2014 Toyota Tundra: Still No Integrated Trailer Brake Controller

Tundra camper tow II

Blame it on a misspoken piece of information; blame it on a reconsidered decision; or blame it on the current hyper sensitivity to all things safety related, but the 2014 Toyota Tundra will not get an integrated brake controller like we were told at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show introduction.

According to Toyota spokesman Chris Gomez, Toyota continues to carefully consider whether to add the towing feature, and it will only make the controller available if it can be confident that Tundra customers want it, are willing to pay the price Toyota will have to charge and that it can satisfy all of the company's safety standards.

This is an interesting development. Many assumed that since the 2014 Tundra was Toyota's big chance to give the outdated and lackluster pickup truck (last updated in 2007) a significant upgrade, offering an integrated brake controller (just like Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and Ram) was a no-brainer. Even Nissan said taking advantage of the truck's sophisticated computer antilock braking sensors for stability control and trailer-sway control can be a huge safety advantage for both novice and expert towers. However, according to Gomez, Toyota does not believe its customers are demanding this feature at the price point it's been researching.

Wait, what?

Something doesn't quite smell right here. Either this is a good safety technology feature (and investment for Toyota) for people who tow or it's not. And if Toyota wants to position itself as a serious alternative to the other major players in the segment (all of whom have the option), then it seems to us it needs to start with some of the more credible and commonly used technologies that support duties the Tundra might be called to do, namely towing. For pickups, offering tie-downs in the bed makes sense. Offering a capable four-wheel-drive package makes sense. Providing a strong and efficient powertrain makes sense. And offering a solid and safe towing package should make sense as well (and that tow package should offer an optional integrated brake controller — seems like that's the price of entry nowadays).

Of course, we don't want to ignore the current reality we're facing either. In the last six months, not only has Toyota been hit with a $1.2 billion fine (technically a "settlement") for not getting recall and investigation materials to the government fast enough, but GM continues to be flogged by congress regarding a multiyear, multi-vehicle ignition recall that includes almost 50 crashes and at least 13 fatalities. It was recently fined $35 million as a result. Never shy about offering his opinion, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne suggests it is possible that the current watchdog climate could potentially hurt the auto industry (eventually making our autos more expensive) and not necessarily make vehicles safer than they already are.

Our short conversation with Gomez was a little frustrating because although he was saying Toyota wants to be very careful about getting the best and safest products to its customers, it seemed contradictory that Toyota is reluctant to offer an option that could make trailer towing safer for its buyers. An integrated trailer brake controller would provide an extra level of "just-in-case" capability that, you would think, would make the corporate lawyers feel more secure.

What could be a better good-faith gesture than providing all the adjustable safety towing gear you can have for pickup owners who need to tow?

Or does Toyota thinks that if it offers an integrated trailer brake controller its customers might be more likely to tow something beyond the factory recommendations and it doesn't want to risk that kind of exposure? Seems like weird logic, especially for this segment.

Gomez did say Toyota is carefully considering the option and he would be very surprised if the brake controller didn't show up in a (near) future model, but that still begs the question about the delay of something that was promised earlier.

We were unable to get a satisfactory answer from Toyota, but we'll be checking back on this one. Like the J2807 towing standards (where Toyota showed tremendous leadership), it's our guess this is an important issue for every pickup consumer who is considering a truck purchase.

Will Toyota lose a sale because it doesn't have the brake controller integrated? Probably not. But offering it, at least as an option, is the right thing to do. After all, this is the pickup that towed the space shuttle Endeavor, right?

Cars.com photo by Mark Williams

IMG_5904 II

 

Comments

@Nismo Titan

I'm in Florida too--Armadas and Sequoias make up a fraction of the SUVs I see in Polk County. Suburbans and Tahoes are everywhere.

The Nissans and Sequoias are solid but they just have not connected with buyers. The Titan and Tundra ditto.

I can't believe that Nissan or Toyota is happy with their sales numbers in the half ton truck category, or with large SUVs.

I don't think Toyota, Nissan or Honda for that matter, are trying to outsell the US-3 in trucks and big SUVs. I think it is more about giving loyal owners an option to stay with their brand of choice when they require the size of those segments.

