on-site suppliers providing an additional 2,800 American jobs.

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5

2014 Toyota Tundra SR5


Silverado tops Ram 1500 by 3 points as CR’s top truck; Ram ride’s better as daily driver

2014 Chevy Silverado in High Country trim.

2014 Chevy Silverado in High Country trim.


In one of the closest finishes reported, Chevy’s Silverado earned three more points than the Ram 1500 to earn Consumer Reports “Top Truck” title and an “Excellent” road-test score as well. A small consolation for Dodge will be CR’s testers deemed the 1500 a better daily driver.

Both outscored the previously-tested Ford’s F150 XLT, which 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 versions ranked third and fourth respectively.

The Silverado edged the Ram in several areas important to pickup truck owners:

  • It has a much larger cargo bed
  • several hundred pounds greater payload capacity
  • it can tow a heavier trailer—up to 11,200 pounds
  • lower step-in height than Ram 1500
  • more agile handling
  • best-in-class EPA, 16 mpg overall (+1 mpg over Ram).

“The reality is that you can’t go wrong with either one. Both are capable trucks that get decent gas mileage and are as quiet inside as a good luxury car,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports opted to test the Silverado’s widely sold 355-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 4WD version that had great acceleration but not the thrust of the Ram or Toyota Tundra.

For daily use, CR found the Ram a comfy place to spend time with better front seats and friendlier layout and the ride is supported by its rear coil suspension.

Consumer Reports tested the Ram with Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, four-wheel-drive, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and efficient. Consumer Reports found that combination delivered seamless and effortless power, while returning a relatively good 15 mpg overall. Acceleration is quicker than the Silverado and the Hemi feels much brawnier in real-world driving.

Complete tests results for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 can be found on  and in the November issue of Consumer Reports.

Ram 1500 top ranked fullsize pickup: Consumer Reports

2013 Dodge Ram 1500

2013 Dodge Ram 1500

Ram’s score trumps Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150; Chevy Silverado still being tested; Chevy Avalanche no longer produced after 2013.


The hits just keep on coming for the folks at Chrysler/Dodge/Ram these days.

For the first time, Consumer Reports named the Dodge Ram as its top fullsized pickup truck. Although this confusing paragraph was buried in the news release, the 2013 Chevy Avalanche actually scored higher than the Dodge Ram, but since it’s not produced after this model year, the win went to Dodge.

Although it’s not surprising to automotive market watchers, the fact that the updated Dodge Ram 1500 easily trumped such fullsized pickup names in the Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150 might send shock waves through the unknowing.

“The Ram 1500 is surprisingly luxurious and refined—but still fully capable of doing hard work when needed,” said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice.”

For 2013, the Ram got a lighter and stiffer frame, a revised interior with a new infotainment system, and updated powertrains.

Consumer Reports tested a four-wheel-drive Ram 1500 Crew Cab, with the most popular engine option—the 5.7-liter Hemi V8—mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivered what CR called seamless power while producing  class-leading 15 mpg overall in CR’s fuel economy tests.

The complete tests and ratings of the Ram 1500 appear on

The Ram 1500 earned a 78-point overall road test score. Other tested full-size pickups include the Toyota Tundra (69) and the iconic Ford F-150 (68).

CR is studying the  2014 Chevrolet Silverado and will announce its findings later this summer.  Ford’s F-150 will be redesigned for 2015.

Prior versions of the Ram have been reliable so Consumer Reports is Recommending the freshened truck. To be Recommended, a vehicle must perform well in CR’s battery of tests, have average or better reliability in CR’s Annual Auto Survey and perform well in government and industry crash tests.

CR liked the Ram’s ride-owed to its coil spring rear suspension-a super-quiet, roomy crew cab. It noted the optional UConnect infotainment touch screen is one of the best in the business.

A negative, but part of the process of building a large fullsized pickup, CR noted that step into the cab is high and the tailgate is heavy, unsprung and not damped so it drops quickly.

Top American cars for 4th of July are Japanese-made

2013 Toyota Avalon

2013 Toyota Avalon

Toyota Avalon most ‘American’ car among sedans


This news didn’t really shock me that much. A great deal of Hondas are made in Ohio. Nissans are in Tennesee, BMW’s in Spartanburg, S.C., Chryslers up in Canada, some Fords are farmed out to Mexico and the list goes on in true global manufacturing form.

