2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Package Review – Incredible

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When Toyota said they were releasing a new higher trim level truck to compete with the trim levels offered by Ford, GM and Ram, I thought great. When, they said the name was 1794 and it was to be based on a country western ranch lifestyle, I was like huh?? Now, I get it. And it is glorious!

The 1794 edition of the Toyota Tundra is an impressive pickup. Note the color variations of the brown paint. Also, the two-tone grille.

The 1794 edition of the Toyota Tundra is an impressive pickup. Note the color variations of the brown paint. Also, the two-tone grille.

I remember being in Chicago at the auto show when Toyota unveiled the new Tundra trucks. I actually got there so early, the stage hands hadn’t covered up the 1794 yet as they were busy polishing it. Really my first look at the new Tundra was the 1794, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at. From the outside, I thought it was just a brown pickup. While I get that it is more than a simple brown pickup now, there is a lot of truth to that statement. From the exterior, the 1794 doesn’t stand out all that much. Sit in the seat and it really is impressive.

Interior

Normally, these reviews are pretty pragmatic in that I start on the outside, work my way inside and then get to the driving experience. However, the real beauty in the truck is in the interior. As someone who drives a 2013 SR5, I didn’t really expect to be too impressed. Plus, I have driven the 2014 Limited and Platinum trim levels and while they are impressive, it didn’t blow me away. Also, I have driven several Lexus products and while they are impressive, the 1794 is a truck, right? Well, let me just tell you, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This thing really, really stands out. I was stunned.

The 1794 floor mats are a standout item due to their styling and quality.

The 1794 floor mats are a standout item due to their styling and quality.

Toyota has done a fantastic job on details. The floor mats have a custom stamp on them and the stitching is superb on the FLOOR MATS. The seats have the same leather as the Lexus does and they have their own stamp. Yep, Toyota brought the Lexus leather quality and put it into the truck. And they didn’t skimp on the back with vinyl. It is leather through and through. The center console has a special 1794 stamp to it, the door panels have leather with a beautiful wood trim, the steering wheel has the wood trim around it as well as the vents.

Gone is the double glove box, yet I can see why since the styling looks much better.

Gone is the double glove box, yet I can see why since the styling looks much better.

You may think I have gone “stamp crazy” and maybe I did, but it was just the quality of workmanship and planning that really surprised me. Toyota really did try to incorporate that western feel without being too over the top. I, personally, think they nailed it.

The dash is really improved and looks a lot better. Note the truck in the dash. This graphic turns on each time you start the truck.

The dash is really improved and looks a lot better. Note the truck in the dash. This graphic turns on each time you start the truck.

What about the differences between the 2013 and 2014? The instrument panel is better. That is without question. The flat gauges make it easier to see and Toyota did this pretty cool truck image in the dash that comes up when you start the truck. I found the stereo knobs and center console to just fit me better. Again, these aren’t items that nag me on my truck, they are just better on the 2014.

It isn't too often that we talk about doors, but I really liked how they carried the styling throughout the truck.

It isn’t too often that we talk about doors, but I really liked how they carried the styling throughout the truck.

The seats have a soft, suede like leather along with a slick. It just works.

The seats have a soft, suede like leather along with a slick. It just works.

The seats though. Did I talk about the seats already? They are great. Toyota has altered the sitting position and it just feels better. While yes, they are still adjustable seats and you can move them in about the same position as the 2013, it just isn’t the same.

Also, a feature I didn’t get to try out this time, is the cooling feature in these seats. Instead of the cold air being blown into you, the seats “suck” the hot air away from you. I did test this when I was in Jackson Hole and it works very well. It is nice not to have a wet shirt that simply gets cold from the air blowing on it.

The loss of the slide and recline means less leg room for my kids.

The loss of the slide and recline means less leg room for my kids.

