2022 Toyota Tundra pickup brings hybrid power and cloud-based nav system to the Truck Wars

·6 min read

The 2022 Toyota Tundra will bank on an all-new chassis, hybrid powertrain and an impressive new infotainment system and virtual assistant as it tries to shake up the Detroit-dominated market for full-size pickups.

The 2022 Tundra is new from the ground up, a long-awaited replacement for Toyota’s first full-size pickup, which debuted as a 2007 model in 2006 — more than two generations ago for the Chevrolet, Ford and Ram pickups it competes with.

The Tundra was engineered and designed in the U.S. Its new infotainment system, which includes cloud-based navigation and an effective virtual assistant was also developed here. Toyota will build the Tundra in San Antonio.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra can tow up to 12,000 lbs.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra can tow up to 12,000 lbs.

The Tundra acquitted itself well during a day testing in the Texas hill country, but staked no claim to leadership, at least in part because the automaker won’t reveal pricing ‘til closer to when sales begin in December. The more powerful, top of the line hybrid isn’t due in dealerships til next spring.

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2022 Toyota Tundra model range:

  • SR

  • SR5

  • Limited

  • Platinum

  • 1794 Edition

  • TRD Pro

Prices are to be announced.

2 cabs, 3 beds, several questions

The Tundra comes in two four-door cabs: the Double Cab, which has a small rear seat, and the Crewmax, a conventional-size crew cab with a roomy rear seat. Both hold five people.

Three cab lengths are available: 6.5 or 8.1 feet with the Double Cab; 5.5 and 6.5 feet with Crewmax.

All configurations are available with rear- or four-wheel drive. A low-range transfer case is available for off-roading.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra Double Cab has a smaller rear seat than the Crewmax crew cab.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra Double Cab has a smaller rear seat than the Crewmax crew cab.

A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Both drivetrains start with a 3.5L two-turbo V6. Strictly speaking, it’s a 3.4L and we round down. The gasoline-only model is called i-Force. It produces 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque in the base SR model. In other models, the same engine will produce 389 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque.

The late-arriving i-Force Max adds a hybrid system to the base powertrain. It develops 437 hp and 583 pound-feet of torque.

Toyota calls the 2022 Tundra's hybrid powertrain i-Force Max.
Toyota calls the 2022 Tundra's hybrid powertrain i-Force Max.

Toyota’s preliminary figures estimate non-hybrid fuel economy of 18 mpg in the city, 23 on the highway and 20 combined. The estimate for 4WD models is 17/22/19.

Toyota did not have estimates for hybrid fuel economy at the time of writing.

Toyota will have 115 accessories available from the start of sales in December.

Driving impressions

I drove turbo and hybrid Tundras on a variety of surface roads and highways and an off-road trail. I also towed trailers weighing up to the pickup’s full rated 12,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

The roomy pickup performed well. A stiffer frame and independent rear suspension contribute to a smooth, quiet ride and firm precise steering.

The two V6 twin-turbos are smooth and powerful. Even the base generates more horsepower and torque than Toyota’s unlamented 5.7L V8, which we can hope not to see again.

The Tundra was capable on off-road tracks that included a short scramble up a roughly 40-degree slope of volley- to beach-ball-size rocks and over a few roughly utility pole-size logs. An automated crawl control modulated brakes and throttle for smooth progress at a set speed, leaving the driver free to focus on steering between rocks and trees.

2022 Toyota Tundra Crew max
2022 Toyota Tundra Crew max

The independent rear suspension proved particularly useful towing a nearly 12,000-pound, 26-foot Airstream Land Yacht. The twin-turbo had no difficulty pulling into traffic or negotiating a slight grade to a reservoir. Toyota expects the hybrid’s towing capacity to be in the “low 11,000s.”

The 2022 Toyota Tundra offers plenty of safety and driver assistance features, many of them standard:

  • Pre-collision alert and braking

  • Pedestrian detection

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Lane departure alert and assist

  • Lane tracing assist

  • Automatic high beams

  • Road sign recognition

  • Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and trailer detection

  • Hill start assist

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Best new features

The interior is accommodating, with a wide console that offers plenty of storage. Most of the surfaces are padded. An 8-inch touch screen is standard, but most Tundras will get an exuberant 14-inch is optional on the SR5 and standard on higher trims. The bigger screen responds to common motions including pinch, zoom and swipe.

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra

Toyota’s new infotainment system seems to the be Tundra’s big advance. The system, which will roll out over every new Toyota and Lexus and evolve to add more features, is cloud-based and includes a virtual assistant that handled every driving related question I threw at it.

Linking it to data in the cloud means a request for nearby food will bring information like hours of operation, menu and ratings, not just a list of addresses and joints called Mom’s. The system will store destination, directions and adjacent information in case you lose the connection to the cloud.

The Tundra also has a system for hands-free backing up with a trailer. The truck and trailer must be straight and aimed exactly at the desired boat ramp or barn. If the driver can handle that, the truck will stay on the straight and narrow.

How’s it rate?

It’s impossible to make a meaningful judgement of a vehicle without its price and final EPA fuel economy rating, but the 2022 Toyota Tundra makes a good first impression. It’s quiet, smooth, comfortable and met the promises Toyota made.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra's 14-inch touch screen is available on most models.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra's 14-inch touch screen is available on most models.

With the possible exception of the infotainment system, though, the Tundra doesn’t set new standards for full-size pickups. Its expected fuel economy and towing capacity are respectable, but not class-leading.

Competitive pricing will be vital.

2022 Toyota Tundra at a glance

Prices to be announced

Rear- or four-wheel drive four-door full-size pickup

Two cab sizes: Double Cab and Crewmax.

Bed lengths: 5.5, 6.5, 8.1 feet

Gasoline-only models on sale in December; hybrid sales begin spring, 2022

Engines: Twin-turbo V6 and twin-turbo V6 hybrid

Output:

Gasoline only: 342 or 389 hp @ 5,200 rpm, depending on model; 405 or 479 pound-feet of torque @ 2,000 or 2,400 rpm, depending on model

Hybrid: 437 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 583 pound-feet of torque @ 2,400 rpm

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Preliminary fuel economy estimate: Rear-drive:18 mpg city/23 highway/20 combined. Four-wheel drive: 17/22/19

Hybrid fuel economy TBA.

Payload: 1,940 pounds

Towing capacity: 12,000 pounds

Dimensions of 4WD crew cab model with 5.5-foot bed:

Wheelbase: 145.7 inches

Length: 233.6 inches

Width: 80.2, 81.6 (for TRD Pro)

Height: 78 inches

Curb weight: 5,390-5,490 pounds

Assembled in San Antonio, Texas

Contact Mark Phelan at 313-222-6731 or mmphelan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup arrives with hybrid, cloud-based infotainment

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