2016 Toyota Tundra 1794 Is a Road-Trip King

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By Thomas Voehringer

During previous road trips we discovered three important things about Texas: Speed limits are taken seriously by law enforcement, the weather can change quickly and there is a lot of empty space between cities.

A Texas A&M parents' weekend brought us to the middle of Texas from Los Angeles.

We used the trip to test-drive a 2016 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition CrewMax; it served us well on the long haul between L.A. and College Station, where Texas A&M resides, and during our time navigating the local roads in and around the university. Our traveling group was composed of five adults.

Our Test Drive

During a period of four days in College Station, we accumulated more than 500 miles and averaged 16 mpg in combined city/highway driving (most of the time with a full load of passengers and gear).

The 1794 Edition, a tribute to the oldest ranch in Texas where Toyota now builds the Tundra and Tacoma, is the most opulent of the Tundra trim packages. It's a show 'n' go package that tops out in each of those categories. While it was more luxurious than we needed for our traveling purposes, the 1794 is easy on the eye and user friendly on the road, no matter what the load.

The leather-clad opulence of the 1794 Edition and its quality fit and finish inside and out delighted my CrewMax crew. We also liked the value aspect to this package: Where the top-of-the-line Ram 1500s, Ford F-150s and GMC Sierra 1500 Denalis can stretch into the $60,000 range, our fully loaded and optioned Tundra was a touch more than $53,000.


Outside, the dark Sunset Bronze Mica finish was set off by silver and chrome highlights, front to back. The bold front end is busy but not heavy-handed and distinctive from its competitors. The CrewMax cab/bed strikes a well-balanced, proportionate profile, using a utilitarian 5.5-foot box while allowing rear-seat passengers tons of legroom.

Inside, the saddle leather/suede seats were striking against the black-and-silver interior. They felt as good as they looked for the first couple of hours of our trip; after three hours the bolstering became noticeable.

When not carrying human cargo, the rear seats fold up in a 40/60 split to provide extra storage. Larger trucks, especially with four-wheel drive, can present a challenge to people of small stature. A high step-in height makes it difficult to enter or exit the cabin unless you have a running board. The Tundra's overhead handles above the passenger doors helps with this challenge.

Both front seats were heated and ventilated; the driver seat had 12-way power adjustments, and the passenger seat had six. The center console was cavernous, and our model had the optional tray for easier access to stowed items.

Turn the key and the engine barks to life. Judging by the rumbling from the chrome-tipped dual exhaust, Toyota wants to constantly remind owners there's a big V-8 putting out 381 horsepower and 401 pounds-feet of torque. That rumble serves a purpose though - harkening the 10,000-pound towing capacity. Tip-in is easygoing, so you'll find little tire smoking or neck-snapping launches here, due in large part to advanced six-speed transmission tuning. Power comes on as a well-built V-8 should, smooth and solid.

Handling on the freeway, as well as smaller thoroughfares, was rock solid. The burbling exhaust all but disappeared while cruising (except at exactly 55 mph where a weird audio oscillation takes place that sounds like the exhaust is fighting with tire noise). The tight turning radius allowed for easy maneuvering in confined spaces, where the rear backup camera also helps.

The best road trips are the ones where the vehicle doesn't distract from the journey, but simply participates and facilitates movement. This Tundra made it all happen without provoking a thought or concern from driver or passengers.

The most significant features we didn't employ represent the truck's core capabilities: towing and off-road driving. Of course, no pickup is on work duty 100 percent of the time; the 1794 makes you feel at ease during that time off.

The 1794 Edition Toyota Tundra is more than a solid package. It's competent, powerful and a great ride for hauling a family or work crew in comfort.

Cars.com photos by Thomas Voehringer

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Very cool looking truck inside, I like it.

