Toyota’s midsize Tacoma is a staple of the smaller truck world. The Tundra? Well, it gets a little lost in the shuffle from the big three sometimes. To make its offering more enticing, Toyota is adding more options, power, and capabilities to the 2022 model than the outgoing, including refreshed styling inside and out and extra consumer-facing tech.
Powering the old Tundra is Toyota’s tried-and-true 5.7-liter V8. While that engine was good for 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque and has a great exhaust note, the V8 was relatively thirsty and only netted 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg highway. For 2022, Toyota has dropped that venerable V8 in favor of a turbocharged V6. The new V6 makes 389 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, outperforming its naturally aspirated predecessor. Even better, Toyota is offering a hybrid variant of this powertrain, too, which uses an electric motor mounted inside the transmission’s bell housing that cranks performance up to 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. Both powertrains are managed by a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is another upgrade over the outgoing model’s six-speed. That power then travels to all four wheels via the four-wheel-drive system or just the rear wheels, if you opt for a rear-drive-only model.
That power gain should help easily pull the new 12,000-pound towing capacity, or the nearly one-ton maximum payload capacity. The towing is nearly a ton better than the outgoing model, with the maximum payload jumping a few hundred pounds.
Also responsible for the upgraded towing and payload ratings is a new frame. The new ladder frame is fully boxed, which is fundamentally stronger than traditional channel-style frame rails. Toyota made the rear frame cross member wider, to further help the new Tundra tow. The new frame should also help highly equipped Tundra drivers enjoy a better ride, with Limited models and above sitting on hydraulic cab mounts.
Toyota also opted for an aluminum reinforced composite bed this go-‘round. Using a modern sheet-molded compound material for the bed makes it lighter and more resilient from the common dents and dings metal truck beds attract. More importantly, it should also avoid rust. As for weight, it drops 20 percent of the weight from the outgoing bed, while upping that payload capacity. The tailgate is also a sheet-molded compound.
Suspending all of this is a new, coil-spring suspension at all four corners, which should make the ride more comfortable for passengers. More importantly, it makes it easier for the folks at Toyota to equip the Tundra with an air suspension, optional on Tundra pickups in ‘22. The air suspension will allow drivers to control the ride height and adjusts it into various height modes. High mode raises the truck to clear obstacles at low speed, with low mode making the load floor lower.
Keeping the rear solid-axle in check is a multi-link suspension and a pair of shock absorbers mounted on the outside of the frame rails. These outboard-mounted shocks should help with the Tundra’s body roll. Handling the front wheels is a double-wishbone suspension that features revised geometry to make the truck more stable.
While this truck has no shortage of work enhancements, Toyota also looked at making the truck more comfortable for the passengers. The interior features modern consumer-facing tech features like an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto equipped infotainment system that sports an optional 14-inch touchscreen. For those that don’t like to check option boxes, the standard touchscreen spans 8.0-inches. Joining the new media screen is a pair of digital gauge clusters. The optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster will send all the information you could ever ask for your way with a sleek screen. Standard issue gauges are analog, with a 4.1-inch screen.
Safety tech also comes to the new Tundra, which is almost expected. Toyota will equip the new Tundra with its Toyota Safety Suite 2.5 as standard issue, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and a rear seat alert. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts are also standard. You can add what Toyota calls a Parking Support Brake which implements the brakes to help you from crashing into stationary objects.
Speaking of options, there are lots of different ways to configure the ‘22 Tundra. There are three different bed lengths, 5.5 feet, 6.5 feet, and 8.1 feet; there are also two different cab options, double cab and Crewmax. Alongside the different bodies and boxes, there are six different trim levels: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and TRD Pro.
This all sounds like a lot, which will likely be reflected in the price. The current truck starts at $35,720, with destination and delivery. Toyota says that we’ll get pricing closer to the end of the year when this truck is expected to hit dealerships.
Will the ’22 Tundra be good enough to help take down hot competition from Ford, Ram, and GM? Tell us your thoughts below.
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