5.25.2014

The Texas-ization Of The 2014 Toyota Tundra (The 1794 CrewMax 4X4)


Front 3/4 view of 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 1794 and its reflection in a pond
The 2014 Toyota Tundra 1794.
What will it take for Toyota to become the official pickup truck of the U.S.A.?  Despite being built in Texas, which should boost its credibility with the more than one million people who buy pickup trucks every year, Toyota's big truck is still sixth in sales, behind Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado,  Ram 1500, GMC Sierra and Toyota's own mid-size Tacoma.

Back in January, in a review of the 2014 Toyota Tundra Limited, Michael hit on some very likely reasons for the continued struggle to make Toyota's big truck as dominant in its segment as the Corolla and Camry are in theirs.

For now, Toyota's answer appears to be to double-down on Texas. For purely business reasons, most of the company's marketing arm is packing up and leaving Southern California for the Lone Star State soon. And this year, Tundra has added a fifth trim level, a step above the previous top-of-the-line Platinum, the 1794.



Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Toyota Tundra 1794
2014 Toyota Tundra 1794.


Think of it as Toyota's answer to the F-150 King Ranch, with lots of saddle-colored leather and lots of branding reminding you and your passengers that you have selected the 1794.  Why 1794? That is the founding date of the JLC Ranch, on which land the Toyota Tundra manufacturing plant is built.  Yes, that's a tiny bit obscure, and perhaps more than a tiny bit.  After all, long before it showed up in Ford trucks, King Ranch had a tremendous reputation as a maker of quality saddles. The two words alone meant something.  The number "1794" will require some explaining.

That aside, it is as we found the Limited four months ago, but with considerably more in the way of features. Click here for a side-by-side comparison of what you get as you climb the Tundra model ladder.

Interior view of 2014 Toyota Tundra 1794
2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 interior.
Base price for the 1794 CrewMax 4x4 is $47,320.  The EPA mileage estimate is the same as in the Limited, a behind-the-pack 13 miles per gallon city, 17 highway. Ford, Chevrolet, Ram and GMC all do better.

Our test truck went easy on the options, adding $470 for a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, $345 for running boards, $220 for 20-inch chrome wheels and $365 for a bedliner.  With $995 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price was $49,715.

Please don't misunderstand. The Toyota Tundra 1794 is a very nice truck.  But it does nothing better than the competition, is worse in a key area of cost of ownership (fuel economy) and is named after the answer to a trivia question.  For Toyota to become number one or even number three in pickup trucks, they need to conquer Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and Ram buyers. There is still no compelling reason for them to switch.

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