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News 2022 Toyota Tundra First Drive: A Serious Contender, But...

2022 Toyota Tundra First Drive: A Serious Contender, But…

2022 Toyota Tundra Pros

  • Impressive powertrain lineup
  • Vastly improved infotainment
  • A lot more comfortable and usable

2022 Toyota Tundra Cons

  • Late availability for the hybrid engine
  • Polarizing grill
  • Can’t match the towing capacity of its American rivals

San Antonio, Texas – The 2022 Toyota Tundra is the latest generation of Toyota’s full-size truck offering.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

No automotive segment is as coveted as full-size pickup trucks in North America and no other segment has such a loyal customer base.

Therefore, offering a full-size truck can be very profitable for an automaker. Truck buyers are fiercely loyal and they replace their truck often, usually whenever a new model with more technology, more features, or better capability is introduced.

This is especially true for American trucks. In the case of the Toyota Tundra, while there is some loyalty to the product from its current owners, Toyota simply hasn’t made enough changes to the Tundra over the years to really get the ball rolling.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

The first Tundra was introduced in 2000 and we had to wait until 2007 before it was redesigned. That said, it underwent a major overhaul that had some success on the market. The problem is that the Tundra wasn’t really touched by Toyota again until 2014, and even then, the changes were minimal. Certainly not enough to convince buyers outside Toyota to choose a Tundra. Even loyal Tundra owners started to look elsewhere, frustrated at the lack of novelty with the lineup.

And now here we are with the 2022 Toyota Tundra, the long-awaited third generation of the new Tundra. Will the story be different this time around? We went to test drive the model in San Antonio, Texas (where it was born) to find out.

A Distinct Design for the new Tundra

When Toyota revised its Tundra for 2007, it invested heavily in what was under the hood, but the design didn’t, shall we say, turn any heads. We can’t say the same thing about the 2022 Tundra with its massive, in-your-face grill and bold, muscular design.

The design is also different from trim to the next, clearly showcasing what is unique about each individual model. There are seven trims grill designs, and eight different wheel designs.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

Five Versions of the 2022 Toyota Tundra

The 2022 Tundra will be available in SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 trims with various TRD packages as well, namely TRD Off-Road with the SR5, Limited and 1794 models, as well as TRD Sport with the SR5 proposal. The TRD Off-Road package adds low-speed cruise control, the Multi-Terrain system, as well as a rear differential that can be electronically locked. For its part, the TRD Sport option serves 20-inch alloy wheels, as well as a suspension tuned to provide sportier handling.

When it comes to cabin configurations, there are two main choices available to you. The Tundra will be unveiled with a Double Cab or a CrewMax configuration. With the SR, SR5 and Limited models, you can choose between one or the other. For the Platinum and 1794 versions, only the larger cabin is offered.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

There are two bed lengths, 6.5 and 8.1 feet with the Double Cab configuration, and 5.5 and 6.5 feet with the larger CrewMax. It’s the first time buyers will be able to choose the larger 6.5-feet bed with the CrewMax cabin.

Impressive Powertrains

Toyota has completely redesigned its Tundra and built it on a new structure that is 20% more rigid than the outgoing one. All thanks to new processes introduced at the factory where the model is assembled, in Texas.

The most noticeable change for anyone behind the wheel is the suspension. An A-arm setup can be found upfront, but more importantly, a multi-link, independent setup now handles the rear axle. There is an available air suspension as well. This new suspension has an immediate benefit on driving dynamics, but we’ll get back to that in a second.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

Two new mechanical combinations power the 2022 Toyota Tundra. First, a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that will deliver 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Then a hybrid variant of that engine that pushes the output to 437 horsepower and an impressive 583 pound-feet of torque.

In both cases, everything will be channeled through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is announced at 12.4 liters per 100 kilometers (19 mpg) combined for the gasoline engine (13.8 liters in the city, 10.7 on the highway, or 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg highway. Official numbers for the more powerful version haven’t been announced just yet. You can use premium fuel, but 87 Octane will do fine as well.

And what will the 2022 Toyota Tundra be able to do with these engines? A towing capacity of between 11,000 and 12,000 pounds depending on the version and trim, and a payload of 1,940 pounds is what Toyota has planned.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

New Multimedia System

Along with a greater variety of models and new powertrains, the new multimedia system caught everyone’s attention when the vehicle was launched.

Developed by Toyota in partnership with Google, it offers a completer and more user-friendly interface than ever. Moreover, over-the-air update capability means that the Tundra’s infotainment system will always have the latest functions. It takes some time to get used to the new system, but the improvement with the last generation is noticeable.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

The system is housed in an 8-inch screen with the SR and SR5 versions, and a larger 14-inch screen in the other trims (optional for the SR5 model). The latter can be handled like a tablet and searches for places of interest will be accompanied by recommendations from Google, as when performing a search on a personal computer.

It will take more testing and a long time to fully experience this new interface, but it shows promise. And because it uses the cloud, it will allow users to drag their profile from one Toyota vehicle to another. You could even use it to download your preferred settings into a rental vehicle.

Before we get into the actual driving, a fun detail about the interior. As a rule, you are told about the quality of the latter at such an event. Except that during a pandemic, coupled with a chip crisis across the industry, it is difficult to deliver everything on time. The result was that we got behind the wheel of posh variants (Platinum version) with plastic finishes that we would consider unworthy if we found them in a production model.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

We therefore won’t dive too much into detail about the quality of the interior in the new Tundra. We’ll have to wait and drive the model when the final production versions arrive on the market. The 1794 version seemed more complete, and the quality of the interior was much closer to the final version.

Driving the 2022 Toyota Tundra

There is a distinct improvement in how this Tundra feels compared to the previous generation, but that was to be expected. What we see here is progress, by leaps and bounds actually.

The rigidity of the chassis allows a solid, safe ride. Comfort, thanks to new suspension, has taken a leap forward. And the feeling of stability and ruggedness, the key with any pickup truck, is there. The Tundra convinces us that it will be ready to work when the time has come. It also reassures us if we plan to use it on a daily basis for work or even on vacation.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

If one version caught our attention, it’s the SR5 equipped with the TRD Pro package. Its sportier tuned suspension gives it a unique and enjoyable overall feeling. On the other hand, comfort-wise, the 1794 model and the Platinum variant are certainly the way to go.

As for the hybrid engine, its power is of course astonishing, as is the sound of the V8 engine which can be heard in the cabin when the pedal is mashed to the floor. The sound is amplified through the speakers, but Toyota did its homework.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

Conclusion

The 2022 Toyota Tundra is a convincing and welcomed evolution in the Tundra lineup. It does not have all the tools to compete with its American rivals (that was not the goal), but it has more advantages than it had, enough to entice a few buyers looking for something different and more reliable.

As for current Tundra owners, they will certainly be charmed by this new version. Sales gains can be expected when the model is launched (in December for the gasoline variants, in the spring of 2022 for the hybrid engine).

The rest will be up to Toyota. If it wants to keep up the pace, the Japanese automaker will need to regularly polish its Tundra and rethink it at a more frequent pace than every 15 years.

 

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

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