The one I ordered in 2007 and waited over a hundred days for it, turned ou to be the biggest pile of Sh.t that I have ever owned. Toyota spent 7grand rebuilding it under warranty. The seats were horrible. The trans and motor were good. It was a 4X4 but had a drive line vibration in 4X2 mode. It turn out to be a poor design of the spider gears in the front diff. They redesigned it then replaced the entire front diff. It rode horrible even with a load. At 15k miles and a year and a half of nothing trouble I sold it with every thing fixed. But the driver's seat was starting to fail again.

Just a great all around truck, nice write-up. It may not be the best riding, the most powerful, or be able to tow the most, but the fact is it does all of those well, while providing plenty of power, and still gets 16mpg, not to mention always listed as most reliable of any half-ton. That's a pretty competitive package, regardless of when the guts were designed. Real world, no marketing lies, it just works.

@Kyle: I agree, except I have you beat: Toyota put about $15000 into mine (Cam Tower Leak, Front axle and diff, HVAC unit, Rear Axle seal, Rear Axle Bearings and backing plate, pickup bed replaced due to rust, and tailgate rust)


One should never buy first year runs of any new model.

I rarely ever hear of any issues with Tundra and I know several owners.
I would consider one if they made it available with a crewcab and 6.5 box. The other limiting factor in BC where I live, they tend to be MSRP with little in the way of discounts.

You could get this Tundra,

...or you could shop the used car market and get a 6 year old, low miles, GMC Sierra Denali for half the dough.

One Denali please!

@Lou_BC: I've owned a 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 with Cummins that didn't give any problem, except for the exhaust had to be replaced and a cam sensor. I bought this truck with 60K miles.

I also had a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4, bought with 85K miles. Had this for four years. Replaced the brake lines, rear bumper for rust and a belt tensioner.

Tundra, a completely different story, bought new...

NoQDRTundra - I'm not doubting you had a lemon, It happens. But like I said, I rarely ever hear of issues with Tundra.
Dodge/Ram on th otherhand is an entirely different story. plenty of nightmare stories from people I know.

@ Lou i had a 2000 dodge ram 1500 crew cab for 15 years and it did not die until the day i traded it for a new one 2015 dodoge ram 1500 crew cab no problems with either one

CarsTrucks - sure

Bought my Tundra new in 07. Just turned over 114000 miles. A couple small recalls . New Alternator at 87000 under warranty. Have never regretted it. 17 mpg back in forth to work. ( Mostly freeway). Didn't buy it for mpg. Great truck.

Great truck. Still have mine since bought it new in 2007. I tow a lot with mine and has given me 105k trouble free miles so far. Only had to replace the water pump recently on my last oil change since it developed a small leak.

I'm not as motivated to buy a new truck since my Tundra is still a great truck with all the power I need to pull my toyhauler camp trailer and boat.

I actually drove one yesterday pulling a 22.5' blackjack boat. It's a buddy's truck that took me fishing. He consumed a few so I drove back bout 40 minutes to his house. Nice/ok truck nothing stood out or was extremely impressive. I was wondering what the 1794 package was. I'd prolly buy a f-150 over this if I was ready for a new one but he likes it a lot.

Every Truck maker manages to squeeze out a few lemon units every so often. I had one in 1991 with my K1500 Chevy 1500. I've been lucky since then however & my other trucks were great. Toyota's in general are good trucks.

Its only money.

Why shouldn't something that costs about 1/3 the price of a some townhouses be comfortable?

I bought my Tundra in 2008. It has been my favorite pickup out of all that I've owned. It has been very reliable, but I did have to replace the water pump cause it started to weep.

Much more reliable than my dad's 2008 Fiat--the seat was trashed quickly, trans went out, turbo was a dud, head gasket gone, heater blend door issues, back window leaked--and this was all after he threatened lemon law on the dealer since the DPF had left him stranded 3 times.

That said, I'd rather take a fast sedan on a road trip. I'll be driving my wife's G8 GT to Colorado Springs today--great road trip car.

