2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition CrewMax 4x4 First Test
King of the Ranch? More of a Prince
Just six years ago, when the second-gen Toyota Tundra won our 2008 Truck of The Year award, we noted, "Toyota is pulling no punches by introducing one of the biggest, strongest, and most capable vehicles in the segment." American truck buyers agreed, buying more than 137,000 in the first full year of sale, a number that Toyota hasn't met since. Why? The segment has moved ahead while the Tundra has stayed stagnant.
For 2014, that changes. Though powertrains carry over, including the best-selling 5.7-liter, 381-hp V-8 and six-speed auto, the front fascia, fenders, and bed are all-new and the interior touts a full makeover. Also new: our top-tier 1794 Edition test truck, which is positioned to go head to head with such luxury haulers as the Chevrolet Silverado High Country, Ford F-150 King Ranch, GMC Sierra Denali, and Ram Laramie Longhorn.
Named after the founding year of the JLC Ranch that once sat where the Tundra's San Antonio plant is located, the 1794 Edition sports a Western-themed interior that includes Lexus-grade saddle brown leather trim as well as heated/cooled/power front seats, power moonroof, parking sonar, dual-zone A/C, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink, backup camera, available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert ($470), and Entune premium JBL audio with navigation. Suffice it to say the interior is well-appointed and luxurious, albeit a clear copycat of the digs in a King Ranch. On the exterior, the 1794 boasts unique 20-inch alloys and, of course, the requisite 1794 Edition badges. Price? Our 4x4 example started at $48,315 and, with the blind-spot system, $345 running boards, $220 chrome wheels, and $365 bedliner, finished at $49,715.
While most editors praised the cabin's quality, aesthetics, and ginormous backseat, we weren't quite as smitten with the interior noise -- "Definitely louder in here than in Silverado," said Loh -- or the refreshed exterior. Mortara noted that the front end resembled "gaudy plastachrome" and the chromed 20s were reminiscent of "Pep Boys wheels." Ouch.
Despite complaints of numb steering, the Tundra 1794 4X4 proved a capable performer in our objective tests. With the robust 5.7, it romped from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and through the quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 91.2 mph. Quick, certainly, for a 5899-pound rig, but nevertheless 0.7 and 0.6 second slower, respectively, than the Silverado High Country, whose larger 6.2-liter V-8 churns out 420 horsepower. Around the skidpad, the 1794, wearing 275/55R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza all-season tires, hung on for 0.71 g of max lateral acceleration, just a smidge behind the High Country's 0.74. In our 60-0 braking test, the Tundra recorded a distance of 134 feet, 3 feet longer than the High Country's number.
EPA-rated at just 13/17 mpg city/highway -- our Real MPG testing returned 14/19 -- the Tundra displayed a Texas-size thirst for petrol, unable to match the numbers by GM's 6.2-liter V-8 (GMC Sierra Denali: EPA - 14/20, Real MPG - 15/20). Value? At $49,715 as tested, the 1794 undercuts the comparable Silverado High Country by $6510, a Texas-size savings. In the end, though, the Tundra didn't quite exhibit a Texas-size greatness. While capable, quick, roomy, and now quite luxurious, the 1794 Edition isn't class-leading where it counts in towing, payload, and fuel economy. We'll see if the truck folks at Toyota can get the Tundra back on top when the next generation bows in a few years. They did it in 2008, so it's certainly possible.
Notes from other MT editors:
Mike Febbo, associate editorTurn-in initiation and body roll is tied-in in a very natural way. I prefer driving this to the GMs. Ride quality is firm, but what you feel is impacts and not other motions. It doesn't have the shaking and extra motions often associated with trucks.
Engine is a bit peaky, feels like it would be more at home in a sedan than in a truck since it's a bit flat on the low end. The 1794 interior is pretty nice, especially when compared to the cowboy versions from other manufacturers. The leather actually looks at home in a truck, but the wavy stitching lets it down. Huge legroom, to the point where I'm wondering if it is just wasted space. A German shepherd could ride between me and the front seats. How do you have so much kneeroom and then skimp so much on headroom – if I bought a vehicle with bullets on the floor mats, I'm probably the kind of guy who has friends with cowboy hats.
Scott Burgess, Detroit editorThe 1794 edition attempts to move into that high luxury area of pickups and fails to move the needle. It's nice, but it's nothing special and continues to feel like a caricature of what Japanese designers think an American pickup should be. Exterior: Nice. It's beefier and beginning to look like it can handle a barroom brawl. There are big fender flares, an aggressive front end, and giant wheels. Interior: While the brown leather-clad interior is nice, the center stack with its giant knobs makes the designers look like giant, um, knobs. The center console is uncomfortably wide and the instrument cluster still continues to look cut-rate. Performance: Empty, the Tundra is a great ride. The 5.7L V-8 is a fantastic engine with gobs of power and torque. But I was surprised how it struggled with the trailer and didn't seem to want to pull as much as I was hoping. Steering remains fairly numb and that hurts its slow-speed driving. It feels disconnected from the road.
Ed Loh, editor-in-chiefSteering feel is initially quite light and loose, especially after driving the Silverado. Feels like there is more play, less precision, but only at parking-lot speeds. On the loop, it's easier to position on road once at speed. Engine note seems a bit coarse at first, but response is very good. For a big girl, she absolutely scoots. For a King Ranch equivalent, I like that the 1794 treatment is not so over the top. The leather is supple and smooth, but I wish the designers were brave enough to add, say, open-pore wood as well. Might be the cleanest center stack of any Toyota product. Ergonomics are generally great, except many of the buttons are positioned out of sight behind the lower steering wheel rim (mirror, lights, BSM, tail-bed light, tow/haul). These are definitely infrequently used options that can be found by touch, but they're still not easy to see/access while driving. Rear cabin is massive and cushions are thick, but firm. Why can't everyone do a flat-load floor? And seriously – one USB and two 12V power outlets? How hard could it have been to add a couple of more?
Allyson Harwood, editor, Truck TrendThis will be enough truck for anyone who is towing a boat or a small RV, and that is likely enough to make Tundra owners happy. The F-150's console shifter is a nice touch. The contrast stitching is uneven. There is an overall feeling of a lack of precision -- like it was sacrificed in the name of comfort. Large, comfy seats, soft comfy ride, somewhat light steering. A lot more wind noise than I would've expected. Huge rear seats! Good power. With the other cowboy trucks, I think there is an understanding that no actual cowboy is going to drive them. With this one, it's almost as if Toyota is looking down on the faux-cowboy genre.
Ed Sanchez, associate editor, Truck TrendObvious attempt at a King Ranch-style trim. Interior stitching detail somewhat uneven. Seats hard and flat with minimal lateral support. 5.7 still strong, but doesn't feel exceptionally stronger than new GM 5.3. Full-width rear sliding window still a neat feature. Power tilt and telescope steering wheel a nice, upscale touch.
|2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$49,715|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||5.7L/381-hp/401-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||5899 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||228.9 x 79.9 x 76.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.2 sec @ 91.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||134 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.71 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||13/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||259/198 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.33 lb/mile|