What about the rear seats? When I first saw the slide and recline was gone, I called foul. After driving it for a week and really using it (kids, groceries, golf clubs, etc…), I am mixed. While the flip up feature is pretty handy for putting items in the cab, I still think if you have a tonneau cover and cargo net, you won’t need to do it that often. I still call BS on the idea that it is better for a flat screen TV. However, it is better for hauling groceries. For my kids, in their car seats, I had a harder time putting them in and lost the ability to walk in front of them while buckling them. A small item for sure. I am also mixed on the idea of the slide and recline for long trips versus the stationary seats at an angle. Lastly, for those carrying adults in the rear, there is less leg room. Lots of head room, but less leg room with the seats in a consistently reclined position.

Exterior

The rear now has the embossed Tundra name, lip spoiler, three piece bumper and the trailer hookups have been moved. In other words, a collection of smart innovations.

The rear now has the embossed Tundra name, lip spoiler, three piece bumper and the trailer hookups have been moved. In other words, a collection of smart innovations.

As most everyone knows by now, the 2014 exterior changes were fairly minimal. The hood has been raised, the Tundra name was embossed on the tailgate, the tailgate has the aerodynamic lip-spoiler and the grille has a new look. All of that is supposed to measure up to equal a truck that looks bigger and bolder. It was definitely an “eh” conclusion for me. While I do like the tailgate, I still don’t care for the grille. I guess if it was truly chrome all the way through maybe, but it has a two-tone like chrome finish that isn’t appealing.

The bronze color is really surprising. In the sunlight, it looks really light, however, in the shade it really is a “wow” color. Overall, the truck is really sharp with an aftermarket grille.

Driving Experience

Anybody who has driven a Tundra knows that the 5.7L V-8 roars to and from. That engine in the truck just zooms. They also know that there is a bit of a bed bounce issue and the truck can be a little “sloppy” when making big turns. The new 2014 is tighter and feels more stable. A lot of that has to do with tweaking to the suspension, the vortex generators and the “dead center” improvements on the steering. In short, driving the 2014 seems more refined in how it handles. I am NOT dismissing the 2013 as a poorly handling truck, I AM saying the 2014 is just markedly better.

As far as driving in general, the truck has plenty of power, great braking and responds well. In the mountains, it doesn’t seem to struggle to find gears and has plenty of HP to handle large climbs at ease. In the city, it purrs along. On the highways, it handles anything you can throw at it.

A few notes: driving around town, you won’t notice much change between the 2013 and 2014. On the highways, it is slightly better with regards to bed bounce, but it isn’t a HUGE improvement. If you are looking for the better driving truck, I can’t say the 2014 is that much better than the 2013 that it should impact your decision.

Safety Features

This picture is from a RAV4 mirror, but you get the idea of what lights up when someone is in your blind spot.

This picture is from a RAV4 mirror, but you get the idea of what lights up when someone is in your blind spot.

While the Tundra is one of the safest trucks on the road and has more air bags than the competitors there are two new features in the 2014 that I really, really enjoyed – Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Holy cow is this impressive. What it does is when vehicles are in your blind spot, the mirror has two icons that light up. This was great on highways when changing lanes. While, yes, you can get the little blind spot mirrors, this is simply a better feature.

The rear cross traffic alert is one of the smartest features I have seen in a long time. Quite often, I found myself backing out in a street with this truck. This system beeps at you to tell you that traffic is crossing behind you. Not just behind you, however, like a considerable distance away. In fact, many times, I would be backing out, stop, check my mirrors and look around then I would go only for the system to beep at me. I hit the brakes and won’t you know some car would be speeding toward my driveway. If I didn’t have this feature and I very well could have caused an accident. I also found that backing out of parking places like at Home Depot that this feature was incredibly handy. How often do you have to back out sandwiched between two vans or trucks at these places? A lot. This system will ding and alert you when a car is coming your way several spots away. And I found it to be fool proof in that it never dinged me when a car was an aisle over or a car wasn’t that close to me. Each time, the car was coming at me and within a range that made sense. This was a feature, I quickly came to rely on to help me back out.

A quick note on fuel economy, it is the same as the 2013 – 13/18/15 city/highway/combined. I averaged close to 16 which is the same as what I get in the 2013.

