2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Is Really About Performance, Not Efficiency

Now that the 2022 Toyota Tundra has been fully revealed, we can talk about what makes it more capable than the last generation. You know, the one that stuck around for 15 years. This new truck is more than just a refresh—it’s a redesign from the ground up with more power, more towing capacity, and more tech. At the center of all that is its top-shelf twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain.

And while you might think that battery-assist is there to boost fuel economy, Toyota’s really using it to improve performance. With 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, it makes 48 more hp and an extra 104 pound-feet over the non-hybrid TT V6.

The Tundra hybrid variant uses the same 3.5-liter engine along with both of its turbos, as well as the new 10-speed automatic transmission. However, the i-Force Max powertrain integrates a clutch-operated electric motor into the transmission bell housing while getting juice from a 1.87-kWh battery. 

Mind you, peak torque comes on at just 2,400 rpm. This gives the Tundra hybrid an advantage when it comes to towing and off-road driving. Likewise, the electric motor will deliver an ultra-quiet ride when in low-speed EV mode. Toyota says the electric motor performs the bulk of the work when taking off, and the gas engine kicks in based on the driver’s throttle input, as well as the battery’s state of charge. If it’s low, the internal combustion engine will take over early on.

This onboard battery also provides juice for a 400-watt power inverter that can be accessed via the bed. While not as capable as the Ford F-150 PowerBoost’s optional 7.2-kilowatt inverter, it’s a handy function to have nonetheless when working, or camping, or anything in between.

That electric motor also assumes starter duties for the combustion engine; although the Tundra is fitted with a traditional starter as well, Toyota told us it only engages in extremely cold conditions.

While the truck’s TNGA-F platform and coil-sprung rear suspension can handle towing up to 12,000 pounds and a max payload of 1,940 pounds, the i-Force Max hybrid is a headliner. When on the highway, the electric motor can provide additional linear torque, or when in tow/haul mode, the motor can be in constant operation to provide additional power. Less stress is placed on the internal combustion engine as a result, and a quieter ride is definitely nice when taking the truck on long hauls with a trailer attached.

Toyota says its design mantra for the Tundra was “technical muscle,” which it seems to have achieved by blending together a strong combustion engine and powerful electric motor. Its increased towing capacity and robust powertrain prove that electrification can add benefits to a vehicle beyond just fuel economy, and it can do that without sacrificing what makes a truck a truck.

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