2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Package Review – Incredible
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons