It is quite amazing how vehicle trends have changed over the years. Maybe I’m just late to the party, but it seems that the new reigning king of the “Dad-mobile” world is the four door pickup truck. Who knew that what was originally intended as a way to move a work crew and their equipment would evolve into the ultimate compromise between work and family needs. Of course, most of these trucks will never see a offroad adventure greater than the backyard, but that doesn’t really matter. For the longest time Dad-hood was greeted with the choice between the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry. One day you are cruising the town in your Mustang, the next you are trying to figure out which silver sedan in the parking lot is yours. Fatherhood, it sneaks up on you.
But I digress because the four door pickup truck is here to save us! And the options on the market are amazing, which brings us to our subject: the 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax optioned with the 1794 Edition package. In case you didn’t notice, this option package is a direct smack at the King Ranch edition available in Ford’s truck lineup. Adding the 1794 Edition package gets you a “Western themed” interior featuring leather seats, special floor mats, a unique steering wheel, and special badging. On the outside you get acres of extra chrome, a unique grille, and of course more badging. Oddly even with the extra flourishes the 1794 Edition package doesn’t feel gaudy or over the top. All this comes with a sticker price right at $46k. A similarly equipped F150 King Ranch edition stickers for just under $48k which should give shoppers something to think about, especially since the Toyota’s V8 out-muscles the Ford by 21 horsepower and 21 lb./ft. of torque.
Since this is a pickup truck I set about doing something manly with it: moving my vintage motorcycle (a 1973 Honda XL175). My previous mode of motorcycle transportation was a pickup with a 7-foot bed. The Tundra in CrewMax configuration has a 5.5-foot bed. I was a little concerned about making the trek to my storage unit and leaving empty handed. As you can see though the bike fit with no problems. Plenty of room in the bed and the modular bed rails made tying down a cinch.
Our next task was a quick run down to the family farm. If anyone would give me an honest opinion of a pickup truck, it would be the agricultural arm of my family. The three hour drive was quite pleasant with the truck averaging 18 mpg, which is spot on the EPA estimate. The 381-hp DOHC V8 delivers plenty of power and the 6-speed automatic never had a problem delivering the right gear. Luckily we timed our visit with lunch which is not to be missed on the farm.
Moving onward we parked the Tundra along side the other work trucks and let everyone have a look. I was expecting some grief for it being a Toyota or being too fancy, but they liked it! They didn’t bat an eye at the $46k sticker price either. To these guys a truck is a tool and a major part of their work day. It is their office, their family car, and a money maker when it is time to head to market. I think it speaks volumes for how far Toyota has come in the full size truck market when they can win the respect what I consider the heart & soul of the American truck market.
On the way back home I realized just how far Toyota has come with their truck line in the North American market. It has been almost 45 years since the first little HiLux rolled off the docks and onto our soil. Now Toyota builds full size trucks deep in the heart of Texas just for our us. I have to wonder if we have finally reached the point where the Tundra is no longer considered a “ferrin’ car” by the vary consumers it was designed to attract. If that is true, then Toyota deserves a round of applause.