It’s hard to find negative things to say when it comes to Toyota and their trucks. The Tacoma has been not only one of the best selling trucks of all time, but one of the best selling vehicles period over the course of its lifetime. While not quite as popular, and in a much more competitive segment, the full-sized Tundra has been an under appreciated stalwart of excellence in the full sized pickup truck market. But to their credit, after dabbling with some different designs for the first generation, Toyota found a winning formula for their second gen truck — strong power, reliability and enough style to remain interesting. The only issue we really have with that recipe, is that while it made for a great product, Toyota simply stuck with it for far too long. For context, the second-gen Tundra began during the G.W. Bush administration. But, after a decade and a half, the 2022 Toyota Tundra is finally here, and at first glance, it looks like it was worth the wait.
The exterior of the new 2022 Toyota Tundra isn’t a far departure from its predecessor. The front end fits right in with the newer angry-looking Tacoma and 4Runner motifs, while the profile of the new truck has a bit more flair if you’re paying attention. The windshield is raked a bit more aggressively, and the rear window is cut at a much sharper angle than the rounded-off-softy look of the outgoing truck, both giving the new truck a bit of much needed attitude. The new TRD Pro is even more garishly styled, but an in-depth look at that model will be coming in the near future.
The big news outside of the new looks is what lies under the hood. The last time a full-sized Toyota truck didn’t offer a V8 engine, libraries were the only way to do research and Bill Clinton was getting himself in some hot water with Monica Lewinsky. But, the new Tundra is a far cry from that under-powered T100. The new truck offers up two different engine choices … sort of. The base engine is a 3.4-liter all-aluminum DOHC twin-turbo V6 equipped with Toyota’s VVTi variable valve timing system. That engine pumps out an impressive 389-horsepower and monstrous 479 pound-feet of torque, which is eight ponies and 78 pound-feet above the outgoing and antiquated V8.
The optional engine is … a 3.4-liter all-aluminum DOHC twin-turbo V6 equipped with Toyota’s VVTi variable valve timing system. Sound familiar? That’s because it is the same engine. But what makes the i-Force Max engine significantly more powerful is that inclusion of a hybrid electric motor that engineers hid discreetly between the torque converter and flywheel of the new Tundra. This system is “fueled” by a 1.87-kWh battery pack that is stashed away beneath the rear seat. So, that additional oomph from the electric motor kicks peak power up significantly to the tune of 437-horsepower and massive 583 pound-feet of torque. The idea being that Toyota wanted to give the 2022 Toyota Tundra a diesel-engine power delivery, which it succeed at considering torque tops out at a lowly 2,400rpm. Although we doubt many owner will need it, it is good to know that the hybrid motor can get the truck up and moving on its own up to about 18 mph.
That power is then routed through a much improved and well-overdue 10-speed automatic transmission on its way to all four corners for what will undoubtedly be a fun off-road ride. That ride won’t be as rough as it used to be however. The most underrated change the new truck gets is by far the rear suspension upgrades. Gone, and happily forgotten are the archaic spine-crunching leaf springs in favor of a coil spring rear suspension. On both the rear and double-wishbone front suspension, there are forged aluminum knuckles and twin-tube shocks, with adaptive dampers available as an option.
That suspension not only provides noticeably improved ride quality on and off road, it also allows the new Tundra to tow up to an incredible 12,000 pounds, which all but embarrasses the second generation model. Fuel economy numbers are not available as of this writing, but we expect a much more frugal fuel economy figure than the outgoing Tundra’s 13/17/14 city/highway/combined mpg. The new Tundra is available in SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro trims. Pricing is also not set just yet, but we don’t expect a much higher entry price than the 2021 model’s $34,125 base price.
So while we will weirdly miss the second-gen Tundra, mostly because it encompassed the better part of the last two decades, when looking for a full-sized truck, we don’t need a time machine, we need a powerful, reliable and stylish work horse. So a lot like the second-gen, but with a few updates … which is exactly what the 2022 Tundra promises to be.