After 15 years on the market in its second generation, the Tundra finally received an overhaul for 2022 as it launches the third generation. The Tundra continues to be built on the body-on-frame platform and is offered in seven model trims that include the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1974 Edition, TRD Pro, and Capstone. It is offered in two new powertrains that include a twin-turbo V6 engine and a hybrid twin-turbo V6. Both engines mate to a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that features a sequential shift mode, uphill/downhill shift logic and tow/haul driving modes.
Standard on all models will be Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 active safety features and an all-new Toyota audio multimedia system. It is offered in two four-door options: Double Cab and CrewMax. Double Cab models include the choice of a 6.5-foot bed or an 8.1-foot bed. CrewMax models come with either a 5.5-foot bed or a new 6.5-foot bed. Prices start as low as $35,950 for a standard SR model and climb as high as a starting price of $73,530 for a Capstone with the Hybrid powertrain. Competition includes the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan, and RAM 1500. I spent a week in the Tundra Limited CrewMax and here's what stood out...
Exterior Styling (+)
Designers started fresh with the new Tundra and transformed it into something modern, muscular, and sophisticated. Up front is a massive new grille with different designs based on the trim level. Surrounding the grille is silver brightwork trim that resembles a horseshoe style mustache. Flanking the grille are chiseled headlights with a prominent LED light signature. TUNDRA is stamped in between two slim fog lights just under the grille. It's bold but using the grille to convey various trims works well with models like the TRD Pro having the heritage style Toyota across the center or the new Capstone featuring more chrome.
The side profile is boxy with a high beltline and chiseled definition around the fenders. The headlights stretch into the fenders, badging is on the doors, and large wheel arches will account for larger wheels and tires. Around back are available vertical handle-shaped LED taillights that even feature a hidden button in the taillight to lower the tailgate. Tundra is again stamped into the tailgate and bed lighting will allow for better visibility at night. The overall truck features much more character than the outgoing model.
Toyota offers a variety of wheel designs based on the trim that are styled appropriately. Either 18", 20", or 22" wheels are offered. Base SR models get 18" steel wheels while the rest are some form of alloy wheels finished in silver, painted black, matte-black, dark-painted, or machine-finished. The designs all match the trim well with a special nod to the TRD Pro wheels that are 18" matte-black forged aluminum BBS wheels that are durable off-road. On the other end are the 22" Capstone wheels finished in dark chrome and a machined finish that look ultra-premium filling the wheel arches. Wheels are wrapped in appropriate street / all-season tires, but I would like to see a beefier tire on the TRD Pro models.
In a review of the previous generation, I referred to the Tundra as a bull in a China shop... that changes with the new powertrains that are much more refined. The base engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that delivers 389 horsepower and 479 lb.ft. of torque. Also available is a hybrid i-FORCE MAX version that pairs the twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 with an electric motor to crank out 437 horsepower and 583 lb.ft. of torque. All models pair with a 10-speed automatic and are available in rear or all-wheel drive.
I spent time in the base engine which is more powerful than the outgoing version's V8. For a big truck, it feels somewhat light on its feet with good low-end acceleration and enough agility to get around town. Press the pedal to the floor and it will accelerate from 0-60 in approximately 6 seconds. Also new is a refined coil-spring rear suspension that replaces the previous leaf-spring setup. The new suspension improves the overall ride to give it more control and less sway...especially at higher speeds. The ride quality is smooth as it transitions through the gears on the highway.
Steering is accurate at all speeds, and it feels grounded. There was minimal body lean in sharp turns and it feels easy to control. The ride was smooth on all surfaces while riding on the standard all-season tires. Note that the overall ride will differ in the TRD Pro model which features a different tire and suspension setup geared towards off-roading. I can recall the previous generation Tundra being more all over the place on the road, whereas this new one felt much more refined.
Fuel Economy (+/-)
When it arrived with a full 32.2-gallon tank it offered around 450 miles of range. EPA estimates are 17/22/19 MPG city/highway/combined in the standard V6. Opt for the hybrid and they increase to 20/24/22 MPG city/highway/combined. These numbers are alright but fall short compared to Ford's F-150 hybrid and the rear-drive Chevy Silverado. Nonetheless, it's a huge improvement over the outgoing V8.
The Tundra has always been capable and that improves for 2022. Towing capacity is increased to a max of 12,000 lbs. and a payload of up to 1,940 lbs. in the standard V6. Hybrid models are slightly less at 11,450 lbs. and 1,830 lbs. Trailer sway control is standard and additional features like a trailer brake controller and trailer back-up assist are also available. Other full-size trucks can beat these numbers, but these should be enough to satisfy most buyers.
