First Look: 2022 Toyota Tundra

After what seemed like months of waiting, Toyota has taken the wraps off the 2022 Tundra. The Tundra is this brand’s full-size pickup truck and we had not seen a new one since 2007. A 2014 refresh and a few other changes during the intervening years helped sales remain steady, but a new model was warranted. After all, each of the domestics made changes at least twice during that time frame and even the slower selling Nissan Titan was overhauled in recent years.

There are copious amounts of data to parse about the new Tundra. Further, we will have a chance to drive several copies at a press preview in October, followed by a week’s worth of testing in North Carolina at some point after that.

The new Tundra offers a more modern look and is improved across the board. We think it will be better positioned to take on the competition. Namely, the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and the Nissan Titan.

2022 Toyota Tundra Red

Highlights of the 2022 Toyota Tundra

There is nothing carried forward from the previous Tundra. The model shares a new platform with the Land Cruiser. It features a fully boxed ladder-frame design that is available in two wheelbase lengths. While there is no Regular Cab, the Double Cab model with rear-pivoting second-row half doors and the full four-door CrewMax return.

One of the differences for 2022 involves bed sizes. The Double Cab once again offers 6.5- or 8.1-foot beds. For the first time, the CrewMax gains a second bed size – 6.5 feet — to go with the standard 5.5-foot bed. As before, the Tundra seats five or six, depending on how it is configured.

Tundra Style Points

We have read the comments and understand that the 2022 Toyota Tundra offers a love-it-or-hate-it look to some. We won’t call the look polarizing, although that is exactly what some of our fellow journalists are saying. A clear departure from the past is an apt descriptor and that leaves the styling interpretation open to individual scrutiny and comment.

What the Tundra does is go bold as in, “go bold or go home.” That repetition is wholly evident with the front fascia as the gaping maw simply gapes much more. Indeed, by blacking out a portion of the front bumper, the look simply overwhelms the front end. Even so, that push intentionally places the Tundra within the style direction of all large trucks.

2022 Toyota Tundra rear seats

Yes, there are variations in grille design, depending on the trim. You will also find T-shaped headlamps, C-shaped taillamps, and stamped fenders. Carefully placed profile sculpting, a kicked-up beltline (especially apparent on the Double Cab), and bodacious wheel wells are other features of note.

Inside, the cabin is as massive as ever. And that is exactly what is expected in this segment. The look is modern, but not futuristic, with clean lines, generous amounts of soft-touch materials, and a thoroughly redesigned (some may say reimagined) console. Thickly padded and supportive seats all around ensure that there is not a single penalty box present. Speaking of seats, the nickel-metal hydride battery pack in the hybrid sits beneath the rear seat in the i-FORCE Max models.

Driver Assist Technology

With the Tundra, Toyota has long been a leader in driver-assist technology. That continues this year as every trim comes with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 package.

This package contains a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. Other features include automatic high beams, lane departure alert, radar cruise control, and a rear-seat reminder. Beyond the TSS system, Toyota supplies blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert on each trim. Also available is parking support brake to aid in stopping the vehicle when sensors detect a stationary object.

2022 Toyota Tundra instrument panel, display, and dashboard

Updated Tech

Toyota equips the Tundra with a standard 8-inch touchscreen display, up from seven inches last year. For 2022, Toyota offers an available 14-inch touchscreen display with improved screen resolutions.

As is common these days, the Tundra’s standard instrument panel layout includes readouts and a small digital display. But the industry is moving to fully digital instrument panels, therefore Toyota is obliging with an optional 12.3-inch display.

We are eager to put the Tundra’s new multimedia scheme to the test. The previous system was old and awkward. On paper, the new one appears to resolve these problems. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and over-the-air updates are among the features present.

New Standard Engine

A V8 engine has long-powered Toyota’s largest pickup truck. That made sense as the brand’s emphasis has always been on winning customers from Ford, GM, and Chrysler (now Stellantis). Full-size pickup truck shoppers expect outsized payload, towing, and performance, something that is inherent to V8 motors.

This year, though, is different as Toyota retired the previous 5.7-liter V8 from Tundra service. In its place is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 i-FORCE engine, nearly identical in size to Ford’s first and most popular EcoBoost engine. This engine makes 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, whereas the previous V8 engine delivers 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Notably, power routes to the wheels utilizing a 10-speed automatic transmission.

2022 Toyota Tundra hybrid system

Optional Hybrid System

When the second-generation Tundra rolled out, it offered three engine choices: a 4.0-liter V6, a 4.7-liter V8, and the 5.7-liter V8. Along the way, the smaller V8 was swapped out for a 4.6-liter engine. After 2014, the V6 disappeared. Beginning in 2020, only one engine choice remained. This put Toyota at a distinct disadvantage in a segment where its chief competitors offered three, four, even five choices. One of those choices is a turbodiesel, something Toyota did not offer and won’t make available with the new truck.

For 2022, Toyota returns to a two-engine format, with the second choice based on the standard engine. Specifically, the second choice adds a hybrid drivetrain, but not in the usual layout as found in other hybrids such as the Prius. Here, Toyota sticks the electric motor directly into the bell housing between the engine and the transmission. Thus, the electric motor is designed to work closely with the powertrain.

Specifically, the electric motor works with the gas engine at low speeds before the engine takes over at 18 mph to maximize performance. As a result, this second choice – known as the i-FORCE MAX — produces 437 horsepower and 589 pound-feet of torque. We have no idea how much efficiency this powertrain imparts as the emphasis here is on power, not fuel savings.

Payload and Towing

Another area where the 2022 Tundra sees improvement is in payload and towing. Here, the maximum payload capacity achieves a robust 1,940 pounds. As for towing, the top rating reaches 12,000 pounds when the truck is properly equipped. All in all, these improvements place the Tundra in the thick of it all.

2022 Toyota Tundra Blue

Parting Thoughts

Fifteen years between models is a long time. In the 2022 Tundra, Toyota takes its full-size pickup truck to the heart of the segment, intending to win converts from the domestics as well as to bolster its fan base. Toyota, though, does not have the build capacity to match its chief rivals, but it certainly intends to maximize production.

Lastly, as for pricing, those details come later. We expect the new model to cost slightly more than the current $35,000 base price. Toyota builds the Tundra at an assembly plant in San Antonio. It goes on sale in late 2021.

See AlsoWhat is the Toyota Fortuner?

Photos copyright Toyota Motors.

Matthew Keegan
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