At work, we had salesmen come in and pitch a new service, and the bottom feeder of the three said, " buy into mine, and the service us free". A coworker opined, what about cheap and free makes it right or the best?

Just because somebody has market share, doesn't mean they have better product, just better marketing and higher advertising costs. If you lose money on every sale, better sell more to go out of business faster right.

I know why this story is out now... it's timely so Toyota may have ITBC in 2015 models as their is probably a whole slew of Mexican made truck owners wanting an American truck that has that feature.

Want to make a small fortune selling junk, start off with a large one.

Really no disrespect to the Toyota tundra but I still don't believe it towed the space shuttle when you see a guy with a joystick and a control panel for the electric motors that drive the wheels of the trailer. Its just a comersal .

@ toyrulz: Nobody is 'slandering' toyota so stop being butt hurt about it.If you read all of the previous comments,the whole jist is why they don't do any substantial upgrades to both the tundra and the taco.Both of those vehicles are long in the tooth and have received very little in the way of serious upgrades since 07 for the tundra and a lot longer for the taco.That is a fact,one that I personally don't understand why they are doing that.Both have lost in the mpg dept,that is also a fact.Their drivelines are way outdated and inefficient.That is also a fact.And again,one I don't understand why toy would let both trucks just get so outdated.It isn't about a integrated brake controller,it's about the fact that are way outdated,period.Non of us 'put down' toyota in any way.We were in a discourse on why the company let it go this far.

So I guess this was wrong and their won't be one for 2015 http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/05/2015-toyota-tundra-getting-larger-gas-tank-integrated-trailer-brake.html. A lot of Tundra articles were claiming one was coming with a larger gas tank.

@ToxicSludge - their selling everyone they can make of that old design. If you were then, would you spend a bunch to assume liability of an ITBC or add 1-2mpgs to trucks that are not global? I got 21mpg from my last 2 tanks with 5.7L 4x4 CrewMax; would I buy a new truck for 1-2mpgs - no. I drop to 11-12mpgs towing, but can barely feel the 30'/7500lbs behind me due to the power and TBC while doing it - where my boss drops to 6mpgs fighting to pull his boat with Chevy. He just just brought back from Florida, budgeted $1200 for fuel (round trip) and used more than that only one way pulling the boat.

Where Toy may be a bit behind in features, they are retaining reliability and resale by not having unproven tech fail either.

I would never own, let alone tow anything but a cardboard box with this ugly duckling.

It is too weak.

I see them all the time, towing cars and the rear end is just about on the ground because the frame about bends in half.

They are right to not offer it.

They should also lower their payload and towing as well. To maybe 3-4K towing and 500 lbs payload at most.

Scott, The Tundra is the truckiest truck left, it rides and drives like a truck while the others have gone to attributes that make them more plush and car like but also hurts their hauling abilities.

I towed about 8000-9000 lbs on dbl axle car trailer that had an old chevy pickup with a motorcycle in it and one in the bed of the tundra. Pulled like a dream from Denver to Phx going 70-85 most of the way. besides an 2007 dodge diesel 2500 long bed, the tundra is the best gas engine half ton truck i have owned for towing. There are a bunch of tundras here in phx. Tundras may not have all the latest tech, but they are Rock Solid Reliable is the reason i bought mine and that engine trans combo is the best out there still IMO and that is from 2007.
I like the dodges styling and interior exterior but will not risk a purchase do to reliability. I have had two an 03 & 07 and had issues with each. The F150 has junk AC so i dont even consider that truck. GM too many issues and their redesign doesn't impress me at their prices. I am really looking forward to the New TItan coming out.

As far the Tundra being more like a truck, when I think of trucks I don't think of Tundra. It is a solid truck for foreign truck buyers, but it is not more like a truck. As far the 2014 changes go, exterior broke no new grounds, the new interior is cartoonish when the orange leather is matched up with the woodgrain. They were going for luxury but it certainly doesn't have a luxury feel like other trucks. As far as hauling ability goes it is less than most and risks falling farther behind and only comes in a half-ton.

