It’s no secret that the full-size pickup segment is the most popular in the industry right now. And the most profitable, too, at least for those that are enjoying success. Detroit’s Big Three continue to lead the way. Again, no surprises there. Yet, Toyota is not throwing the towel. Instead, the Japanese manufacturer has a new generation of the Tundra for 2022.
The original from 2000 was a timid effort, while the second Tundra launched in 2007 proved more serious and even gained traction in the U.S. Will Toyota now finally shake up the segment? Don’t count on it, but it will have some customers thinking twice.
We got to spend time behind the wheel of the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra, and here’s what we found.
From the Gound Up
After 15 years on the market, the outgoing Tundra couldn’t just settle for minor upgrades. Much like it did in 2007, Toyota invested billions of dollars to revise and improve the Tundra from the ground up. New chassis, new double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension (with available air shocks), new body, new cabin with state-of-the-art technology—except for a few model names, it’s a completely different truck.
The front fascia already has everybody talking. Some people love it, others complain it’s too much. The new Tundra certainly makes a powerful statement right at first glance and grabs a lot of the spotlight.
Of course, selection is not as generous as what you’ll find with the American competitors. Toyota knows it would be foolish to try and offer as many configurations and trim levels as the segment leaders, but the goal is still to please a majority of pickup buyers.
There are two cab styles to choose from: Double and Crew Max. The former comes with either a 6.5-foot bed or 8.1-foot bed, while the latter can now be specified with a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. Both are available on SR, SR5 and Limited models. The more upscale Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro models exclusively get the Crew Max cab.
Then you have two packages including TRD Off-Road (SR5, Limited and 1794) and TRD Sport (SR5). A locking rear differential, Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain System is included in the first one, while the other adds a sport-tuned suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Speaking of wheels, eight different designs are available with the 2022 Tundra, not to mention the seven different grille treatments. Oh, and there are 115 accessories you can tack on, over 50 of which are new.
As mentioned earlier, it might not be enough to threaten the established players, but a number of potential customers will take note.
Two New Powertrains
The transformation of the 2022 Toyota Tundra would not have been complete without a heart transplant. The V8 engine is gone, replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 producing up to 389 horsepower and 437 pound-feet of torque (apparently just 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet in SR trim). A hybrid variant called i-Force Max boosts these figures to 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet. Surprisingly, regular 87-octane gasoline is recommended.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line. As for towing capacity, the new Tundra manages 11,000-12,000 pounds depending on the configuration. Payload is 1,940 pounds.
The drive is pretty convincing, especially with the electrified powertrain. Fun fact: the artificial sound of a thundering V8 is played through the speakers when you hit the throttle, and it’s more pleasant than you think. The much more rigid chassis significantly improves the ride and handling, making the Tundra feel more solid and surefooted. At the same time, comfort levels are way up.
What about fuel economy? We’ll have to wait until next spring to get the ratings for the hybrid variant, but the gas-only 2022 Tundra achieves a combined 12.4 L/100 km (10.7 L/100 km on the highway, 13.8 L/100 km in the city) when converted from U.S. mpg figures.
One of the most impressive things about the new Tundra is the infotainment system, which not only proves five times faster than anything Toyota has ever created, but also more intuitive to use with a smartphone-like display and functions. Finding and getting to points of interest is also easier with the help of Google.
We’ll explore this new interface further in a future review. But Toyota is distancing itself from the competition, here. And because our first dynamic contact with the model was brief, we didn’t have nearly enough time to evaluate all the modern technologies it has to offer.
Pricing for the 2022 Toyota Tundra will also come at a later date. We fully expect the company to make ground in the short term, but the key will be to keep up the pace because the Americans won’t slow down anytime soon.