When I was told that I would be receiving a 2014 Toyota Tundra SR5 4×2 long bed to drive for a week, I was ecstatic! My wife has been “encouraging” me to clean out the garage, attic and junk closet for months; my spring cleaning to-do-list was growing and this truck couldn’t be coming at a better time.

Like anyone else with such an “encouraging” better half, the to-do-list seems to get longer and more dreaded the longer its put off. My attic was bulging at the seams, the junk closet door barely closes and I know that I’ve pulled car in the garage far enough when my six year old’s bike bumps into her battery powered jeep. This will certainly be an all day job and multiple trips.

Having owned a full size pickup truck before, this wasn’t going to be my first rodeo; I know a little something about loading a truck bed and arranging my cargo to maximize space. Even with my past experiences I was sure that my spring cleaning would consist of a few round trips.
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Little did I know, this list would be accomplished in one trip. The Toyota Tundra is available with an 8′ bed;toyota truck bed long enough to carry a panel of sheet-rock with the lift gate closed. The average pick-up truck owner won’t typically walk into their local Toyota dealer and ask for an 8′ bed, but its nice to know one is available; especially if you happen to be in construction.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen sheet-rock debris along the highways in Atlanta that were once projectiles from the back of an open truck bed. Come to think of it, maybe the Toyota Tundra SR 5 Long Bed should be a required tool in the construction trade. Who do I talk to about that?

If there’s someone reading this and considering my recommendation, take note, if you’re like me and don’t like parking outside, you’ll have to build bigger garages, because this one won’t fit in a standard issue one.

Come back weekly for more chronicles of my weekly commutes…I’m sure to be driving your next vehicle one of these weeks.

Also tune in to title=”WAOK 1380″>http://cbsloc.al/ListenWAOK every Saturday from 10 am to 12 noon EST for all of your automotive interests and needs.

2014 Toyota Camry SE

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While driving this “sports” sedan around Atlanta’s highways and byways, Toyota was at the New York International Auto show preparing to unveil its replacement.

Before taking delivery of this local fleet car, the news that it was being redesigned came as no surprise to me. Camry’s reputation hasn’t necessarily been built on its good looks, but rather on its reliability,  dependability, competence and ability to deliver on its promises…like a best friend. You would never pick a best friend based on their looks; would you?

Well, I will never pass judgement on another car before spending time in the driver’s seat. The 2014 Toyota Camry SE is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. From the first press of the accelerator, I knew that I would never look at a Camry the same again. My first thought was “who knew?” The responsiveness and exhaust note were reminiscent of some of those German sports cars from my past. Unfortunately, we were not able to take the vehicle to a test track for official performance numbers, but if a Camry SE owner wants to merge onto one of Atlanta’s busy interstates, they don’t need permission to do so.

After experiencing the (more than capable) straight line acceleration, my curiosity got the best of me; how capable would it be on our windy, mountainous back roads around suburban Atlanta? Surprisingly, the suspension, seats, steering and well-appointed, leather wrapped steering wheel, were more than up to the task. In fact, the Camry seemed more than capable of handling anything that we could possibly ask of it on a public road. My only complaint, because no car is perfect and there has to be a complaint, would be that the steering required more than moderate effort in tight parking lot situations. The Camry could benefit from the speed sensitive steering from some of the other Japanese brands of the past.

So, you probably wondered why I would refer to the Camry as a sports sedan in my opening statement (as did I), but when I sat down to decide what impact the Camry had on me, the performance was top of mind. This is not to detract from its primary responsibilities as a roomy, comfortable, mid-sized, family sedan. The things that the Toyota Camry has come to be known for were all present and accounted for. A young family man, not quite ready to give up his sports car for a mini van, could compromise and opt for the conservative and roomy Camry SE instead. Just don’t mention the part about the performance. (Shhh!)

If the next generation Camry SE is an improvement over the 2014, I’m raising my hand now for track day!

 

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