On the ITBC, most states require a trailer brake controller if the trailer has electric brakes and you tow more a certain weight (usually just 3,000 pounds).

I shouldn't have to add anything aftermarket to make the truck legal to tow. Toyota is selling false goods here by continuing to deny brake controllers are necessary and claim max ratings. Toyota should put a huge disclaimer in their ratings - we are still the only truck not to offer a ITBC so your real tow rating may be less than 3,000 lbs. *

The Toyota Tundra has never been about being more truckish. It's always being for foreign truck buyers who don't want to buy from Ford Chevy or Ram and want to buy from their favorite brand.

Tom, partly true but I know the Toyota used car lot by my house if filled with Rams,F-150's, and Silverados that people got tired of dealing with. You go to a GM used car lot and its all GM trucks on the lot meaning Toyota gets a lot of toss over business from other brands a lot more so then the others.

Joe, Let's say that is true - there are tons of Rams and Fords on the Toyota lots and fewer used Tundras, why do you think that is?

You won't see a lot of Tundra's on a GM lot because the Tundra never rose above 9% market share. Chances are if he has a truck to trade in it will be a Ford/Ram/GM.

If you are seeing lots of Fords or GM's on the Toyota dealer lots it is because Tundra hasn't been able to capture any market share.

In 2012 the Tundra was at 6% and when the new 2014's came out, Toyota said they were comfortable with that amount. There will always be people get tired of what they have and want to try a Tundra, share might go up this year, but it will not be a lot.

At my Toyota dealer, I am not seeing what you are saying is going on. There are 3 total used Chevy's on the entire lot (only 1 is a truck and it's an Avalanche), 1 used Ram, and 3 used Fords (no trucks). There are 5 used Tundras and 11 used Tacos.

@Roadwhale: don't want a controller, fine, don't get one. The key word is Optional, if you don't want it new or used, then the truck next to it without the controller might be for you. They aren't making you get it on GMs, Rams, or Fords.

Oh, you mention towing 5,000 you should be ok without? That just makes no sense! Sure, you can tow up to 5 k and you might do ok for awhile, but why chance it?

Why you are at it, why even use the receiver hitch? Just use bumper hitches, cause I am sure you think they are safe for 5k too!

(Which is odd, because Hemi lol runs his mouth about the Tundras hitch, but they won't even make it an option?)

Many states require trailer brakes over 2 k, but I'm sure you would find that unsafe somehow, with your way of thinking.

@Montessa-so a controller that hangs from the dash looks good, performs as good as Ram/Ford/GM, and will tell you it came unplugged?

The only thing that would save the Tundra is if Ford and Ram would go outta business tomorrow

@Tom#3 - looks like GM is winning that race. Ford and Fiat are on more stable ground.

Tom#3 - come on Tom Chrysler could never go out of business!

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/a-new-start-for-chrysler%E2%80%94but-the-same-old-problem-174112171.html

Toyota always made fuel efficient vehicles back when gasoline was cheap and that was one of the top selling points for Toyota, but the Tundra and Tacoma has the worst fuel mileage in pickups.
With the cost of gasoline hovering around $4 gal getting 2 or 3 higher MPG's means more.
The 2014 Ram 1500 with the V8 is getting 17.4 MPG and its more powerful, and can haul and tow more than the Tundra that gets 14.8 MPG.
The only way Toyota is going to get me into the showroom is to impress me with their Tundra and give me a reason to own one,, its not there yet!

Tom Toyota knows trucks are about hauling and towing not fuel economy. if you want good fuel economy buy a Camry or better yet a Prius.

@Tom3

How often do you drive with a cold motor?

How often do you drive less than five miles per day?

How often do you go off the beaten path to buy fuel at a station because they’re consistently cheaper than the other fuel outlets?

Did you drive your truck less than 10k miles during the last year?

Do you live and work at the same location (i.e., farm, business your family owns)


These considerations are at least as important as some fuel economy rating. FE is important but if you answered YES to the last two questions, FE is not a big deal for you. Buy the truck you love.

If you really need a truck and you do drive a lot, finding a solid ten year old beater for your non-payload travel could be a lot more important that FE ratings.