Sure you can go all “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” in your American purchase, selecting a vehicle with a bowtie on the grille, or review the research from my friends at that examines “American content”. Doing just this, discovered that the “most American” vehicle in 4 of 8 vehicle segments is made by one of the two Japanese brands.

Research found that the Toyota Avalon (80% U.S./Canadian content) was the “most American” car among sedans. Toyota Tundra (75%) and Toyota Venza (65%) each tied for the “most American” vehicle distinction within the Trucks and Wagons categories, respectively. Meanwhile, Honda Crosstour (75%) is the “most American” car among hatchbacks.




% U.S./Canadian Composition*


Chrysler 200



Chevrolet Camaro



Honda Crosstour



Dodge Grand Caravan



Toyota Avalon



Ford Expedition



(tie) Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra



(tie) Cadillac CTS Wagon, Toyota Venza


* –   percentage of U.S./Canadian content based on information reported by carmakers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA).

“In a world of global supply chains, buying an ‘American’ car can be difficult,” says Consumer Advice Editor Carroll Lachnit. “A car’s ‘American-ness’ is often in the eye of the car shopper and the manufacturer. The 2013 Avalon, for example, was designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States and 80 percent of its content is domestic. Many car buyers, however, reject the idea that a company based in Tokyo City makes ‘American’ cars.”

Finding a car that’s born and bred in the United States was supposed to be made easier by the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA), which requires carmakers to provide parts-sourcing and manufacturing information to car buyers. But the AALA list (which used for its analysis) can be puzzling. Under its provisions, for example, the term “American” means either U.S. or Canadian content.

To comply with AALA, the window sticker of a new car must have a section that shows:

  • The percentage of U.S./Canadian parts content for the car line.
  • The names of any countries other than the U.S. and Canada that individually contribute 15 percent or more of the equipment content, and the percentage of content for each such country, to a maximum of two countries.
  • The final assembly point by city, state (where appropriate) and country.
  • The country of origin of the engine.
  • The country of origin of the transmission.
  • A statement that explains that parts content does not include final assembly (except the engine and transmission), distribution or other non-parts costs.

Ultimately, says, car buyers still have to decide if those factors add up to their personal definitions of an “American” car. has more information on how to evaluate an “American” car at

When a car buyer purchases an “American” car from a foreign automaker, does that money stay in the U.S. or does it go back to the carmaker’s home country? attempts to answer this question at

Happy Fourth of July, America!

Toyota is the No. 1 Retail Manufacturer in March 2013

All-New Avalon Sales Doubled; Lexus Luxury Utility Vehicles Increased Nearly 18 Percent


It was not an April Fool’s Day Joke – Toyota announced its March 2013 sales results of 205,342 units, an increase of 4.8 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Unadjusted for 27 selling days in March 2013 versus 28 in March 2012, TMS sales were up 1.0 percent over the year for the same month.

 For the first quarter, TMS reported sales jumped 10.1 percent over the same period a year, 529,444 vehicles were sold. There were 76 selling days in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 77 selling days in the first quarter of 2012, sales were up 8.7 percent on an unadjusted raw volume basis.”The auto industry continued its string of impressive monthly results, and at Toyota we had our best month since Cash for Clunkers in August of 2009,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.  “A strong first-quarter close and increased consumer confidence continue to position the auto industry as a leader in the economic recovery.”

Toyota Division posted March total sales of 182,152 units, up 3.1 percent year-over-year on a DSR basis.  Volume-wise, Toyota Division sales decreased 0.5 percent over March 2012.

Lexus reported March total sales of 23,190 units, up 19.4 percent on a DSR basis and up 15.1 percent by raw volume compared to the same period last year.

“With our strong new products, Lexus’ March sales were up 19 percent, and year-to-date we are now 17 percent ahead of last year’s sales pace,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “For me, it’s great to be back at Lexus, and I look forward to partnering with our dealers and associates to continue Lexus’ innovation and success.”


U.S. News announces 2013 Best Cars for Families

13 brands win awards across 19 categories;

General Motors has the most winners

The awards highlight the vehicles that provide the best combination of quality, features and space that today’s families need.
In an effort to help families find real vehicles that provide value for them, US News Best Carswebsite, published by U.S. News & World Report, created its ‘Best Cars for Families’ award, listing vehicle winners in 19 categories.

