For the first time ever, Toyota has a true competitor in the luxury truck market in the 1794 edition. This package stands out quite a bit from its regular truck with accents galore. Here is my review of the truck.
The 1794 edition might have a funny name, but the truck is serious on being a King Ranch and Laramie Longhorn competitor. These trucks have a lot of “cowboy” in them and this is directly due to the importance of Texas. It is said that more full-size trucks are sold between Dallas and Houston than in most parts of the country. The facts are that Texans love pickups and they are willing to pay top dollar for them.
With Toyota’s focus directly aimed at this type of customer, the 1794 edition has lots of special touches. The model I tested was 2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 with the iForce 5.7L V-8. It was equipped with the upgraded navigation system and 4×4 which priced it at $47k.
On the outside, the new styling of all the 2014 models stands out with its larger grille, broad shoulder lines and spoiler and stamped tailgate. These lines were meant to improve the look of the truck in a crowded market and make it look bolder and brawnier. This look is perfect for the 1794 edition which uses the all chrome grill and special badging to full effect. The truck looks big, bold and ready for ranch duty.
One of the most talked about new features on the exterior is the use of vortex generators on the mirrors and on the rear tail lights. These little pieces of plastic change the air flow patterns around the truck to improve stability and ride comfort (a big criticism of previous generation models).
Other upgrades this year are the movement of the electric connections for trailer hookups from below the bumper to inline. This helps when connecting at night and also reduces the likelihood of the wires getting snapped.
Lastly, the truck comes with a three-piece bumper system. This has long been a popular after-market item. For many truck owners, hooking up trailers is done quite often. And quite often, the trailer dings the bumper when backing up. This bumper makes it cheaper for these owners since you will only have to replace one side instead of buying a whole new one.
While the exterior got minor upgrades to the look, the majority of the changes took place in the cab. The new truck got a brand new interior complete with a new dash, ergonomic changes to placements of knobs and buttons and a reduction in the amount of small storage bins that were ultimately unnecessary. The 1794 package takes advantage of these changes with an ample usage of leather throughout. The double glove box in the older models has been replaced with leather styling accents that tie the look together.
One of the big changes for the 1794 is in the seats. Toyota has used leather from their Lexus lineup throughout the cab. These seats create a feeling of riding in a Lexus vehicle and have been adjusted for a better fit for the driver. The seats are heated and cooled, set to the riders desire. New for this year in all Tundra trucks with cooled seats is a new cooling feature. In most trucks, cool air is blew at the back of the seat occupant. Toyota switched this and engineered a system that pulls the cold air away from the person. This means that the shirt will dry and not become soggy from the cold air blowing. A small feature for sure, yet ultimately, it is very nice.
Also changed this year is the lack of a slide and recline rear seat which was replaced with a fold up model. This fold up seat makes it easier to transport items in the rear of the cab. However, the criticism is that the slide and recline seats were more comfortable for passengers.
The 1794 adds a few other unique interior features like the numbers stitched into the headrest of the seats. Also, Toyota has placed special edition floor mats. These high quality floor mats have the 1794 emblem on them.
Toyota paid special attention to driving of this truck by improving the ride through tweaks in the suspension and tightening up the steering to be more “on-center.” The on-center driving is especially important when towing trailers since the truck more easily holds its line rather than needing constant adjustment.
The knock on Toyota trucks is that the “bed bounce” is much greater on them than other trucks. The truth is that all trucks have a certain amount of bed bounce that occurs when the bed is empty and driven at highway speeds. Why? Trucks are setup to be workhorses and to stop them from sagging when fully loaded, truck makers set the suspension to be stiffer. While stiff is great, you don’t want a lot of stiffness when driving with an empty bed. This helps cause the bounce.
Toyota has vigorously defended its truck on bed bounce and says it has the same ride as the competitors. However, Toyota did address the issue some more by tweaking the suspension, adding the vortex generators and spoiler on the tailgate. These changes mean the 2014 trucks ride better than previous models. It isn’t a night and day difference, it is a markedly better.
The 2014 models are unchanged in their fuel usage as compared to other models. The EPA estimates are 13/17/15 city, highway, combined for the model I drove. While these aren’t Prius numbers, this isn’t a Prius. These numbers are also falling short of new competitors in the segment. It isn’t a huge difference and most other trucks average 1-2 mpg better than the Tundra based on the same size according to EPA numbers. Toyota counters that by saying their trucks real world fuel economy is the same as the other trucks. This isn’t an easily resolvable issue since fuel economy varies on many things like the driver, weather, road conditions, etc… All I can say is that the truck is pretty close to the others.
In the end, the 2014 Tundra is a solid competitor in the full-size truck market and with the 1794 trim level, Toyota has a gem. This is the truck that Lexus would build if they built trucks. If you are in the market for a new full-size truck, don’t just look at the big 3, check out this Toyota truck, you will be surprised.