All the Tundra's (4 total) I've had have been great. Just traded for a 2016 4x4 Platinum Tundra and it's awesome. Walked out the door with it for $47,500 (MSRP $51,000).

All of my Tundra's have been lifted (~3") with 35" tires and I have had zero issues with any truck.
No vibrations or any issues. I installed the Bilstein 6112 coilovers (TRD-Pro coilovers without the resi) and Bilstein 5160 rear shocks (remote resi) and my 2016 Platinum rides buttery smooth.

The stock Tundra suspension is pretty choppy and floaty feeling, but with the Bilsteins made the truck ride like butter. The truck can hit speed bumps at 45 mph and no jarring inside the truck. It honestly reminds me of how the F150 Raptor and TRD Pro Tundra ride, smooth but firm. No floaty feeling like the stock setup.

I'm happy with my Platinum Tundra, only thing I wish Toyota did was give us projector headlamps, the single bulb reflector headlights are pretty sad. Not as crappy as the Super Duty headlights, but the 2014+ tundra lamps are a step down from the 07-13 quad bulb headlights.

My 2007 warranty rebuild items: torque converter, the entire drive shaft, the drivers seat which has a side air bag $2500 and the front differential for which I had a drive line vibration in 2 wheel drive, driving it home new of the dealers lot it was vibrating. I had that vibration until Toyota admitted it had a redesigned differential.(15,000 miles and 1.5 years) until that admission they called it "vehicle charitaristics" and said nothing was wrong with it! The diff was like $2800, the drive shaft was from a new suppler$1800 and I can't remember what they charged for the torque converter. Add it up and it was a lot.

Dav Dav, hey Dav not here man, hey your dads "2008 fiat" was NOT a Fiat! it was a Dodge Ram, Fiat only just come into the picture in the past couple of years, Even so, it is still a much better work truck than a tundra will ever be!

@Kyle did Toyota say it was normal or did the DEALER say it was normal? Sounds like you had a crappy dealer. The Toyota reps and Toyota corporate have been very good in any of my issues. It's the dealerships (owned by people not Toyota) that give the headaches.

Toyota replaced some parts on my old truck that were damaged due to a lift kit and hard offroading, I had to go above the dealer to Toyota corp to get the repair approved as the dealer originally said that there was no warranty due to the lift.

@Jack: The front end problem Kyle speaks of is TSB-0121-08, commonly referred to as front end growl; applies to 4wd trucks only.

There's a lottery involved in reliability ratings. The top brands might experience problems on only one vehicle out of 100 while the bottom brands experience problems on ten vehicles out of 100. But you're just as screwed either way if you get a problem vehicle.

I'm an old guy and I've owned a lot of vehicles going back to my 1956 Hillman Husky.

I've concluded that, one, in general, newer vehicles have been more reliable. I'd never want to have to back to replacing points and setting dwell. I'd never want to go back to carburetors. I haven't replaced an exhaust on anything newer than my 1986 Tercel.

Two, the six Toyotas I have owned have far outlasted anything else I've driven with two of them going to 300,000 miles and beyond. But of the six, the 2002 Tundra has been the worst.

Three out of the four Fords were disasters. Two of the four Chrysler products were disasters. The four GM vehicles had varying degrees of problems but all were pretty cheap to keep running. The Saabs were remarkably trouble free while the lone other Japanese car, a 1972 Datsun 510, suffered burned valves very early in its life.

In spite of its problems, I wouldn't trade the Tundra for the best of my Chrysler or Ford vehicles, and I probably wouldn't look that direction in the future. If I ever get another pickup I'd probably look for a late model Silverado 2500 with the 6.0L gas engine. I tend to use the Tundra almost exclusively for hauling and towing, and a 3/4 ton truck would suit my uses better.

Love how whenever there is a Toyota article the same three guys that had a bad experience go off about what terrible truck the Tundra is, as if to minimize Tundra's best in class reliability & dependability rating.
Sure every car maker isn't perfect, but if folks were honest about their fords, chevy's and dodge's repairs we would need a new server on this site!

