WASHINGTON, August 14, 2012 – Toyota’s “1794” edition of its Tundra-series pick-up brings the company onto the main stage of luxury pick-up trucks that are still very functional. Never mind the fact that the spoils inside the main cab of this truck surround the driver and passengers in luxury because this V8-powered 4-door truck can also work its tailgate off.
Toyota truck owners are some of the most loyal on Earth so it’s little surprising that Toyota would release a truck of this magnitude. It has the legendary – almost “God-like’ – reliability of Toyota with very good hauling/towing capacity while keeping everyone inside very cozy.
This 1794 Edition is named in honor of the JLC Ranch which was on the property of the planet in San Antonio Texas that now builds the Tundra.
Under the hood lies a beast of an engine, the 5.7-liter i-Force V8. This 32-valve, aluminum block motor with variable valve timing whops out 381 horsepower at 5600rpm and a “getter done” 401 lb-ft of torque at only 3600 rpm. The torque being available at a relatively low rpm rate is crucial for truck owners who need the pulling power available sooner than later in the power band.
It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic with a shifter on the middle console, which does have a better look to it – in my opinion – than those of shifters on the steering column. Shifting was good under normal driving conditions around town and on the freeway. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to test it under a heavy load so we can’t speak to that.
However, Toyota does claim the truck has a towing capacity of 9,000 lbs.
EPA rates this thirsty truck at a mere 13/17 mpg for the city and highway respectively, which is a bit below competition from the comparable Silverado High Country. Overall mpg experienced by us was around 16mpg combined city/highway.
The quality of materials and color combinations inside the 1794 are simply brilliant. The use of beautiful leather with various trim components give the truck a rugged yet comfortable feel inside. It can be liken to snuggling up to a warm fire in the middle of winter. While it’s hard to completely pinpoint which area stands out the most, we feel most everyone will feel “at home” inside the cabin of this truck.
Technology is at-hand here as well, including Bluetooth hands-free, Bluetooth audio, CD/MP3/WMA, satellite radio and on-board navigation. While the touchscreen is rather responsive, its overall look to the graphical user interface does come across as a bit dated. Most people should find that programming destinations into the navigation is pretty straight forward, however, it’s not the easiest setup we’ve found to date. Overall, however, it’s good just not excellent. Sound quality of the JBL-powered audio system is also very good and does surpass the fidelity of some of this truck’s competitors. It easily has enough power and clarity to crank up and sound clear, even with the windows down.
Other creature comforts are cruise control, power windows – even a power read window which is a very fun touch – power locks, remote locks, heated/cooled seats, USB, sunroof, parking assist, and power ports. Rubber floor mats with a patch of carpet on them are standard on the 1794 and equally look as stated as they are functional for a truck that looks just as great going out to town as it does on a ranch.
Ride quality is about what one would expect on a ½-ton pick-up truck but perhaps a touch smoother. It’s still firm like a truck but we found it to be rather forgiving on longer trips on the freeway. It feels somewhat “agile” considering its size and really is a joy to drive – at no time did it ever feel “taxing”.
We really like how the Tundra looks on the outside as well. There’s a certain “durable” yet sophisticated look to it and the inclusion of the 1794’s chrome rims bring a touch of elegance. While I’m keenly aware that many hardcore truck lovers will look at these kinds of rims as being too “sissy-like”, one needs to remember the intended buyer for this version of the Tundra.
Its improved front fascia, flared fenders, nice body lines, large front grill and big wheels do help it look a bit aggressive but its doubtful most buyers of a luxury truck like this will ever take it out to get dirty much.
As with other luxury trucks, the 1794 does come at a more premium price tag as well. The price starts at $47,320 and can easily creep up to $49k if it’s fully loaded like our test model was.
Overall, Toyota has not really moved the bar at all with the 1794 as it has a truck that does not get as good as fuel economy as some of its competitors and has less horsepower/torque which yields a lower towing capacity. This is clearly a truck that will mostly cater to those who are already fans of the brand and want to stick with Toyota for its legendary reliability.
It’s been great to see the Tundra evolve and that Toyota has put out this truck, let’s hope that next year it’ll even be more compelling versus its competition.