Review: 2022 Toyota Tundra proves well-rounded, much improved
The Toyota Tundra has entered its third generation with the all-new model for 2022. Changes made were much needed and very welcome, keeping the Tundra in its slot as the "everyday truck" for those not tied to a Detroit brand.
At a Glance
- Biggest change is the abandonment of a V8 powerplant for a better turbo 6
- Hybrid option adds some fuel economy improvement
- Fuel economy isn’t as high as might be hoped
- New infotainment is now on par with rivals for usefulness
- Composite cargo bed is standard equipment
When talking about pickup trucks, most refer to the Ford F-150 as a benchmark. It’s the best-selling vehicle in North America and has been the trend-setter for years. A few years ago, Ford gambled on a turbocharged V6 as a mainstay engine option, pairing it with ever-increasing numbers of gears to smooth the power delivery from a jumpy, high-pressure turbo. That paid off and now other truck makers are following suitncluding Toyota, known mainly for its extremely conservative approach to automotive engineering.
Big changes for the 2022 Tundra start with engine options. We drove two separate versions of the new truck over two weeks and found the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 to be a solid replacement for the previousgeneration’s standard V8 engine. In a few trim levels of the Tundra – starting with the Limited and going upwards in trim packaging – there is a hybrid-electric version of the V6 as an option, delivering more power and better fuel economy.
Toyota’s turbocharged V6 (aka “i-Force”) produces 389 horsepower (290 kW) and 479 pound-feet (649.5 Nm) of torque. It’s mated to a well-designed 10-speed automatic transmission that matches the V6’s output well. This is a smooth and strong combination for a truck engine. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive, including low gearing, as an option on most trim levels of the new Tundra.
With the 2022 Tundra’s hybrid option (called the “i-Force Max”), the same engine is mated to a hybrid system that improves output to 437 hp (326 kW) and 583 lb-ft (790.5 Nm) of torque. This is a strong improvement in power output, but it does not translate into more towing capacity.
Tow ratings for the 2022 Toyota Tundra, as with most pickup trucks, vary widely and depend entirely on the truck’s packaging. The maximum tow rating for the Tundra is 12,000 lb (5,443 kg), but only one model of the SR5 low-end trim can achieve that number. 2022 Tundra models are rated between about 8,000 and 11,500 lb (3,6295,216 kg) for towing capacity. Our well-equipped Limited model, for example, was rated for 11,120 lb of towing, whereas our top-tier Capstone model was rated for 10,340 lb (4,690 kg) due to added content weight.
The real limit to towing, however, is in cargo capacity rather than trailer. Since most “bumper-pull” (rear-mounted ball hitch) trailers put at least 10% of their total weight onto the truck’s rear axle, cargo capacity determines how much can actually be hitched to the truck safely. With the Limited model, cargo capacity was rated at 1,740 lb (789 kg) whereas the Capstone, again with a lot more content added, was rated at only 1,485 lb (673.5 kg). But nobody pulls a max-capacity trailer without having at least a driver and some gear in the truck itself. Payload capacity is the entire truck, not just the cargo bed. So it’s easy to see how maximum towing capacity can quickly drop in a real-world scenario. This comparison is using an apples to apples here as these are both 4x4-equipped, 5.5-ft (167.5-cm) bed, crew cab trucks.
This complaint about payload and towing capacities isn’t limited to the Tundra. Every pickup truck faces this same issue. Most trucks on the road are not actually capable of pulling their maximum towing numbers unless the pickup itself is basically empty. Which is why the “best-in-class” and “maximum capacity” advertising given by truck makers should be very much taken with a load of caveat emptor.
The EPA has high expectations for the 2022 Tundra when compared to the previous generation of the truck. The Limited model we drove was EPA rated at 17 mpg (13.8 l/100km) in the city and 22 mpg (10.7 l/100km) on the highway. The Capstone model was rated at 19 mpg (12.4 l/100km) in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. In the real world, both models returned the same numbers on our 42-mile (67.6-km) highway loop, resulting in 20.5 mpg (11.5 l/100km) for each.
Inside the Tundra, there are also a huge number of changes. The new body style means that visibility is a lot different. From the sides and rear, visibility is very good with a lot of window glass to give plenty of visual range. Up front, however, the high hood and its sloping nature at the edges means that finding the corners of the truck for maneuvering isn’t intuitive. The visual edge of the truck is about a foot (30.5 cm) or so from the actual edge, so swiping the corner across another vehicle or obstacle is definitely an easier possibility. Otherwise, we like the new body design for the Tundra.
A huge improvement for this new-generation Tundra is with infotainment. We’ve seen the new user interface and larger screens rolling out in the Toyota lineup, with the Highlander and Sienna leading the way. The Tundra gets the same treatment, and it’s a welcome improvement. The screen is crisp, responses are quick, and the touchscreen UI is much more usable. The size of the screen varies by model, but most will likely end up with the 14-inch-wide screen as their interface. And wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available on that touchscreen, making interfacing technologies even better.
Equally, the driver’s instruments and information screen (now a 12.3-inch digital spread) has also improvedith better-looking menus, quick responses, and upgraded organization. Instruments are easy to see and readn optional color head-up display adds to that ease.
With all of these improvements, the Tundra also sees a price hike. The base model remains low at US$39,695 plus deliveryut most buyers will be in the middle where our Limited model rode, with a suggested retail price of $52,600 plus options and delivery fees. The Capstone begins at $74,250 plus delivery. Toyota includes two years (or 25,000 miles) of maintenance and roadside assistance with those purchases, however, which sweetens the deal a bit.
Overall, our experiences with both models of the 2022 Toyota Tundra were positive. This is a solid all-around-use truck, as the Tundra has always been. It doesn’t specialize in any one thing, but does everything competently. The upsides far outweigh the downsides.
Product Page: 2022 Toyota Tundra