@DJ: Yeah, that's right. We bought into the QDR BS and didn't get what we paid for. As I stated earlier, I had much better luck with used trucks than a new Tundra. As I state on my site, great engineering went into the Tundra, but assembly and parts did not meet that level of commitment.

@DJ: Also, you make it sound like we're the only three guys to have a serious problem with the Tunda. Using google search for "cam tower leak tundra", "tundra water pump problems", "tundra bed rust", and you know I could go on.

Regarding the water pump: In the Tundra Deconstructed Series on YouTube, an engineer talks about how stainless steel is used for the impeller. Well, that's great to hear but impellers don't fail, it's mostly the bearings. Shouldn't put the money in the bearings if you ask me...

Everyone knows that in reliability Toyota is always at the top. The fan boys of the miserable three will never see it any different.

Buy a Tundra.
Made in Texas by real Texans.

Toyota just doesn't live up to the quality & reliability reputation they've always enjoyed. The Tundra has plenty of glaring issues that have yet to been addressed. NoQDRTundra mentioned a few of them. For how few 2nd Gen Tundras have been sold, you see a lot of common and expensive problems come up in the message boards. The 5.7's piston slap and valve rattles alone should tell you how cheaply-made these trucks have become. Same with their poorly made differentials. They tout the heavy dutty rear axle but tthe internals just aren't of consistent quality. Seen plenty of diff failures due to soft components. The AB60 is pretty problematic for an Aisin unit.

No positive trac, 13 mpg, barely up to the 2002 Big 3 standards, but you wrote a very nice propaganda article about the clunker. Now if you had your choice, between one of the Big 3's and the tonka, which writer would take it..............thought so,none of you and not the author.

Btw, it only sells 9000 units a month, not even a reason to post it in monthly truck sales except as an embarrassment. You also forgot to mention it is made in Texas, by uneducated hillbilly's with no machining knowledge like the midwest machinists in Indiana & Michigan with machining skills. The only worse place to build trucks is Mississippi, Alabama, & South Carolina were the skill level of workers stops at balsa wood toy airplanes.

No doubt the Fiat plant in Saltillo Mexico and the Ford plant in Hermosillo employ only fine craftsmen, unlike the Texas hillbillies that make the Tundra.

For the record, I tried a couple of times to get Toyota to buy my Tundra back and they wouldn't, siting the limitation of Lemon Law for my state. The problem is I was outside the 3 year window and I did not have a reoccurring problem that couldn't be fixed. When chatting with Toyota, I explained I kept having problems and it was the accumulation of them was leading to my bad ownership experience. They didn't listen.

I too was a diehard Tundra fan, siting the QDR as the main selling point, only to experience that the Tundra is not a typical Toyota product.

@ Sandman 4x4,

You are partially right--it SHOULD be a better work truck.

But the QDR is SO abysmal and it spends SO much time in the shop it is embarrassing.

Oh my flipping...the Ford guys are talking about the Toyota having problems! Now I have heard it all. Fords are so disposable they should come with an expiration date like a gallon of milk. Drive by any used car lot and all you see is tons and tons of Fords. Everyone buys one until they drive one and then it's back to the dealership. They're cheap poorly made and unreliable.

@Cooper: If the Fords are so bad then why to they continue to be the sales leader year after year after year?

A lot of fanboys hurt that Toyota makes the most reliable truck. I've owned them all and my Titan and Tundra gave me the fewest issues. The ford was garbage and they sell well thanks to fleets and cash on the hood. The ram was decent but a lot of electrical gremlins. My Silverado was the best of the big three but the interior fell apart fast. The same two keep bringing up the two tundras that had issues. Sorry about your luck but you're the minority. Go to any f150 forum and see the gripes about the new f150. Enjoy

I would consider a new Tundra if they would only make the empty to lightly loaded ride be decent.

