• Image Credit: Toyota

The people at Toyota want you to know a number: 75%.

That's the amount of content on the 2014 Tundra that is sourced right here in America. Designed in Irvine, Calif., developed and engineered by a team in Ann Arbor, Mich., and ultimately built in San Antonio, Texas by 3,000 American workers, this truck is, apart from the big Japanese badge on the front, pretty darn American.

It's well documented that a lot of the vehicles built by Ford, Chrysler and GM are being out-Americaned by their foreign competition. As brands like Hyundai, Honda and Toyota move manufacturing and design facilities to our shores, U.S. companies have been outsourcing production and parts to Canada, Mexico and even further abroad. The Tundra is a good example of this phenomenon, as it is more "domestic" than both the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado, which are comprised of 67-percent American-sourced parts, and it matches the Ford F-150 with 75- percent, according to data on our AOL Autos product pages.

Those numbers certainly give owners of the "Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign!" bumper-sticker something to think about. And it gives Toyota something to brag about. But all of the "I'm more American than you" boasting in the world means squat if the product can't deliver.

I headed up to the mountains outside of Seattle, Wash., for some time behind the wheel in Toyota's newly redesigned pickup to see if it can keep up with its more popular competition. With a bold new look, refinements inside the cabin and interesting engine choices, I can say that it's an impressive vehicle. But it's not groundbreaking.

And without any real differentiation, the Tundra is going to have a hard time convincing people to stop buying American brand trucks, even if they aren't as American as we like to think they are.

Read on for more.

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The Basics
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The Basics

Sticker Price: $25,920 - $47,320

Invoice Price: $24,105 - $43,770

Engine: 4.0L V6; 4.6L V8; 5.7L V8

Transmission: Five-speed automatic (V6); Six-speed automatic (V8s)

Performance: 270 hp, 278 lb-ft of torque; 310 hp, 327 lb-ft of torque; 381 401 lb-ft of torque

Fuel Economy: 16 mpg city, 20 mpg hwy; 15 mpg city, 20 mpg hwy; 13 mpg city, 18 mpg hwy

Seating: 5 or 6 people

Cargo Capacity: Wide variety, depending on box

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Exterior Design
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Exterior Design

Toyota wanted to go with a much more muscular and rugged look on this new Tundra. They certainly executed on that. Almost everything about the exterior design of this vehicle suggests burliness. Toyota saw the previous Tundra as being "too bubbly," so most of the lines have been reshaped to become more chiseled. The grille is now a monolithic mass of chrome, resembling, on some trims, a seven-bladed Gillette razor. The headlight wedges look like ticked-off, squinting eyes.

I didn't like the design at first. But it grew on me. The problem with this new design, though, is that it looks a lot like other trucks on the market. Comparing the Tundra to the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, especially, it's hard to see much difference. I wish they would have kept some of the curves found on the previous-generation Tundra. That look gave the truck something that set it apart from the others, helping it stand out on the road.

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Interior
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Interior

Toyota has made numerous upgrades to the Tundra's interior. The company covets a "Truck of the Year" award from Motor Trend or AOL Autos and thinks that a highly refined interior is the way to win it.

Indeed, the new interior is immediately noticeable as more refined than that of the outgoing Tundra. New seats, more ergonomically placed infotainment and soft touch materials give the truck hints of luxury at every trim level. Interior appointments vary greatly depending on the grade you opt for, with the nicest features coming on the Platinum and 1794 Edition trucks. These niceties and flub-dubs increase the sticker price quite a bit: premium audio, heated and ventilated/cooling seats and nice leather all over the place, giving the truck a feel akin to that of a high-end sedan.

If you don't want to spend almost $50,000, though, the interior appointments become a little more sparse. With cloth seats and more hard plastics, the cheaper grades feel discernibly less premium. Even the lower-rent trim levels, though, come with a standard touchscreen, Bluetooth and helpful rear backup camera.

Whether you opt for the high or low end grades, inside the Tundra is a nice place to be, all in all. The cabin is remarkably quiet (which seems to be the growing trend for pickups). The seats provide great support, and the intelligent placement of all the controls makes operating this truck a breeze.

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Passenger And Cargo Room
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Passenger And Cargo Room

Both front and rear seat passenger room has been improved for the 2014 Tundra, mostly thanks to the new seat design. The cabin feels cavernous, giving the driver and passengers copious head, shoulder, elbow and leg room.

Cargo room varies depending on the box size. The Tundra comes with either an 8-foot, 6.6-foot, or 5.6-foot box. To be honest, they all seem like a lot of space to me, but I'm not a daily truck user.

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Driving Dynamics
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Driving Dynamics

The Tundra still drives like a truck, but due to some improvements with the suspension, it is much more comfortable and easy to be behind the wheel. With re-tuned shock absorption, stabilizer fins and steering system enhancements, the truck is downright pleasant to drive. In fact, I found myself so at peace driving the Tundra that forty miles on the blacktop seemed more like five. There's very little driver fatigue with this truck, especially if you're inside one of the more premium cabins.

Each of the engines supply adequate power. The 4.0L V6 is noticeably weaker, but I didn't find much of a difference between the 4.6L and 5.7L V8s. We didn't have an opportunity to haul loads on the twisty roads. Experienced haulers in the trades or those who pull trailers on a regular basis will probably want to go for the 5.7.

Speaking of hauling, the Tundra can tow up to 10,400 pounds. There is a standard trailer sway-control and vehicle-stability-control system to help get the weight of a trailer under control. Opting for the towing package brings features like upgraded cooling and electrical systems, a TOW/HAUL shift-mode and power-tow-mirrors, making it even easier to transport large cargo.

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Tech And Infotainment
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Tech And Infotainment

The 2014 Tundra comes with Toyota's updated Entune infotainment system. All grades come with the system, including a touchscreen, but the more expensive trims add features like navigation, premium audio and an app suite that includes Bing, Yelp, Pandora and Open Table.

There's minimal lag with the interface and you shouldn't have too much trouble getting used to using it. But the design looks out of date, which really detracts from the modern look and feel of the cabin as a whole.

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Bottom Line
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Bottom Line

This is a solid truck. It's big, burly and capable, while maintaining a refined interior complete with a host of standard features. While Tundra has enjoyed higher quality ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports than Ford, Chevy or Ram, I'm not sure this design is enough of a game-changer to make those loyal domestic buyers jump brands. Quality ratings aside, pickup owners are a loyal bunch. So, without offering a huge differentiator in capability, fuel economy or price, or some killer truck app, the Tundra will likely remain respectable and perfectly adequate for many a tradesmen and landscaper, but definitely towards the rear of the sales pack as a distant fourth behind the Big Three.

AOL Autos accepts vehicle loans with insurance and a tank of gas for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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