Off-Road Capability (+)
Opt for the TRD Pro model if you want a beast for the trails. Toyota continues to offer this variant that caters to the off-road enthusiast. Standard on TRD Pro models and available on 4×4 trucks equipped with the TRD Off-Road package are off-road upgrades that enhance off-pavement exploration. Multi-Terrain Select offers adjustable settings to help control wheel spin on a variety of terrain. CRAWL Control functions as a low-speed, off-road cruise control that allows the driver to focus on steering while it maintains one of five selectable speeds. Downhill Assist Control is another off-road feature that helps the driver navigate tricky slopes by limiting the speed of the vehicle during descent. Tundra's also have an available electronically locking rear differential that will evenly distribute power to both rear wheels to keep a steady pace over obstacles. It's not as powerful as the Ram TRX or Ford Raptor, but it is capable of conquering just about any obstacle in its path.
Completely overhauled like the exterior, the Tundra's interior is much more competitive. With a range of trim levels come a range of materials and quality levels. Lower-level models will feel more basic with harder plastics while the top Capstone trim will incorporate soft-touch materials, walnut wood-grain trim and backlighting. An available 12.3" digital cluster with selectable gauge display screens is standard on Limited Hybrid models and up. Eyes will be drawn to the available 14" touchscreen multimedia display at the center of the dash flanked by air vents and traditional buttons underneath. The layout is expansive with horizontal lines that give it a very open feel. A panel in front of the passenger seat changes with each trim and includes special stampings to signify the model type (1794 Edition, TRD Pro, Capstone). The center console features a traditional gear shifter and a large space for wireless mobile phone charging that is within reach. It's a huge improvement from the previous model that was showing its age in a class where brands like Ford and Ram have been dominating the interiors of full-size trucks with luxury level materials. Tundra's Capstone is arriving late to the party, but ought to make a big impression on the luxury end of the spectrum.
The 14" horizontal touchscreen is stunning with high-resolution graphics that fill the entire screen. The screen provides great visuals of the space surrounding the truck through multiple cameras which comes in particularly useful when off-roading. One of those cameras is a panoramic view monitor that will give a full 360-degree view. Also available is a trailer backup guide with straight path assist that uses sensors and the cameras to keep your trailer straight while in reverse.
An all-new multimedia system uses the screen to connect wirelessly to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can be controlled via the touchscreen, steering wheel controls or voice activation. It's also available with built-in integrated streaming with Apple Music (subscription required). An available 1200-watt JBL premium audio system will amp up the sound through 12 speakers and a subwoofer. The system was intuitive and maintained connection throughout my time with the truck.
Fresh Air (+)
One of my personal favorite features in Toyota trucks and SUVs is the power rear window that goes down completely. This power back window pairs well with the available panoramic roof that provides a clear view above and opens with the touch of a button. With all the windows down and the roof open, you'll feel plenty of fresh air.
All models comfortably accommodate five passengers with plenty of head and leg room. The seats are comfortable and supportive all around. The second-row seats feel more like ones you'd find in an SUV rather than a truck. Cloth seats are standard, but both synthetic and genuine leather upholstery are available. Heated and ventilated front and rear seats are also available and work much better than some found in other Toyota models. If you're hauling the family with the trailer, the Tundra has two complete sets of LATCH connectors and a tether anchor in back.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 is standard on every Toyota from SR up to Capstone.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 includes:
* Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
* Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
* Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
* Lane Tracing Assist
* Road Sign Assist
* Automatic High Beams
* Rear Seat Reminder
The various systems continue to be enhanced to be better intuitive and provide more safety. The pedestrian detection will also work in low-light situations and detect bicyclists during the day. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control notifies the driver via an audible alert if it senses lane departure without a turn signal and does require hands on the wheel. The Lane Departure system is sensitive but can be adjusted to your preference. Other available safety features include blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and a parking support brake.
The Tundra scores positively in every aspect as it was long overdue for an upgrade. It was worth the wait and leaves me feeling excited for the next generation Tacoma & 4Runner that ought to follow suit. The new Tundra comes in many flavors to appeal to a wide audience of truck buyers with styling that is tweaked with each trim grade. Under the hood are two powerful and capable powertrains that operate well in many conditions. New technology, safety features, and a handsomely refined interior all create a suitable replacement for the long-lasting second-generation Tundra.
First Impression Summary
Test Vehicle: 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited Crew Max
Exterior Color: Supersonic Red
Interior Color: Black
Options: JBL Premium Audio ($565), Limited Premium Package ($395), Limited Power Package ($385), TRD Off-Road Package ($3,085), Special Color ($425)
MSRP as tested: $60,188 (With Delivery/Destination)