More than 27 million people researched vehicles on the website in 2012.

“We created the Best Cars for Families awards to make it easier for parents to find cars, SUVs and vans that will help make their lives easier,” said Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “With such a broad range of award winners, any family can find the best car for their lifestyle.”
The Best Cars for Families awards combine quality, size and family-friendly features into a composite score.

Within each of the 19 categories, the vehicle with the highest score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.
Quality is measured using a weighted average of scores from the U.S. News rankings at the time the awards are published. The rankings compare cars on the basis of  safety, reliability and a consensus of automotive critics’ opinions. Size is based on a vehicle’s seating capacityand interior space. For family-friendly features, we factor in the availability of features deemed to behelpful to families by U.S. News editors.


 General Motors won the most awards with six of its models across three of its brands as winners: Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Cruze, Buick Verano, Buick Lacrosse and Cadillac Escalade.
The award winners are mixed between foreign and domestic automakers. Import brands took home nine awards while domestic brands took home 10.
This year is the first year that Chevrolet, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lincoln have won Best Car for Families Awards.
Perhaps not surprising to auto aficionados, the Honda CR-V, Honda Odyssey, Lexus RX-350 and Toyota Highlander Hybrid have won Best Car awards three years in a row.


Compact Cars 2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Upscale Small Cars 2013 Buick Verano
Hatchbacks 2013 Toyota Prius
Midsize Cars 2013 Ford Fusion
Upscale Midsize Cars 2013 Acura TL
Full-Size Cars 2013 Buick LaCrosse
Luxury Full-Size Cars 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Hybrid Cars 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Wagons 2013 Subaru Outback
Compact SUVs  2013 Honda CR-V
Luxury Compact SUVs 2013 Audi Q5
2-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
3-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Chevrolet Traverse
Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUV-2013 Lexus RX 350
Luxury 3-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Lincoln MKT
Full-Size SUVs 2013 Chevrolet Suburban
Luxury Full Size SUVs  2013 Cadillac Escalade
Hybrid SUVS – 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Minivans – 2013 Honda Odyssey

All-new 2014 Toyota Tundra bows in Chicago

2014 Toyota Tundra Limited

2014 Toyota Tundra Limited

  • New Chiseled Exterior Styling
  • All-New Interior Design Combines Refinement and Improved Function
  • Segment-Leading Standard Backup Camera and Bluetooth® on All Grades
  • Available Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Engineered, Designed and Assembled in the United States
By Gerry Miles

Toyota rolled out its 2014 version of it vaunted Tundra pickup that was totally redesigned, showing its first major overhaul since its debut for the 2007 model year and will be assembled exclusive at the marque’s San Antonio, Texas plant.

The 2014 Tundra will have a grade strategy consisting of the hard-working SR, volume-leading SR5, an upper/middle line Limited, and two premium grades: “Platinum” and the all-new “1794 Edition.”

The new 1794 Edition is a tribute to the ranch, founded in the year 1794, on which the Tundra plant is located in San Antonio.Tundra75Percent

Tundra will be offered in three cab styles:

  • two-door Regular Cab
  • four-door Double Cab
  • four-door CrewMax, all available in 4×2 and 4×4.

Power will be available from three proven powertrains:

– A 4.0-liter, 270 hp, (278. lb-ft. peak torque) Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cabs and paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic.

– An optional 4.6-liter, 310 hp,  DOHC i-Force V8 offers 327 lb.-ft. of peak torque
– The 5.7-liter, 381 hp, DOHC i-Force V8 produces 401 lb.-ft. of peak torque, in both gasoline and “Flex Fuel” variants

Both V-8’s come standard with a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.  All Tundra engines feature an aluminum cylinder block and DOHC heads, along with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) for a broad torque curve and optimized efficiency.

The interior is roomier – hard to believe in a way – and the use of all the major controls with a gloved hand as demonstrated when it first debuted – carries through out – making it a snap for anyone wearing snow gloves or work gloves … an idea some other large pickup truck makers ought to examine and re-think in their center console stack design.

Significantly New, Unique Exterior Designs; Distinct Look for Each Grade
Inside and out, each grade embodies a specific theme through distinct designs that go beyond just badging.

The all-new front design integrates the hood and grille for a chiseled and modern industrial image.  The chrome grille has a taller, bolder look visually connecting the upper intake to the lower bumper. The front lower bumpers are now a 3-piece design, allowing for grade differentiation and less expensive replacement parts.