There are a host of other features and upgrades that are handy too. While I didn’t get a chance to hook up a trailer, the moving of the trailer power adapters is just smart. The three-piece bumper, another smart idea and gladly I didn’t need to “test” it out. The backup camera display being moved to the Entune system was OK (I still like the mirror placement), but it was ultimately the “smart” decision. The loss of all the storage compartments wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be. I’m still have a fan of the double glove box, but I can see why they did it from a “style” point of view. What I am saying is that the 1794 interior looks better without the glove box. All in all, the changes they did make were fairly thought out.

In the end, this truck’s starting MSRP is $44k and our version was decked out with running boards, sun roof, premium Entune system and had a sticker of $48k. It isn’t a “truck” really in the traditional sense. It is much more of a “lifestyle” truck and one that can do a hard days of work, get cleaned off and sparkle on a night out on the town.

One more note, for those guys who balk at why automakers are building these trucks, consider that these “luxury” trucks are one of the hottest items in the fullsize segment. Toyota Tundra Chief Engineer Mike Sweers said they planned to sell 10 percent of them each month. They are actually selling 25 percent. It is easy to see why, I was very sad to see this truck go when my week was up.

What do you think of the new 1794? Have you been inside one? Share your thoughts.

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  1. DJ says:

    Nice write-up.I still need to sit in and drive a 14′. I too do not like the grille, and think Toyota stopped a little short with other improvements (or lack thereof). Hopefully the next few years see continued improvements.

  2. Yury says:

    Thanks for the review. I have a question. The previous model has parking sensors connected to the small display (above the head unit with temperature and time as well). It shows the driver which sensor is close to an obstacle. I see they got rid of this display. So what happens with parktronic? Does it just beep without visual indication?

    • Randy says:

      The parking sensors are great front and back. When active they light up directly in front of you on the multi-function display. Both sound and color. When the green color bars move in closer to the truck and then turn “red” – watch out you are within inches.

      Toyota should kill the radio when the parking sensors are active…..you may not hear them if the radio is loud.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Yury,

      Hmm… I have driven the 2013 SR5 and Limited editions and don’t recall seeing the parking sensor. I have seen those sensors though in the Lexus products and I wonder if that is a Platinum trim level feature. Frankly, I don’t know what happened to them.

      Maybe some else can chime in. I’ll keep an eye in the forums and see if I can run across the answer too.

      Glad you liked the review.

      -Tim

      • Randy says:

        The Platinum and 1794 have the front and back parking sensors with color sensor display “standard”. It is also included on the Limited when ordered with the “Limited Luxury Package”. It was an excellent value for me, well worth it.

        “Bumper Beepers” – I never leave home without them.

        • Yury says:

          All trims starting from Limited in old version have them also. I keep them on all the time and I do shut the radio off when parking. Great they have the nice visual in ’14. Getting closer to the new Tundra.

  3. ricqik says:

    It’s a very nice truck with nice amenities, but it’s not for me. I prefer a double cab long box. It’s too bad this configuration isn’t available in this trim.

  4. mendonsy says:

    You must have tested the economy version. My dealer had one in stock with a $48k base price and a bottom line of $53.4k. That’s $20k more than my ’07 SR5 DC!

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Mendonsy,

      The prices I get come from stickers and includes dealers handling fees only. Whatever the deal tacks on or adds to it with options is extra and probably why it is $53k. I would guess that quite of few of these models go for that price.

      -Tim

      • mendonsy says:

        Yes, I understand that part. It seems like the base price would be the same though. Apparently the sticker prices are different for each region. This one was in the Northeast Region.
        The one SR5 that I have seen was a stripped down version (column shift, no options) but was about the same price as my ’07 with the SR5 and TRD packages.

  5. T says:

    I would defiantly agree, the 2014 models interior is vastly improved to put it mildly. At this point I could only justify getting a Limited. The costs have gone up to the BIG 3 price bracket with some of these trims.

