Jun 112015

2014-06-10 tundra5

Year after year, more trucks are sold in Texas than anywhere else in the country, making Texas the top truck market and the battle over it, pretty fierce.

In a genius move, Toyota opted to build its half-ton entry, the Tundra, in San Antonio in 2006, making it the only Texas-built pickup and Toyota a major employer, bringing more than 2300 jobs to the Alamo city. That number will expand further when Toyota relocates its headquarters to Plano, TX next year.

2014-06-10 tundraIn 2014, Toyota took it up one more notch by introducing a special edition model, the Tundra 1794, a premium pickup named for the eighteenth century ranch in San Antonio founded by Juan Ignacio de Casanova and upon which the Toyota manufacturing plant currently sits.

On a recent test drive in Austin for Latino Traffic Report, the Tundra 1794 lived up to its position at the top of Toyota’s truck lineup.

For starters, it’s a premium pickup and that means the interior should be plush and this one is. The 1794 comes only in the CrewMax (supersized four-door) configuration giving it seating for five full-size passengers.

2014-06-10 tundra42014-06-11 tundraDesign cues on the inside reflect a western theme with exclusive saddle brown (or more like nice burnt orange for Texas Longhorn fans) 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.

Standard features like an AM/FM/CD stereo get upgraded to the Entune Premium JBL stereo with a seven-inch touch screen and navigation. Additionally, the power back window facing the bed, fancy floor mats with the 1794 brand, a tilt-sliding moonroof with sliding shade, and heated and cooled front seats are standard.

Parking in a parking garage made manageable with the back-up camera.

Parking in a parking garage made manageable with the back-up camera.

Toyota doesn’t offer a V6 engine on the Tundra, instead a 4.6-liter V8 is considered the standard engine. The 1794, however, comes with an upgrade—the 5.7-liter iForce V8 with 381 horses and 401 lb-ft of torque.

Matched to a six-speed transmission, it has an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 13/17 miles per gallon (mpg). I averaged 16.2 mpg. The powertrain also has a towing capacity of 9,800 lbs. and a maximum payload of nearly 1600 pound in the 5.5-foot bed.

When it comes to safety features, a back-up camera and park2014-06-06 tundra6.licing sensor are standard but the blind-spot monitor with rear-cross traffic detection remains a $470 option, even on the 1794. I’d certainly pay the extra price for these features, especially on a truck.

Pricing for the 2015 Tundra 1794 starts at $46,120. The as-tested price, which included the 4×4 configuration and a few other options like the blind-spot monitor, came to $49,715.

Sí: Attention to details and premium features make the Tundra 1794 competitive in its segment.

No: The blind-spot monitor should be standard on a top-of-the-line truck.


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