Texas and Toyota are not two words that most truck guys would put together. However, they have more in common than you might think. Since 2007, Toyota has been producing the Tundra exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. (TMMTX), their San Antonio–based assembly plant that employs more than 2,800 Texans. In fact, TMMTX is built on a 2,600-acre portion of a cattle ranch that dates back to 1794. This heritage inspired the name of the new western-themed trim level for the redesigned 2014 Tundra: the 1794 Edition.

Approaching the 2014 Tundra, we were greeted with a reworked exterior and a tough new look. The taller frontend design looks imposing, and slightly squared-off wheel wells with chiseled flares add to the burly appearance without going overboard (we’re looking at you, Chevy). Our favorite exterior cue is the embossed Tundra lettering in the tailgate, which harkens back to the old ’80s-era Toyota pickups. We also really liked the Sunset Bronze Mica paint, which transitions from dark brown to vibrant copper hues in direct sunlight. On the other hand, we definitely aren’t fans of the tacky chrome 20-inch wheels on this package -- the Limited package’s split five-spoke alloys look much more upscale.

Powertrain-wise, the Tundra hasn’t changed, and it’s still running the same 5.7L V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. This combination provides sufficient power but suffers from less-than-stellar fuel economy due to its lack of direct injection technology and more forward gears. Toyota was tight-lipped about future engine replacement prospects, but we know they’re going to have to step up soon to compete with GM’s new EcoTec3 motors. Towing performance is a solid 9,500 pounds, and payload capacity weighs in at 1,415 pounds.

The outgoing Tundra’s interior felt rather cheap and plasticky, so it’s refreshing to see the 2014 models have received a ground-up redesign. The 1794 Edition features perforated saddle-brown leather and ultra-suede on the seats, console, doors, and dash, resulting in a luxurious feel that we didn’t expect from a Tundra. Seats are both heated and cooled, and the truck’s ride is smooth with minimal road noise. Gone are the coffee-can gauges and awkward HVAC/radio controls, which have been replaced by a more logical and elegant design. We also appreciated the 12-speaker JBL audio system and dual full-color LCD screens. It’s almost like the interior design team was taking notes from Toyota’s Lexus division.

Overall, the 2014 Tundra pleasantly surprised us, and we’d say the 1794 Edition package is about on par with the Big Three’s offerings. However, despite the improvements, we know Toyota is going to fight an uphill battle to convince Texans to embrace the Tundra. There’s a lot of brand loyalty in the high-end luxury truck segment, and it seems like many truck owners will have a hard time dropping nearly $50,000 on a Toyota. Regardless, there’s no debating that the redesign is a big step forward and the Tundra is now more competitive than ever.


2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition CrewMax 4X4
Base Price: $45,265
Price as Tested: $49,350
Engine
Type 5.7L DOHC V-8 with dual VVT-i
Displacement: 346 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Horsepower: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Recommended Fuel: 87 octane or higher (E85 capable)
Drivetrain
Layout: Front engine, 4WD
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with overdrive, on-demand 4WD, and electronically controlled two-speed transfer case
Brakes: Four-wheel ventilated discs, 13.9-inch front and 13.6-inch rear
Wheels: 20-inch chrome-clad
Tires: P275/55R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L
Performance
Tow Capacity: 9,500 lbs (with 4.30 rear axle)
0-60: 6.5 seconds
¼-mile: 15.0 seconds @ 89 mph
60-0: N/A
Observed Gas Mileage: 16.6 mpg