1794 Crewmax (Similar to Ford’s Texas Ranch)
6-cylinder: not available!
8-cylinder: 10,400 lbs. (without tow package)
8-cylinder: 16,000 lbs. (with tow package)
What’s New: Since joining the large truck segment 7 years ago, this is the first major redesign for the Toyota Tundra. Nine models are available for 2014. In addition to the truck being restyled inside and out, a new uplevel trim package joins the lineup, the 1794 Edition. The 1794 Edition is named for the ranch that houses the Tundra assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas. The 1794 Edition is only available in a Crewmax. This high-end model is equipped with such features as a silver lower front bumper with chrome end caps, 20-inch wheels, a leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel, leather cowhide seats, LED running lights, additional cup holders and a power sunroof. In many ways, the Platinum Crewmax model mirrors the 1794 Edition.
As it relates to exterior changes, the Tundra wears a taller new grille, a new bed design, a new tailgate with the name of the truck stamped into the sheet metal, giving the truck a tougher look.
Inside the Tundra, the instrument panel has been reworked. The gauges are easier to read, there is a center-mounted multi information LCD screen, upgraded hand-stitched panels in upper trim levels like the Platinum model we spent some time with at a media press event. The balanced and centered instrument panel also gives the Tundra a more polished look and shows an attention to detail that was lacking in the previous model.
And to improve the suspension system, shock absorbers valving has been reworked to improve the ride quality over harsh surfaces. We noticed it immediately upon taking a Tundra SR5 Crewmax out on an extensive off-road course. While we were expecting to be whipped back-and-forth by the mounds of rocks, dirt and gravel, to our surprise, Toyota’s suspension system easily accommodated the off-road experience.
Moreover, the Tundra is one of the first trucks in the segment to offer LED front lights and an electronic blind spot detection system coupled with a cross-wind traffic alert system, when backing up. These two much needed safety features will surely reduce accidents. In our opinion, both features should be standard on all pick ups.
Standout Features: In addition to a 6-cylinder and two 8-cylinder engines, all carryovers from the previous model, the Tundra is available in three cabs, a regular cab, a double cab and a crew cab. Tundra buyers can also opt for either a 4×2 or a 4×4 with most of these configurations.
Cons: As of now, Toyota plans to focus on the ½ ton market. There are no plans for a ¾ or a 1 ton model to go after the Detroit 3, Ford, GM and Dodge, heavy duty segment. Furthermore, the newest model, the 1794 Edition Crewmax, barley distinguishes itself from the Platinum Crewmax model.
Lastly, pricing on the entry model Tundra is a little higher than the ‘Detroit Three’ pick ups.
Early Verdict: Toyota has made great strides with the second-generation Tundra, making it bigger, bolder and in some cases more luxurious, when one opts for the brand-new model, the 1794 Edition, which goes head-to-head with the Ford’s King Ranch model. Toyota expects to increase sales with the new Tundra approximately 30 percent during the first full calendar year of production in a segment expected to push out more than 1.6-million trucks. Although realistically the folks at Toyota realize that they are just a small player in a segment that is heavily dominated by Ford, Chevy, GMC and Dodge, they expect to more than the 101,000 units they put out on the streets in 2012.
To achieve this sales goal, the sales team plans are to target the family segment, lifestyle-oriented buyers and traditional skill workers. With the housing market expanding again, this is welcome news for the truck segment again. Furthermore, Toyota plans to place a special emphasis on Hispanic buyers too, since early studies indicate that they are really drawn toward buying the 2014 Tundra at a higher rate than other demographics.
Competition: Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him twitter/JeffCars.