The 2010 model that I test drove for about 60 some miles, the back end just felt like it was just bouncing along.

I have a friend that has a 2010 model, he doesn't like changing the oil cause he's gotta drop some panel underneath the engine.

But I would consider a Tundra long before I would consider a brand new GM truck.

Maybe someday Toyota will actually do some fine-tuning on it.

@TRX-4 Tom- they retuned the suspension for 2014. Give it another look.

I just got done driving them ALL ... and the Tundra was no doubt the roughest riding and poorest mileage of the bunch. I was looking for economy as in under a month I have 4700 miles on my new 2016 EcoDiesel and friggen love it! Got the Crew with the 6.4' bed - Laramie - 4X4. Averaging 27 MPG since new with a best of 30.2 mpg at 67 MPH on a 3 hour road trip ...

Anyone that bashes the new F150 / RAM 1500 / GM upscale trucks has not been in one lately. They are all really nice and drive great. The interior of the Laramie and infotainments system takes the cake - along with the Eco and 8spd tranny.

The Tundra was just - hate to say it - too much like a 1998 TRUCK ... LOL

@ Nismo Titan: go to the forums and search for Cam Tower Leak, Water Pump, Steering Rack, main seal leak, and paint problems.

@Mr Knowitall: I'm currently paying on a car now, but in 2019 or 2020 I plan to buy a new truck. I don't need to tow super heavy, maybe six thousand pounds at the most.

I will probably look at them all by then, cuz there will probably be numerous changes.

But I can tell you right now the Tundra would have to improve on the mileage if I was to buy it.

This topic always seems to come up when we talk about Toyota trucks. It seems that people say are you buying a truck for mileage?

No, I'm buying a truck that will do what I need it to do and if it could get decent mileage that's great. If I really want mileage, I drive my 2015 Sentra SL. I know my 1988 Dodge Daytona turbo 2 car with a 5-speed will not get awesome mileage but it'll be a lot better than a truck, and I also have a V6 midsize car.

So I'm not expecting the truck to get car like mileage, but why would I not look at the mileage when buying a truck?

I do like that they changed the interior some on the Tundra. The new front end doesn't look too bad.

Honestly, the mileage in the Tundra didn't bother me, after all it's about a 3 ton truck. What I did like about it was the drive train; definitely enough power and great acceleration.

This will be my next car.

@Cooper: If the Fords are so bad then why to they continue to be the sales leader year after year after year?

Posted by: NoQDRTundra | May 22, 2016 11:57:25 AM

Cheep Fleet!

Dodge/Ram on th otherhand is an entirely different story. plenty of nightmare stories from people I know.

Posted by: Lou_BC | May 19, 2016 5:50:16 PM


Ram Trucks | Heavy Duty & 1500 | America's Longest-Lasting Pickups

The dealer said Toyota says its "normal vehicle characteristics"


NO HUMAN ALIVE has EVER drove all the new trucks and said the Tundra rides the worst.... Ford OWNS that one. There is no comparison at all. If you drove an F150 got out and got into a tundra you would NEVER look at the Ford again.

I currently have a 2011 tundra sr5 trd off road. I would agree it isn't the best on gas, has weak paint and the interior isn't the greatest quality (as compared to my 05 tundra) and rides a bit rough. Other than the cam tower leak (fixed for free) and a broken leaf spring (horribly overloaded by me many times) that has been it for warranty issues. Everyone I know with a dodge has had the problems, front suspension failing and everyone has a window motor that dies. Older gm's after 4 years have interior parts that literally fall off in your hand. Never mind the crazy electronic glitches all gms have (I have a 2001 caddy sls and talk about electronic issues holy crap). But I will say one thing about Toyota that most other manufacturers cannot say, after trading my 05 in and 70k kms and 4 years later (bought it at 2 years old) it is only worth $2000 less than I paid (interest and tax not included) for it according to kbb. Try that in dodge or gm, or even a ford.

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