We drive the 2014 Toyota Tundra 4×4 1794 edition

Top of the line Toyota Tundra 4×4 1794 edition

Everyone needs a truck at some point. It may be for your job or your hobby but a truck comes in very handy sometimes. Toyota's Tundra has been one of the best since the 2007 model was introduced and for 2014 it has been restyled with some improvements. We wanted to see how good the Tundra has become so we picked up a top of the line 1794 Edition to find out.

"Toyota prides itself on listening to its customers and the development of the 2014 American-born Tundra is a perfect example," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "Tundra's new exterior design and new interior were inspired by customer feedback requesting a more chiseled exterior and refined interior, with improved driver ergonomics, and easy-to-use technology, giving customers more of what they want." The changes are very slight and are not very noticeable but at least on the 1794 Edition, the interior quality was superb with an almost Lexus like feeling with the leather and wood. Unfortunately, there were still areas in the interior that were made of hard plastics but they are not hidden away.

Tundra offers three cab styles: two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab, and the super-sized four-door CrewMax. Tundra Regular Cab and Double Cab models are offered in standard bed (78.7-inch) or long bed (97.6-inch) configurations, while the CrewMax comes with a 66.7-inch bed. All beds are 22.2-in. deep.

Our truck was the CrewMax and it offered a huge back seat area that was roomier than some limousines. The tradeoff is that you get a rather short bed on the CrewMax. The Double Cab with the 8 foot bed makes much more sense and is more useful as a truck while still providing plenty of rear seat room.

Well appointed interior

The CrewMax provides too much rear legroom and the 1794 Edition is also too much. The 1794 Edition reflects a western lifestyle theme and includes exclusive saddle brown premium leather-trimmed seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents. Matching soft-touch materials also accent the shift console, the front and rear door trim, and the instrument panel. Like the Platinum, the 1794 Edition includes an array of standard features that includes heated and ventilated front seats, and Entune Premium JBL Audio with navigation and much more. You can save a lot of money by skipping the 1794 Edition and going with a lower grade and you will lose none of the capability of the Tundra.

Speaking of capability, the Tundra is one tough beast. The entry level engine is a 4.0 liter V6 that puts out 270 hp. A step up from that is the 4.6 liter V8 that ups that to 310 hp. Most buyers though select the top of the line engine which is a 5.7 liter V8 with 381 hp. The 4.0 liter is rated at 16 mpg city and 20 mpg on the freeway while the 4.6 is rated at 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. The big 5.7 is rated at 13 mpg and 18 mpg. The 5.7's fuel economy numbers will remind you that driving this beast everyday will end up costing you.

When equipped with a tow package, Tundra has a maximum tow capacity of 10,400 pounds (4×2 Regular Cab). A one-piece towing receiver is integrated into the frame prior to bed installation. Tow Package rear springs help provide level full-load rear suspension height and maintain a full range of suspension travel.

The Tow Package also upgrades Tundra's cooling and electrical systems. Integrated engine and transmission oil coolers help handle the demands of towing under a full load, and a heavy-duty battery and alternator are added, as well. The seven-and four-pin towing hitch connectors sit above the hitch to help avoid damage during high-departure-angle driving.

Electrical upgrades include an under-dash connector pre-wire for a third-party trailer brake controller, both seven- and four-pin trailer brake connectors near the hitch, and an up-rated alternator. On 5.7-liter models, heated, power, outside tow mirrors with turn signal indicators and manual-extend feature are available.

Dashboard of the 1794 edition

With the Towing Package, the six-speed automatic transmission gains a tow/haul shift mode, selectable by a dedicated switch. The tow/haul mode applies specific logic for adjusting the throttle sensitivity and transmission shift control, favoring and holding lower gears when accelerating or decelerating to help enhance control and safety. Standard for all models, Trailer Sway Control uses the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract handling forces applied to the truck in an effort to minimize the impact of trailer sway.

We tried to tow a 5000 pound trailer and the Tundra handled it like it was nothing. Even climbing the steepest hills, it did not even make the Tundra sweat. This motor's power is amazing and it is no surprise that most buyers select it. It feels like a racing engine and is always eager to scream ahead. We were tempted to go even beyond the truck rated capacity and hook up a 12,000 pound trailer but decided against it but it feels like it can tow almost anything.

Several enhancements have been implemented on the 2014 Tundra to improve performance. Shock-absorber valving has been re-tuned to improve ride quality over harsh surfaces. Steering feel and straight-line stability have been enriched due to steering-system-enhancements. These reduce the inputs from road variations and imperfections, resulting in improved straight line stability and less driver fatigue. Patented aerodynamic stabilizer fins are added to the outside surface of the rear tail lamp lens, and the outside mirror bases. These patented "Aero-Fins" reduce the air turbulence along the sides of the vehicle and also aid in enhancing straight-line stability during normal driving conditions and while towing.

Interior cabin noise is reduced by the advanced design of engine compartment NVH treatments and innovative engineering. Among the many design developments are the installation of a new hood insulator design, a sound-absorbing dash, reduced windshield angles, a non-breathable headliner, door trim pads, and body mounts under the dash and rear panels help to reduce sound transmission from the engine compartment to the vehicle cabin.

Tundra's advanced TripleTech frame uses wide, full-boxed rails for the front portion, a reinforced C-channel under the cab and an open C-channel underneath the bed to help maximize strength, ride quality and durability. The double A-arm front suspension uses coil-over spring shock units, while a front-mounted steering rack helps enhance steering feel and response. The rear suspension uses staggered shocks mounted outboard of the springs to improve the shocks' dampening efficiency. Spring rates are tuned to provide a flat vehicle stance when fully loaded.

All of this does not come cheap but the beauty of the Tundra is that you can pretty much select only what is important to you so you don't have to pay for stuff that you don't need. Base price for an entry level SR regular cab 4×2 is only $25,920 that price can double to just about $50,000 if you are not careful with options. A very good play and work truck choice may well be the SR5 grade double cab 4×4 which goes for about $34,000. The choices are numerous and it all comes down to your wallet size but if you want a very capable and well-built truck, it does not get much better than the Tundra.

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