    Either way, only after power-train improvements are implemented will I upgrade. The fuel economy numbers are as outdated as GM’s push-rod engines are.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      T,

      I see the fuel economy issue getting a lot of attention from Toyota in the next few years. Sweers has been HAMMERED on that issue and I am sure he is well aware of what the consumer market thinks of it.

      -Tim

    • Yury says:

      I do not even shop for a non V-8 due to work specifics. And compared to V-8 Hemi the fuel economy is the same if not better.

      • breathing borla says:

        not,

        I own a 2013 hemi 8-speed with a 3.92. sticker is 15/21 and that’s about what I get.

        I think Tim is right, sweers has been hammered on this and it will be addressed soon

        • Mason says:

          not, Consumer Reports testing yielded the exact same fuel economy for the 2014 Ram Hemi 8-speed, as the 2012 Tundra 6-speed 5.7L. Consumer Reports does the most thorough REAL WORLD testing out there

          I doubt you even have a Ram 8-speed.

  6. Randy says:

    Tim thanks for the current and realistic down to earth review. I have lived with my new 2014 Tundra close to 3 months now. The more I drive the more I like it. For me it is by far the best half ton I have owned “ever”.

    It replace the worst truck I ever owned the F150 Ecoboost; when the condensation issue bent a rod and piston skirts with less than 10,000 miles and Ford did not step up to the plate it was Goodbye Ford.

    There are so many pleasant surprises in the Tundra, each time I am in it, I just “Smile”. It works for me. Sure there may be some little things I wish it had; but the stuff it does have is perfect for me. And did I mention it just works!

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Randy,

      Glad you are happy with your truck! I like mine too and like I said was very disappointed when the 1794 had to go back!

      -Tim

  7. Mason says:

    Great review Tim, I am really starting to like the 1794 edition.

    I also love that brown paint. Depending on the light it can range from Brown, to Tan, to Orange, to Red,

  8. Mickey says:

    great review Tim. I like the idea of the 1794 but I’m not crazy about the brown color. Prefer black or dark grey.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Thanks Mickey! I wasn’t crazy about the brown at first either, yet it really does grow on you.

      -Tim

  9. Frenel says:

    I am still waiting on my Truck to arrive. While I added several other stuffs, like 20′ clad wheels, electrical tonneau, all the options, I am still not as excited as I should be because of the grill. I believe that the platinum has a better grill than the 1794. Toyota could have done better

    But boy, this truck has been built especially for guys like me.

    I have a 2007 Tundra that I purchased to buy stuffs at Home Depot. It is a simple truck. Then I fell in love with driving a truck and I have been garaging by BWM since, except in the summer.

    This is a truck for a Tough Metro-sexual guy like me. Tough But Sophisticated (TBS)! Toyota take note: TBS

  10. Sherri M. says:

    I’ve had my 1794 for about six months now and have to say it is one of the most versatile vehicles I have ever owned. My last two vehicles were Infiniti FX’s and before that I had a Toyota 4-Runner. This truck is so great! I’ve done a 2,000 mile roundtrip road trip from Florida to Baltimore and was comfortable for the entire trip. Love the cooled seats in the Florida heat and all of the apps, i.e., navigation, blue tooth, reads your text messages, etc. I don’t really feel like I lost anything moving from a luxury SUV to this vehicle. The ONLY think I miss from my Infinitis is the keyless option. I now have to actually take out my keys and put in the ignition. The flip up seats in the back are great for trips to the grocery store or hardware store and the towing capacity is more than adequate for my trailer with two Harleys. My Infinitis were both maxed out with the trailer and bikes and I never felt completely comfortable hauling them. Also, I am constantly getting compliments on the beautiful Sunset Bronze color. I think I’m going to be in love with this truck for a very long time.

  11. Tommy K says:

    enjoyed your review-then spent 2 hours at dealership scoping out the 1794 myself. very impressive ! The sunset mica really does grow on you. Think I’m going to trade in my 07 Tundra dbl. cab and hope they haven’t made to many changes for the 2015 model year as I’m going to have to order mine in order to get dual exhausts, fender flairs, etc. Just hope i can fit all my tools in that short bed. Look forward to your next review.

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