- Modern technology; standard V-6 twin-turbo engine; spacious, comfortable cabin
- Middling material quality, bouncy ride with Bilstein shocks
It took Toyota 14 years to come up with a new Tundra full-size pickup truck, but the wait was worth it. The model has always been known for its value in the segment, and the new model builds on that. The 2022 Toyota Tundra rides on a new platform, boasts dramatic new styling, and has modern technology relevant to today’s buyers.
Available with new gas-only and hybrid powertrains—both of which are based on a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6—the Tundra finally feels like a contemporary truck. It seemingly has the brash looks, features, capability, and assembly quality modern trucks need, but can it hang with the big (three) boys? Is it comparable to an American truck? We drove a Limited model with the Crewmax cab and regular, non-hybrid V-6 to find out.
On the Road
The Tundra is based on the all-new TNGA GA-F platform that also supports the Land Cruiser overseas and the 2022 Lexus LX here in the States, allowing it to deliver a better ride while enhancing its off-road capability. To address the former, though, Toyota ditched the rear leaf springs for coil or air springs, depending on the configuration.
Our model came equipped with the TRD Off-Road package, which adds Bilstein shocks to better handle what Mother Earth tosses in your path. On the road, Tundra’s ride quality represents a night-and-day difference from before, and it feels more stable and planted overall, including while handling tighter turns. It doesn’t feel as polished as a Ram 1500 (which also uses coil springs), but it feels more settled than before. The Bilstein shocks add a bit of a bouncy feel over imperfections, but we’re quite impressed by the new Tundra’s comportment. The steering isn’t as precise as the best domestic American trucks’, but it’s nicely weighted and not sloppy, which makes highway drives a snap.
Also impressive is that 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6, which delivers 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, enough to scoot this big boy to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds in our testing. Crossing the quarter-mile mark took the Tundra 14.7 seconds, at which point it was going 95.3 mph, a decent showing considering its 5,820-pound curb weight.
Compared to a 2021 Ford F-150 XLT with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 engine, the Tundra is slower: The F-150 got to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, and it completed the quarter-mile run in 13.9 seconds at 99.9 mph. The biggest difference between these two is the weight—the Ford’s aluminum chassis cuts its weight down to 5,345 pounds, giving it an advantage at the track.
The Tundra’s transmission is programmed well, downshifting crisply when called upon, and upshifts are executed smoothly. While the engine feels well suited for the Tundra in terms of power and punchiness, it tends to deliver its force in gobs. On a couple of occasions, the rear wheels broke loose when accelerating from a stop even though the pedal was nowhere close to the floor; we wish the delivery was a bit more linear. But the power-to-weight ratio feels adequate for a big truck like this, and depending on which drive mode is activated, there’s a growl almost as pleasing as the old V-8’s.
It was clear Toyota needed to modernize the Tundra to keep up with the segment, and the 2022 model is a big advancement. The Tundra feels more modern than before and puts up a good fight against the big three. It may not ride as well as the Ram (we aim to test a Toyota without the Bilsteins soon), but it’s certainly relevant again, and worthy of cross-shopping if you’re not beholden to a brand.
Inside the Tundra’s Interior
While the Limited trim sits at the middle of the lineup, it still feels richly appointed in terms of features. Enter the cabin, and you’ll first notice the massive, 14.0-inch touchscreen that takes up virtually all the space in the middle of the dash. The screen comes standard with the Limited, and the new infotainment system has sharp graphics and the fast responses you’re used to from your smartphone. We spent most of our time driving with Apple CarPlay active, and we applaud Toyota for allowing it to take over the entire screen, which makes Google Maps or Apple Maps really simple to read.
The HVAC controls are laid out below the display as sort of piano keys—a nice detail that looks premium. While the cabin isn’t as attractive to our eyes as, say, the Ram’s, Toyota’s designers did add characterful touches like the big, boxy air vents, and the center stack offers useful cubbies so you can stash stuff while leaving the cupholders free. A huge bin between the front seats can store large items like purses, laptops, and such. In general, storage space is plentiful.
An area where we’d have liked to see additional improvement is in the quality of materials. The plastics on the door panels already feel dated, as they are hard and cheap. Some plastics have sharp edges, too. On the other hand, the leatherette on the seats feels nice enough for something carrying a $60,188 price tag.
The rear accommodations are quite spacious, with the seatback reclined at an angle that should make long trips easier for passengers. Those seated back there also get two USB ports (one type A, one type C) and air vents, but we’re a bit surprised to see a significant drivetrain bump in the floor. While it may not interfere with middle riders’ feet because it’s wide, it does make placing long items on the floor inconvenient.
Should I Buy a New Tundra?
The 2022 Toyota Tundra offers a better, up-to-date experience, and it does a lot of things well—well enough to, yes, deserve a seat at the big boy table. There are areas that can still be improved, but the thorough overhaul resulted in a much better truck. Plus, its long list of standard equipment—like the 3.4-liter V-6 twin-turbo engine and Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, which adds a bunch of safety technologies at no extra cost—gives it an advantage over the competition.
It’s unlikely to outsell any of the full-size half-ton trucks from Detroit, but the 2022 Tundra deserves a look.
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