Until today, the Toyota Tundra has essentially been the truck of your father-in-law who shuns American brands. It is the quiet member of the full-size pickup class and is, statistically, less often seen on consumer shopping lists.
Hence, spotting one on a construction site or towing a camper is a relatively rare occurrence. With that said, things might soon take a turn for the best thanks to the 2022 edition of the Tundra.
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It is now powered by a pair of brand-new turbocharged powertrains (including a hybrid version) and torque of up to 583 lb-ft, not to mention its beefier look and modernized cabin that rivals and even surpasses some of the top trucks in the industry in terms of technology.
The Car Guide stopped in the Peterborough, Ontario region last week to get a sneak peek at the 2022 Toyota Tundra prior to its official launch.
Whole New, Muscular Looks
The 2022 Toyota Tundra is available in several variants, including the SR, SR5 Limited, Platinum, 1794, and, of course, TRD Pro. It is also offered with two types of cabins (Double Cab and CrewMax) and three bed sizes: 5.5 feet, 6.5 feet, and 8.1 feet.
The Tundra’s gigantic new grille inspires sturdiness, while LED lighting gives the truck the presence it deserves in a segment where rivals tend to show their fangs. The TRD Pro variant, one of two versions featured at the event, was dressed in an exclusive orange tint complemented by various wheel arch and tailgate protectors in a unique camouflage pattern.
This TRD Pro variant was fitted with a beautiful set of BBS rims, which managed to successfully combine elegance and ruggedness. The new Tundra sits on a new, fully-boxed frame and is paired with a completely redesigned suspension that uses coil springs instead of leaf springs. Models equipped with the TRD Off-Road package use Bilstein shocks, while the TRD Pro model is armed with FOX shocks that raise the body by 1.1 inches.
Out with the V8, In with the V6
Toyota kept the i-FORCE name for its new hybrid powertrain. However, this badge that adorns the plastic protector on the intake manifold is the only remnant of the old engine. There are now two turbocharged six-cylinder engines to choose from. The first is a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. The second is the i-FORCE MAX and retains the same displacement, but receives an electric motor inserted between the engine and transmission. This engine is paired with a 288V nickel-metal battery. The result is rather impressive, with 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft, all of which is available at 2,400 rpm. An all-new 10-speed automatic is paired with both powertrains.
One of the deal breakers for pickup truck buyers is undoubtedly towing capacity. Toyota says the 2022 Tundra will be able to tow up to 12,000 pounds, in addition to offering a payload capacity of up to 1,940 pounds, which is an 11% improvement over the outgoing model.
A New Modernized Cabin
Toyota also took the opportunity to modernize the Tundra’s archaic cabin. In the TRD Pro model, the robust theme seemed very ergonomic, while deploying ample storage space in the front. This specific variant comes with an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while the infotainment system is accessible via a 14-inch screen in the center of the dashboard. The basic instrument cluster consists of a combination of dials with a 4.1-inch digital display. In the rear, the seats offer good legroom, with storage under the bench as a bonus. On hybrid models, this specific storage gives way to the battery that powers the electric motor.
Otherwise, a series of new technologies have also been incorporated. This includes a lane-keeping assist system that works in conjunction with cruise control (semi-autonomous style) and a virtual assistant that can assist with voice commands (to name a few). Beyond these gadgets, we particularly like the available large rear window that can drop down to its full width, which is a handy feature for accessing cargo in the bed, but also for easy passage through the cab side for those planning to camp.
A Test Drive is Imminent!
It's inevitable, the Toyota Tundra's new engines have yet to prove themselves, but the fact remains that turbocharging and hybridization are the new thing. Mechanical choices are still much greater among American rivals, but the Tundra is now more modern with efficient and frugal hybrid technologies that (we hope) don’t seem to compromise on capability.
The Car Guide will soon be able to put this 2022 Tundra to the test to see how it has matured, but also how it compares in the highly dynamic and competitive segment it plots to take a reasonable bite out of. Toyota plans to market its new Tundra towards the end of 2021. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.