Base Price: $44,320 MRSP
Though they come with princely sums, high-end, highly contented pickup trucks have become ever so popular in just a few short years. Along with their astronomical window stickers there seems to be no ceiling as far as how crazy luxurious these vehicles can be, with Ford leading the charge with its Limited, Platinum and King Ranch models. Next in line definitely has to be the GMC Denali, followed in no certain order by the Ram Laramie Longhorn and the new-for-2014 Chevrolet High Country. The Nissan Titan appears the orphan child of the bunch, apparently waiting for its impending makeover before seriously joining the fray.
This leaves the 2014 Toyota Tundra, which besides adding a brand new premium edition of its own, called the 1794, it gets the first genuine makeover since its second-generation debut in 2007, although it did receive a significant refresh for MY 2010.
Though the 2014 Tundra still looks very familiar to the 2007-2013 model (sans cosmetic enhancements, of course) it’s been completely re-tweaked from head-to-toe, and now known officially as the third-generation. Its all-new top-tier premium 1794 Edition is the only other pickup to be branded with a similar Texas-themed ambiance tied to a historical Texas ranch. The other, of course, is the iconic Ford F-150 King Ranch, which started this crazy thing in the first place. Other premium models for the Tundra include Limited and Platinum editions. The more basic work truck models are the SR and SR5.
About the 2014 Tundra redesign overall: the truck now features a larger grille, more enhanced fenders, a redesigned tailgate and tail lights, in addition to a completely redesigned interior. Gone are the cheesy plastic pieces that took away from how good the Tundra was. The interior of the 1794 Edition features as standard a standard 3.5 inch information screen, Bluetooth connectivity, back up camera, updated ergonomics, and a reworked dashboard. And of course there’s that expected great sound system and glass hole in the roof. The 2014 Tundra also carries over the same three I-Force engines: a 4.0L V6, a 4.6L V8, and a 5.7L V8. The 1794 Edition is limited to the CrewCab body style in either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains, with either the 5.7L or 5.7L FFV V8 engines (FFV engine not available in all states).
The 1794 Edition name is not something that rolls off the tongue all that easy or is easy to retain unless you become aware of what it stands for. When the land for the new Tundra plant was purchased Toyota went for all the marketing dramatics and gusto, by acquiring the legendary JLC Ranch. Located on the south side of San Antonio it was one of the oldest continuously operated ranches in Texas, being in existence during the Battle of the Alamo.
In 1794, Juan Ignacio Perez de Casanova, a Canary Islander in what is now San Antonio, received a Spanish Land Grant of about 4,428 acres of brush country land between Leon Creek and the Medina River. There he built "El Rancho Grande," or, as he called it, El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion. He eventually expanded his land holdings to more than 24,000 acres.
Ignacio would later defend San Antonio from Mexican revolutionary forces attempting to break away from Spain. He served briefly as the Spanish Provincial Governor of Texas before his death in October 1823. His son, Jose Ignacio Perez continued to work the land.
During the fight for Texas independence, Perez remained loyal to the Mexican Government, placing his family on property along the Rio Grande. He continued to pay taxes on the ranch, which helped him reclaim the land when he returned in 1846. However the Republic of Texas recognized only the original land grant of 4,000 acres, which was passed on to Perez's descendants as the JLC Ranch. The land remained in family until it was acquired for Toyota in 2003. So hopefully this helps makes the Tundra’s obscure 1794 name easier to retain.
Of interesting note: the San Antonio plant, where the Tundra is produced, is now recognizing over a decade of operation. In fact, along with the mid-size Tacoma, the Tundra is the only full-size pickup manufactured in Texas, a claim the ‘big domestic daugs’, like Ford, GM or Ram, cannot make.
Also of interesting note: Prior to the 1794 Edition Toyota partnered which San Antonio-base Lucchese Boot Company offering a regional Gulf States Toyota (GST) model called the Lucchese Edition. It followed a similar theme of equipment content and ambiance of the King Ranch. Since the King Ranch is more about tannery than actually cattle raising, the Lucchese Edition was a good fit promoting an interior made out of the finest hides used in a fine pair of their leather boots.
For more than 120 years, Lucchese Boot Company has been crafting the highest quality leather boots for those who appreciate the finer things in life. Now, Lucchese brings that same luxurious leather to the Toyota Tundra. Gulf States Toyota (GST), in partnership with Lucchese, will introduce this month a true Texas treasure - a special edition of the Toyota Tundra Double Cab with Lucchese leather to cushion the ride. The Lucchese package was limited to the Tundra Double-Cab Limited model throughout the Gulf States region of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The special package features sandstone brown leather with ostrich leather accents, Lucchese embossed headrests and special Lucchese exterior badging. It was offered in black, white and salsa red exterior paint. In addition, the seats offered Liquicell Comfort Technology, which was designed to relieve driver and passenger discomfort and fatigue by utilizing a thin, liquid-filled padding between the leather seat coverage and the seat cushion. The package retailed for $2,999 and was offered on a limited run of 500 trucks.
So all this now leans the question is the Tundra 1794 Edition an equal to or an also ran to the mighty King Ranch? Esthetically it does cut the mustard by offering a Texas-and-western-lifestyle theme which includes an exclusive premium saddle brown leather interior with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents. Matching soft-touch materials accents include the shift console, the front and rear door trim, and the instrument panel. However the downside to all that is what represents finer aluminum trim pieces and wood appliqué is really plastic. And frankly as attractive as the 1794 Edition interior is this where the whole package misses the mark with me.
One other shortcoming worthy of mention is the powertrain lineup. While I cannot fault with the Tundra’s capable lineup of I-Force engines in general, Toyota is behind the bell curve in keeping up with the benchmark improvements in fuel economy, found in newer engines like the F-150’s Ecoboost V6, the Ram’s 3.7L Pentastar V6 and new 3.0L V6 diesel and GM’s new aluminum 5.0L and 5.3L V8s. The Tundra 1794 Edition CrewCab 4x4 featured for this review has an EPA rating of 13/17/15 mpg city/hwy/combine. During my week with the truck I averaged a consistent 14 mpg of combined driving.
What I can and do praise the Tundra for is Toyota’s solid reputation for reliability, in addition to the 1794 Edition’s bottom line of an under $50k window sticker. That’s a lot truck for today’s bucks.
2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition Exclusive Features:
LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
20-in. 6-spoke alloy wheels
Power tilt/slide moonroof
Front and rear parking assist sonar
Urban-themed interior/perforated black premium leather-trimmed seating
Heated and ventilated front seats
Integrated backup camera 11
Entune™ 26 Audio Plus with 7-in. touch-screen with Bluetooth 10
HD Radio and Sirius XM Radio 27
Available 18-in. 5-spoke alloy wheels
Unique grille insert
Chrome mirrors and door handles
20-in. split 5-spoke alloy wheels
Leather-trimmed and heated front bucket seats with power driver’s seat
Entune™ Premium Audio with Navigation 12 and App Suite 26
Power sliding rear window
Unique silver grille insert with chrome front/rear bumper endcaps
Western-themed interior/perforated brown premium leather-trimmed seating
Wood-style interior trim
Available 20-in. chrome-clad alloy wheels