@TRX-4 Tom: Maybe you need to re-read what I said; at no point did I say I would be towing 5,000# without a controller; I said I would not be Towing 5,000#--ever, so a controller is simply not necessary. That car I was telling you about did have a controller in it and it served perfectly well for towing two different 5,000# travel trailers. However, all I ever towed was a boat with that car despite it having a Class IV hitch on it. My current truck and Jeep both have Class III hitches on them and so far neither has towed anything, though I specifically ordered the hitch on the Jeep in the event that I would need to tow a U-Haul or equivalent and see the possibility of doing so in the near future. As such, however, your argument to me is completely invalid.

I understand why Toyorust buyers do not tow with their pick up they are old Yaris owners and use the truck the same way they drive Yaris.

Real truck owner the one who tow buy Ford GM or Ram.

Mark,

This is very old information – well over 12 months old. So the entire purpose of your posting is suspect.

Nothing new here so the “post” is misleading as to what Toyota is doing in regard to the brake controller.

There are dozens of different types of integrated brake controllers. Even with the “best” of brake controllers many “experts” like those at TFLTruck have major difficulties because they are not set correctly. Lots of trailer brakes burned up or truck brakes burned up; because even the so called experts are unable to get their integrated brake controllers adjusted for the type of brakes they are using.

Those types of mishaps occur with the 2014 integrated brake controllers from Ford, GM, and RAM.

I have no problem Toyota taking another year to get this right; it is that important.

It has taken Ford over 10 years to get their integrated brake controller working with only a small fragment of various trailer brake systems with the necessary adjustments.

Kudos to Toyota for taking the time to get this right.

Randy

@Randy

Mark updated the story. His message is that after a year Toyota still does not make the option available. Agree?

So, you imply that Mark has been misleading in this regard. How?

@Tom#3: I get 21mpg on the highway with my 5.7L 4x4 CrewMax, and I don't drive slow. With my 7500lb RV behind, almost as quick drop to 11-12mpgs. My average combined is near 17mpgs. I drive about 12,000 miles per year. It would take more than a couple of "real world" mpgs for to get my attention.

A Coworker, after having 2 Tundras (2007 and 2011) thought he would try the new RAM this time. Fully loaded long horn with the hemi and says he misses the Tundra's power, especially when towing his trailer or loaded heavy. He likes the Ram, especially the luxo features of the top trim with all boxes checked and the price after huge rebate incentives, but still says the Tundra is the better Truck.

To each his own, I was once a GM fan and worked at Chev-Olds dealer fixing them, now I'm done fixing things and prefer Toyotas. A friend asked my advise when buying as I'm into wheels, owned and fixed more than most owners ever, and I told him that, and he bought a Chevrolet. They are easy to work on, logical designs and parts are cheap and easy to find (lots in wreckers to for 2nd hand parts).

To each his own.

Electric trailer brakes are crap. They can never be adjusted properly even by "truck experts". Hydraulic surge brakes (especially disc brakes) have better braking power, fade resistance, waterproof, adjust automatically, and don't need to stupid brake controller.

All three trailers I bought for my business, I always check the option box for hydraulic surge disc brakes. Yeah...it cost more than electric brakes, but the increase braking performance is well worth it.

Pickups and loggers here in BC, doesn't get any better than this....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7n5mEmXJo

GUTLESS
GLORYLESS
1.4 MILLION RECALLS
FORD MOTOR COMPANY

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/ford-recalls-m-vehicles-for-steering-problems/article_ae20907f-0f35-5382-b6fe-fe0d1e11d8b1.html

_

A brake controller that could be a viable option. Put the brake controller on the trailer where it belongs. Save the space in the cabin for other customer comforts.

New 1795 Crewmax, book and directions are in book about controller, I heard tenons ha wouldn't match Toyotas warranty, they will offer it soon and sell it as a OEM add-on. I out a prodigy2 in, mounted in console, it's good form,e, and I tow over 10,000 on a daily basis, my third crew,ax, that has out towed, outperformed, outlasted any ram, ford, Chevy or ford. tUNDRA with its 2000 lb payload, 10k towing is a superior truck, the leader in industry!



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