All new for 2022, the Tundra is Toyota's full-size 1/2-ton pickup. It's offered in extended-cab and crew cab configurations. Both come with 4 doors. Extended cab models get either a 6.5- or 8-foot bed while crew cab models utilize either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. Both are offered with rear- or all-wheel drive. Competitors include the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 1500 and Nissan Titan.
Key enhancements for 2022 Tundra include new styling, stiffer frame, new powertrains, and a completely redesigned interior. Toyota also made several key changes to the Tundra's underpinnings designed to improve on-road performance. Gone are traditional leaf-spring rear suspension, replaced with coil springs. The Tundra joins the Ram 1500 and F-150 Raptor as the only trucks in this class to use rear coils.
Power comes from one of two turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engines. The base V6 makes 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Optional is a hybrid version of the V6 called i-Force Max. Utilizing a battery located under the rear seats to power an electric motor that gives the Tundra 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Both engines mate to a 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard with 4WD optional. Maximum towing capacity is 12,000 pounds.
With prices ranging from $38,000 to more than $75,000, trim levels include the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, TRD Pro, and Capstone. Standard safety features include forward-collision warning with brake intervention and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. Also standard are LED headlights, composite bed, push-button start, and infotainment system with wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto support..
Though some might miss the reliability and simplicity of the previous-model's V8, the turbocharged V6 has more than enough power for most situations. In base form, the engine has plenty of torque down low for towing and hauling and provides decent passing response. In hybrid mode, the engine feels even more powerful in passing response, but seems to offer similar performance around town. Both engines push the Tundra from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 7 seconds.
The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. The 4WD system offers several modes include 2WD, 4WD auto and 4WD low range.
EPA fuel economy ratings range from a high of 20 MPG city on the hybrid to a low of 17 MPG city on the TRD Pro. Highway numbers range from 22 to 254 MPG. In truth, the hybrid is only going to be more efficient in the city and it won't save you any money on gas on the highway or when towing or hauling. Despite Toyota claims, these numbers are consistent with other full-size pickups. Both engines run fine on regular-grade fuel. In typical suburban commuting don't expect to average better than 20 MPG overall.
Tundra's rear coil suspension provides a marked improvement in overall ride quality. Though, like the other trucks with coil springs, there's still a live axle out back, meaning occupants will feel some judder and hop on broken roads. Still, Tundra rides significantly better than before and is now on par with the class leading Silverado and Ram models. Remember though, Tundra comes with several different wheel sizes, so you want to test drive the exact model you are buying. The long wheelbase, a detriment in parking and close-quarter maneuvering, provides a limousine-like ride on the highway.
Dynamically, Tundra is first and foremost a truck. The steering feels slow and a bit vague compared to a large SUV. On the highway things firm up a bit and the Tundra tracks straight and true. Brakes have ample stopping power and an easy-to-modulate pedal. There's little difference in brake feel between the gas-only and hybrid models.
Off rode you are going to want the TRD Pro package. Not only for its expanded off-road goodies, but also for the additional underside body protection. Given the right set of tires, Tundra can be very capable off road. However, Toyota does not yet offer a performance version of the Tundra to match the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2, Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 TRX.
Interior noise levels are commendably low given the trucks sheer size. Of course Platinum and above are quieter, but even base models are reasonably quiet on the highway. Watch out for the TRD's off-road-ready tires. They kick up quite a racket on the highway.
Inside the new Tundra is worlds better than the outgoing model. The interior design is modern and features price-appropriate materials across the model line. Control placement could be better with some switchgear low and to the left of the steering wheel, but overall the design in pleasant and functional.
Base models get an 8-inch touch screen and uplevels get a 14-inch monster that absorbs some ancillary controls. Either way, Toyota's infotainment system is worlds better than before. However, it still trails the Ford and Ram systems for ease of use. It's also a bit clunky sometimes when swapping between functions. It's a good step forward that is likely to be refined with software updates over the next few years.
Tundra's front seats are firm and flat but provide enough cushioning for long-trip comfort. They do provide a commanding driving position that makes piloting the full-size Tundra much less daunting. Overall visibility is quite good though the thick front pillars and long tall hood will make you want Tundra's surround-view camera system.
The Tundra's maximum towing and hauling capacities aren't class-leading, but they're certainly good enough for most owners. The standard composite bed is a nice touch as you don't have to fear scratches and rust quite as much. The extra space of the CrewMax provide plenty of storage options in the rear interior for items you'd rather not place in the bed. However that storage evaporates on hybrid models due to the battery placement. Overall, interior storage isn't as well organized in the Tundra as in its domestic counterparts.
Bottom Line - Quite frankly, Tundra had become a stale 4th choice among full-size trucks. Not that it wasn't a reliable truck, but it just didn't offer the features, comfort, and versatility of competitors from Chevy, Ford and Ram. That changes for 2022. Tundra can now match most competitors feature-for-feature. Though there isn't a wide range of engine offerings, Tundra's two powertrains will offer most buyers the power and efficiency they will need. Current Tundra buyers finally have a solid reason to upgrade, and Tundra might finally start to steal a few sales from hard-core domestic buyers as well.