Hearing that the TRD Pro model was not only going to continue with the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra but that it was moving into the flagship model spot and receiving a host of new features got us fired up at the mere thought of what this truck might be. Naturally, you can imagine our excitement when the time finally came to jump behind the wheel of the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. And let us tell you one thing: It did not disappoint.
i-Force Max Power and Performance
Because the Tundras we were driving were still prototype units, Toyota only had one TRD Pro available. Fortunately, we were among the few that got to pilot the truck both off-road and on the highway.
One of the most impressive features of the new 2022 Tundra TRD Pro lives under the hood and between the framerails. Powering the Tundra TRD Pro is Toyota’s new twin-turbocharged 3.4L i-Force Max V-6 hybrid. This engine pumps out 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that has an electric motor sandwiched between the flywheel and the torque converter. And TRD Pro is the only trim in which the i-Force Max comes standard. The power produced by the i-Force Max is a perfect blend of brute force and civility. Thanks to the electric motor, there’s no perceived lag from the turbochargers from a dead stop or when attempting a pass; and if you lay into the accelerator pedal the engine pulls like a freight train, which is a true testament to Toyota’s desire for a “diesel-like” flat torque curve.
We expected the power and the smooth shifting from the new 10-speed transmission, what was most unexpected to us was how smooth the transitions were between running on electricity only and back to the gasoline engine. While the i-Force Max is able to creep along on electricity only at speeds less than 18 mph, the engine also shuts down while coasting or cruising and doesn’t always refire immediately when leaving a dead stop. These transitions between engine on and off were so smooth, the only way to know which mode the truck was running was by watching the tachometer. It really was impressive.
What we couldn’t test directly was the truck’s 0-60-mph time. Based on our experience, though, we estimate the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will make the run in less than 6 seconds. We also didn’t get a good read on fuel economy, since we used the same truck for off-road and on-road driving. Neither Toyota nor the EPA has released figures on the new i-Force Max powertrain, but from our experience with other i-Force Max-equipped trucks, we would venture an educated guess of about 24 mpg combined. If actual figures come anywhere close to that, we’ll be quite pleased.
Off-road is where the Tundra TRD Pro really shines brightest. The test course that was laid out for us consisted of a mix of rutted two-track, rocky hill climbs, manufactured divots and moguls, a log crawl, creek crossing, and some graded gravel for good measure. It was not a high-speed desert loop, which turned out to be just perfect for the TRD Pro. While a lot of pundits want to lump the TRD Pro in with the likes of Ford’s Raptor and Ram’s TRX, we’ve found the truck is far more at home exploring the backcountry than tearing up Baja.
We had the privilege of testing the TRD Pro back to back with the TRD Off-Road package, and what we found has us fully believing in the power of TRD Pro. The difference in shock damping ability between the Tundra’s basic twin-tube shocks, the Bilstein monotube dampers found on the TRD Off-Road package, and the TRD Pro’s 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass units was unbelievable. The Fox shocks work very well when it comes to smoothing out bumps in the trail, allowing for slightly higher-speed travel with the same amount of comfort. During our short jaunt off-road, we noticed a significant decrease in the amount of head-toss from the Fox shock-equipped TRD Pro than we did with the TRD Off-Road package trucks. We also found that the new five-link rear suspension flexed better than even we could have imagined, keeping the rear tires in contact with the ground better than the past generation.
Also new for the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro is the addition of an electronic locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select, and Crawl Control. These features have been available on the Tacoma TRD Pro previously and were highly desired by Tundra fans. We got to use all these features and welcome the addition to Tundra TRD Pro. We loved that the Tundra is the first to receive the latest generation of Crawl Control, which now operates nearly silently. Probably our biggest gripe, if you could call it one, is that the rear locking differential is only available when in low range. This is somewhat of an industry standard, but we’d love to see it available in high range, as well.
One thing we noticed almost immediately was how well the new 2022 Tundra TRD Pro handled on the highway. The ride quality from the new five-link rear suspension, Fox dampers, and the addition of the TRD front anti-sway bar make piloting the Tundra TRD Pro on the highway a joy. Body roll is kept to a minimum, which we’ve found to be a rarity on trucks that feature race-inspired shocks like the Fox units. Potholes and road undulations were no match for the truck’s supple suspension. It’s certainly no Supra, but the Tundra TRD Pro zips along winding country roads with confidence. We can say with some level of certainty, having driven all the different 2022 Tundra suspensions, that the TRD Pro is the best all-around highway rig.
Interior Comfort and Technology
For 2022 the Tundra TRD Pro package is based on the Limited trim, moving up from the SR5 for the previous generation. This brings more available technology and comfortable SofTex seating surfaces. We found the interior to be comfortable, enjoyed the new 14-inch infotainment screen, and didn’t find the bold red accents of the TRD Pro to be overpowering. The interior is quiet going down the highway, and everything we needed was within easy reach of the driver seat. If we had any complaints, there would be two. First, the fake engine noise. We heard it, and Toyota confirmed it: Limited trims and above feature an “augmented” engine noise pumped through the speakers. We drove the SR5 trim, as well, and would gladly have the “fake” engine noise shut off, as it’s not needed. Lastly, and this is one that probably needs to be experienced, the shape of the new windshield makes it so that when you’re the first vehicle at a light it’s difficult to see what’s above the truck. The windshield dips in such a way at the top center that seeing the traffic lights becomes a challenge. Driving a current-generation 2020 Tundra confirmed that this is indeed a product of the new body style. This might be personal preference, but we found it worth mentioning.
If off-road exploring is your hobby and a truck is your means of exploration, then the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro might be the perfect truck for you. It’s comfortable and quiet while also being immensely powerful and packed with off-road ability. This truck has proven to be a true jack-of-all-trades, and we can’t wait to spend more time behind the wheel, exploring all our favorite backcountry haunts.
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