Other than what some feel is a massively overwrought front grille, a surprise that came with the reveal of the 2014 Toyota Tundra was the introduction of the 1794 Edition. It doesn't take too long to figure out it's Toyota's somewhat contrived response to the Ford F-150 King Ranch edition. Which means plenty of luxurious leather and Western-themed trim. Although we applaud Toyota's efforts for trying to create a model to counter Ford's upscale F-150, we somehow don't see "1794 Edition" ever holding the same cachet as "King Ranch," which is still a working, operational ranch in South Texas. We will present the facts about the two trucks, and let you decide which one has more legitimate "cowboy cred."
Ford: Kansas City, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan
Toyota: San Antonio, Texas
Both the Ford and Toyota can claim some measure of credibility as being "American" trucks. Both have high levels of domestic content, and if you ever travel to Texas and drive by or visit a Toyota dealer, "Built with Pride in Texas" is prominently displayed in showrooms and on the windows of Tundras and Tacomas. Yes, Toyota is a Japanese company and a relative newcomer to the full-size truck market, but we give them credit for setting up shop in one of the largest pickup markets in the country that also happens to be a geographically strategic location for nationwide distribution.
Trim Level History:
Ford: King Ranch, South Texas, Founded 1853. Founder Richard King was born in New York City (New York City!?!?) of Irish immigrant parents. The King Ranch is still a multi-million-dollar operational ranch of 825,000 acres, larger in size than the state of Rhode Island, with holdings in multiple states and Australia.
Toyota: Named for the year of the founding of original ranch site on which the present-day Tundra and Tacoma factory is located. The El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion was founded by Juan Ignacio de Casanova, an immigrant from the Canary Islands, through a land grant from the Spanish crown. Originally more than 24,000 acres, the Texas Republic only recognized 4000 acres of the property. Until Toyota bought the property in 2003, descendants of the founder continued to hold title to the property.
Both sites have interesting histories, and the fact the Toyota plant actually sits on the ranch site, as compared with Ford, which simply uses the King Ranch name by a license agreement, gives it some level of credibility. But "Purisima Ranch" edition might have had a little more recognition and cachet than "1794 Edition."
A case could be made for both, but we think by virtue of Ford's nearly decade-long relationship with King Ranch, and the name recognition it has developed, we give this one to Ford.
With a win and a tie, Ford wins this contest by a whisker. For some, Toyota will never be in the same league as Ford in terms of being the definitive all-American truck. We're going to stay neutral in debate of national origin. But Ford has dominated the full-size truck segment in the U.S. for decades, and it doesn't look like that status will to be toppled anytime soon. We wish Toyota the best with the new Tundra and the 1794 Edition, but in this ranch hand showdown, Ford is King...Ranch.