When it comes to pickups, Toyota is often loath to change, but the company is finally making headway in the full-size truck space with the introduction of the third-generation Tundra on Sunday. It's been 14 years since Toyota debuted the second-gen Tundra, and it's definitely been left in the dust by heavy-hitters like the, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. ( .)
The 2022 Toyota Tundra will be available in SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro trims. The Double Cab configuration can be had with either a 6.5- or 8-foot bed, while the larger CrewMax is offered with 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed options.
Overall, the 2022 Tundra is a little bit longer and not quite as tall as its predecessor. The truck's design is pretty modern, with a large grille and headlights that live high up on the front fascia, surrounded by some shapely running lights. Depending on which trim you buy, the Tundra can be done up with lots of chrome or some oversized badges.
The truck's rear is dominated by new elongated taillights with three distinct lighting elements. Toyota hasn't gone all-in on the tailgate wars, so don't expect any kind of extra functionality like Ram's split design or GMC's multifunction setup. The Tundra's tailgate simply opens like normal, the only improvements being a 20% reduction in weight and the inclusion of a bump button on the side of the taillight that you can use when your hands are full.
Under the hood, the 2022 Tundra does away with the last-generation truck's V8 engines in favor of a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid option. The standard i-Force V6 puts out 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, while the electrified i-Force Max goes big with 437 hp and 583 lb-ft. Both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The hybrid option is available on Limited, Platinum and 1794 trims, and allows for slow-speed all-electric cruising, in addition to providing more chutzpah when the accelerator is floored. Off-roaders and towing enthusiasts will probably enjoy all that torque, which comes on at a low 2,400 rpm.
In order to improve the Tundra's ride quality, Toyota ditched the truck's old leaf springs in favor of a multilink coil-spring setup in the rear. The Tundra can be had with an adaptive rear air suspension, which can adjust damping forces based on road conditions. The rear air setup has high, normal and low modes, for easier bed loading and leveling while towing a trailer.
Speaking of towing, the new Tundra can pull up to 12,000 pounds. There are two tow/haul modes, as well. One is designed for light loads like a small box trailer, while the Tow/Haul Plus feature amps up the throttle response for heavier items. Similarly, payload is increased as well, up to a maximum of 1,940 pounds. That's an 11% increase over the previous Tundra.
There are now more camera views to keep an eye on everything, including one for the truck's bed, a split-view camera for either side, a hitch view and a bird's eye perspective. Blind-spot monitoring can cover the length of the trailer, and Toyota's Trailer Back Guidance helps drivers make those precise turns when reversing. Straight Path Assist can aid in keeping the trailer going backwards in a straight line. Yes, that last one is more difficult than it looks.
Of course, Toyota wouldn't be Toyota without its TRD trims. The TRD Off-Road package is available on SR5, Limited and 1794 models and gets you TRD-specific wheels, grille and skid plates, as well as Bilstein shocks. If your truck has four-wheel drive, the package also adds a rear locking differential, different terrain driving modes and Crawl Control, which is like a low-speed cruise control for off-roading. For those who are more into a go-fast look, the TRD Sport can be added to SR5 models and includes a TRD grille and wheels, as well as a lowered suspension.
However, it's the TRD Pro model that gets all the best off-road goodies. Available only with the i-Force Max hybrid powertrain, the TRD Pro has 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires wrapped around 18-inch TRD wheels. A set of 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks with piggyback reservoirs live at each corner and the front of the truck gets a 1.1-inch lift over the other trims. Other TRD tidbits include an upgraded front stabilizer bar and TRD aluminum skid plating, in addition to the aforementioned rear locker, MultiTerrain Select and Crawl Control.
Inside, the Tundra gets a massive update in terms of design and technology. The Tundra comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, though drivers can opt for a 14-inch, horizontally oriented center display. Wirelessand are included, as is Bluetooth compatibility for up to five devices. You can store up to three driver profiles in the Tundra's multimedia system.
The infotainment system itself is dramatically different from what you'll find in other Toyotas, with decent voice recognition, quick reaction times and pinch-to-zoom capabilities. Other hi-tech improvements include an available 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster that powers on with one of five rotating Tundra animations. Who doesn't love a good welcome animation?
As for advanced driver's aids, Toyota includes its Safety Sense 2.5 on every Tundra. This gives you features like pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-tracing assist and lane-departure warning that now comes with a steering assist should you wander out of the lane. Also on tap are automatic high beams, rear-cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, road sign assist and a rear seat reminder.
Gone is the clunky, chunky design of the last-generation Tundra, replaced with better materials and a more streamlined look. Buyers can opt for a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and heated and cooled seats. And don't worry, the power-sliding middle rear window is still here.
The shifter has been redesigned to be more stout and thick and there's more storage space for smaller items. The big ol' honkin' knobs under the infotainment screen have been replaced by a row of sleek toggle switches, but Toyota did the right thing by keeping a physical volume knob.
We'll know more about the 2022 Tundra when we get a chance to drive it in the coming weeks. Pricing and fuel economy information should be available around then, too, ahead of the 2022 Tundra hitting dealers later this year.