After nearly 15 years, Toyota has finally redone its full-size Tundra truck for 2022. And it’s about time – its last major overhaul was back in 2007. Since then, more than 130,000 Tundras have been sold in Canada, though the figure is small compared to Canada’s best-selling truck, the Ford F-150, which sold 128,649 in 2020 alone. Still, it’s not stopping Toyota from going after a bigger piece of the lucrative truck pie.
“It’s been a while, but after 14 years you need to update, you need to move along. That’s why we came up with a brand new 2022 Tundra. Nothing is shared with the previous one,” says Philippe Crowe, head of product training at Toyota University in Peterborough, Ont.
One of the biggest changes is under the hood – a new hybrid powertrain designed to take on other hybrid truck players like the Ford F-150 PowerBoost. The Tundra hybrid is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 mated to an electric motor, which Toyota dubs “i-FORCE MAX.” It produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque – slightly more than the F-150′s 430 ponies and 570 lb-ft of torque from its 3.5-litre turbo V6 and electric motor.
Besides the hybrid, there’s also a new gas-only engine in the Tundra. It’s the same 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, but it delivers 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both engine options are mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
“Torque is king with trucks,” says Mike Sweers, executive chief engineer of Toyota Truck Programs at Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development in York Township, Michigan. “We’ve gone from our 5.7 litre [V8] gas engine, which puts out about 401 lb-ft of torque, to this new hybrid system where we’re putting out 583 lb-ft of torque … What’s really unique about our system is we use the same transmission in the gas engine and in the hybrid system. That transmission has a torque convertor in there. We have a parallel system so you can run the engine, you can run the electric motor, or you can run them together. And when you run them together, you get phenomenal power,” he boasts. While we know those figures, still no word on the estimated fuel economy or range of the hybrid versus the gas V6 model.
The Tundra can also tow up to 12,000 lbs – that’s up nearly 18 per cent compared to the last generation. Likewise, payload has increased by more than 11 per cent to 1,940 lbs.
Tundra’s off-road oriented model, the Limited CrewMax with a TRD Pro package, was on display in Peterborough, in a head-turning new, orange colour called Solar Octane. This model comes off-road ready with components such as underbody protection for the powertrain, several new cameras, a multi-terrain select system to control wheel spin on different ground, off-road suspension, skid plates, mud guards, special 18-inch TRD wheels, and accessory front lights. Inside, there’s lots of upgrades such as a hefty TRD leather gear shifter and a heated steering wheel with red accents, a 14-inch touch screen with an all-new audio multimedia system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air software updates, a 12.3 inch instrument panel, a panoramic roof, heated and ventilated front seats, and bigger knobs and switches so it’s easier to operate when wearing work or winter gloves.
The second row seats are spacious for three. There’s a narrow storage spot behind the seat backs. Underneath the rear seats is the 12-volt hybrid battery; the gas V6 has extra storage under the seats.
Tundra’s box is redesigned with aluminum sides and a composite resin moulded material that’s dent and rust resistant. There are D rings on sliders for securing loads and a 400-watt power outlet in the box. All models get a tailgate release button on the key fob; while the TRD Pro adds a button in the driver’s side taillamp so you can touch it with your finger or, if your hands are full, with your elbow and the tailgate will open automatically. The tailgate is 20 per cent lighter compared to the last model, but it’s still a bit heavy to raise. Some models get side steps incorporated in the rear bumper to make it easier to step inside the box. But many competitors offer more options. The Chevrolet Silverado has a multi-flex tailgate, which can be configured six ways with corner steps carved in the rear bumper; while the F-150 has a built-in tailgate step with a grab handle. And not to mention, other cool features like Ford’s Pro Power Onboard generator with 7.2 kilowatts that can generate up to 7,200 watts to power everything from your home to tools to small appliances. Sweers admits, “it’s a cool feature, but the difficulty that we ran into is, how much is a customer willing to pay for that type of option? … can I buy a 10-kilowatt generator for less cost than I’m going to charge to put less than that into a truck? What you notice about Toyota trucks is we try to be very practical,” says Sweers.
The new Tundra was designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S. It goes on sale later this year, starting with the gas version. The hybrid will follow in Q1 of 2022. Several trims (SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794) and TRD packages will be available along with two four-door options: a double cab and a CrewMax. Double cab models will get either a 6.5-ft bed or an 8.1-ft bed; while CrewMax models will have either a 5.5 ft-bed or a brand new 6.5 ft-bed. Prices aren’t available yet.
2022 Toyota Tundra
Base price: TBC
Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, 389 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque or available hybrid 3.5L twin turbo V6 (dubbed i-FORCE MAX by Toyota) plus 1.8 kWh battery with 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque
Transmission/Drive: 10-speed automatic, 2WD/4WD
Fuel economy (litres/100 km city and highway): TBC
Alternatives: Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, RAM 1500, Honda Ridgeline