An all-new bed design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged new bed and tail gate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” stamped into the sheet metal, creating a one-piece forged look. The integrated spoiler in the deck helps with fuel efficiency, while the tail lamps express a tool-like quality to match the appearance of the body.  Like the front bumper, the rear bumper changes from one piece to three, for lower replacement costs.

2014Tundra Platinum

2014Tundra Platinum

The Platinum grade has been completely redesigned for the next generation of personal use truckers.  It features perforated black leather-trimmed seats with double-stitched diamond plate leather, door and instrument panel inserts, and chrome seat and console accent badging for an upscale yet urban feel.  In addition, Platinum uses premium leather never before used on a Toyota truck and comes with many standard amenities, including a 12-speaker JBL audio system with Entune™, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

2014 Tundra 1794

2014 Tundra 1794

The 1794 Edition reflects a western lifestyle theme and includes exclusive premium saddle brown leather seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents and added content such as heated and ventilated front seats, JBL audio and Entune, navigation and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Handling Enhancements Several enhancements have been implemented on the 2014 Tundra to improve performance.  Shock-absorber valving has been re-tuned to improve Tundra ride quality over harsh surfaces.

Steering feel and straight line stability has been improved due to steering system improvements.  These improvements reduce the inputs from road variations and imperfections, resulting in improved straight line stability and less driver fatigue.

Patented aerodynamic stabilizer fins are added to the outside surface of the rear tail lamp lens, and the outside mirror bases.  These patented “Aero-Fins” reduce the air turbulence along the sides of the vehicle resulting in improved straight-line stability during normal driving conditions and while towing.

The SR and SR5 grades will ride on 18-inch styled steel wheels, while the Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition will ride on all-new 20-inch alloy wheels specific to each grade.

Tundra remains the only full-size pickup in the segment to adhere to the SAE J2807 towing standard.  When equipped with a tow package, Tundra has a maximum tow capacity of 10,400 pounds (4×2 Regular Cab).

All 2014 Tundras Feature a Number of Segment Firsts
Tundras will feature a number of segment firsts, including a new Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a standard back-up camera (viewed from the audio display screen), and standard Bluetooth.  Additional standard features include a 3.5-inch multi-information display in the gauge cluster.

The Limited grade adds eight-way power driver seat, standard chrome door handles and outer mirrors, 20-inch alloy wheels and a deck rail system.

The Platinum and 1794 Edition come standard with a 10-way power driver’s seat with memory and a four-way power passenger’s seat, both with heat and ventilation, power moonroof (CrewMax only), parking sonar, and Display Audio with Navigation, Entune and JBL.

First Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert
The 2014 Tundra will be the first in its segment to be equipped with a standard backup camera on all grades, and the first truck in its segment to offer a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (Platinum and 1794 Edition).

All Tundra models will also feature the standard Toyota Star Safety System™ that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop (SST) brake override technology.

Smart Stop Technology is designed to automatically reduce engine power when both brake and accelerator pedals are pressed at the same time under certain conditions, helping the driver bring the vehicle to a stop.

Tundra will be equipped with eight standard airbags including front seat-mounted side airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA) in all models, driver and front outboard passenger airbags with an Advanced Airbag System, and the segments only driver and front outboard passenger knee airbags.

Additional safety features include manual headlamp leveling and standard LED Daytime Running Lights (Platinum and 1794 Edition).

The redesigned 2014 Tundra will reach Toyota dealers in September.

4.0 Liter V-6
270 H.P. @ 5600 RPM
278 lb-ft Torque @4400 RPM
5-Speed Automatic Transmission
4.6 Liter V-8
310 H.P. @ 5600 RPM
327 lb-ft Torque @3400 RPM
6-Speed Automatic Transmission.
5.7 Liter V-8
381 H.P.@ 5600 RPM
401 lb-ft Torque @ 3400 RPM
6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Overall length:                  228.7 (Std Bed)
Overall width:                   79.9
Overall height:                  76.2
Wheelbase:                    145.7 (Long Bed)
Bed length                      78.7 (Std Bed)
Bed width
(between wheel wells):    50.0
Bed width
(wall-to-wall):                  65.0
Bed depth:                     22.2

Information used in this report was received from Toyota.