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One Last Hurrah: The T14 Tundra Goes Off-Roading with Dai’s Yokohama-Equipped GMC Sierra
BY Mike Maravilla //
April 24, 2024
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Photography: Darrien Craven
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  • Turn 14 Distribution debuted a tastefully built 2023 Toyota Tundra in its 2023 SEMA booth.
  • Amongst its mods, a set of ICON Vehicle Dynamics Level 10 suspension, RAYS Gram Lights 57DR-X wheels, and Yokohama Geolandar M/T 35” tires helped give the Tundra immense presence.
  • Before saying goodbye to the Tundra in its current form, we seized an opportunity to off-road with Dai Yoshihara in Lytle Creek.
  • The trail session allowed us to also compare the Yokohama Geolandar M/T and Geolandar A/T XD tires back-to-back.

There aren’t too many real-world scenarios that warrant the use of the word “gnarly”. But a couple of weeks ago, that was something that we sought to find, and for good reason: we were coming to terms with saying goodbye to a good friend. Turn 14 Distribution’s Tundra made its debut at SEMA in 2023, but ever since, it’s been a companion to Pit+Paddock for countless West Coast adventures. And because of that, we’ve grown rather fond of it. So before we had to part ways, we thought it best to put it through its paces one last time.

HELLO, DAI

Admittedly, going off-road isn’t nearly as fun alone. The prospect of getting lost or stranded is a pervasive thought, so we thought it best to phone a friend to come with us. That friend was Formula DRIFT champion and current IMSA sensation, Dai Yoshihara. Instead of grabbing the keys to the DAI33, he jumped into his daily driver—a 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali 4WD—and met us off the beaten path.

LYTLE ADVENTURE

From all the options available in California, we landed on Lytle Creek Canyon, a town self-described as “small but mighty and full of beauty and adventure”. In its earliest days, hunters and trappers came with the promise of a new wild land, and few, including an early trapper, met their fate with a grizzly bear here. Its reputation for riches was sustained through the Gold Rush, allegedly yielding $2,000 per week at its height. As luck would have it, the community is made up of 2,000 people today and is every bit as much of a natural reprieve from city life as it has ever been. Still, the best adventures are also quite challenging; both T14’s Tundra and Dai’s Denali were tested here.

SPY VS SPY

In factory form, the two trucks are often cross-shopped; in this case, each has been modified to tackle life’s unique demands. “I got this truck for daily use, occasional race car towing, and for some off-roading fun once in a while,” Dai commented. “This truck is capable of handling some off-roading with just a few small mods (like tires) without sacrificing comfort or quietness during my regular drives.” Most notably, Dai’s Sierra runs a set of Geolandar A/T XD (E-rated) tires on Titan7 AK2 20×9 wheels to suit his balance between daily, towing, and off-road duty. The Yokohama Geolandar M/Ts on the Tundra are more native to this environment. Compared to the A/Ts, these have distinctive benefits for off-road use—a deeper tread pattern, bigger blocks, and bigger gaps within those blocks. For the uninitiated, the M/Ts look “buff” while the A/Ts resemble a regular street tire. Since the two are constructed to perform different jobs, it was easy to see where each would excel out here.

GREAT WIDE OPEN

When we set out to grab photos and do some casual off-roading, I don’t think any of us expected the going to get as tough. Campground land with small undulations, tightly packed soil, and small rocks soon gave way to the canyon’s natural topography where weathering hadn’t broken things down quite as much. A rough ride would be an understatement, so we were grateful that both rigs were up for the job.

The juice was definitely worth the squeeze. Darrien was able to spot some incredible scenes for this farewell set among the Lytle Creek splendor.

WAY BACK DOWN

The successful photoshoot lifted our spirits for the return trip. Feeling like seasoned off-roaders after our half-day session off of paved asphalt prompted us to seek out a different route back to the canyon’s entrance to see what new terrain we could tackle. What we found was perfect: a silky smooth contrast to the day’s rocky adventure that allowed Dai to do what he does best behind the wheel. The Tundra, with its array of Rigid Industries lights on full display, looked the business kicking up loose earth as we journeyed down the hillside. The exercise was a bit bittersweet, but we knew that the Turn 14 Distribution Tundra had definitely served its purpose over the last couple of years.

COMING IN KLATCH

I’d never put too much stock in off-road specific tires, but I have to admit that the Yokohama Geolandar M/T helped make the day more successful for us out in the great unknown. The A/Ts on Dai’s truck are the wiser choice for daily driving, towing, and even snow; they are exceptionally quiet for an all-terrain tire. But having ridden in both trucks back to back, I wouldn’t say that the M/T equivalent was unbearable on the street. Sure, some additional road noise was to be expected, but the bigger blocks weren’t uncomfortable over long stretches by any means. After a long day outdoors, the only thing left was to grab a quick coffee to recharge and head back to our regularly scheduled programming. Thank you, Tundra. You’ve been a treat to enjoy and, as a swan song, you were a champ out there that day.


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