2022 Toyota Tundra enters the pickup fray with a turbo V6 motor and independent rear suspension

Alvin Reyes - Sep 20, 2021, 5:58am CDT
2022 Toyota Tundra enters the pickup fray with a turbo V6 motor and independent rear suspension

The 2022 Toyota Tundra is finally ready to replace the longstanding second-gen model sold since 2007. The all-new, third-gen Toyota Tundra rides on a new F1 platform featuring a fully-boxed, high-strength ladder frame with aluminum in vital areas to reduce weight. In addition, the bold, new fascia is something worth considering as the new Tundra has inherited the new Land Cruiser’s humongous front fascia.

But the grille is not the only thing the new Tundra is getting from the Land Cruiser. Under that bulbous hood is not a V8 engine. Instead, it receives a twin-turbocharged V6 with dual overhead camshafts, a water-cooled intercooler, and dual VVTi. Equipped with an 85,5 mm bore and 100 mm stroke, the V6 churns out 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, about 20 less horsepower than the twin-turbo V6 in the Land Cruiser – albeit having the same amount of torque.

The biggest news is a hybrid V6 engine that Toyota refers to as i-FORCE MAX. It uses the same twin-turbo V6 but adds a clutch-driven motor-generator between the engine and the 10-speed automatic gearbox. The electric motor draws power from a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear seat. You can drive the new Tundra hybrid in all-electric mode until 18 mph, upon which the gas engine comes to life to motivate the truck from mid to high speeds.

Perhaps the hybrid Tundra is a better option if you like the shove of a V8. Toyota claims 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque with the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain, but there’s a catch: The hybrid is standard in the TRD Pro, but it will come optional in the Limited, Platinum, and 1794. The 2022 Toyota Tundra will come in SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 trims. You can choose between a Double Cab (with a 6.5 or 8.1-foot bed) or CrewMax (with a 5.5 or 6.5-foot bed) body style with standard 4×4 and optional 4×4 drivetrains.

The new Tundra’s formidable countenance is courtesy of the folks at Toyota Motor Corporation’s North American Calty Research studios in Newport Beach, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Using a ‘technical muscle’ style guide, the new Tundra exemplifies toughness and robust capabilities. “Our design goals from the beginning was to create the most powerful, rugged, and sophisticated looking full-size pickup that will take Tundra to a whole new level,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty Design Research.

Complimenting the 2022 Tundra’s new V6 engine, high-strength steel/aluminum chassis, and the lightweight sheet-molded compound bed is a new multi-link rear suspension, ditching the archaic yet proven leaf springs for coil springs. Despite this, Toyota claims a 17.6-percent increase in towing capacity over the outgoing Tundra, now rated at 12,000 pounds. Additionally, the max payload is now 1,940 pounds, an 11-percent improvement over the old Tundra.

No doubt, the Tundra has an aggressive and durable vibe, but that new rear suspension has also improved the truck’s ride comfort, handling, and straight-line stability. Meanwhile, Toyota updated the front double wishbones by reducing roll steer, enlarging the caster trail, and decreasing the kingpin offset angle. The result is improved stability, 25-percent reduced roll steer, and lesser body roll in high-speed driving.

Not that you would drive the new Tundra like a supercar, but the new independent rear suspension and revised underpinnings will benefit ride and handling on the street or when attacking the wild outdoors. In addition, the TRD Off-Road Package adds Bilstein s dampers, while the TRD Pro receives new FOX shocks with a 1.1-inch front lift. Also, Toyota’s adaptive variable suspension is optional to the Tundra for the first time.

Inside, the 2022 Tundra is the first Toyota vehicle to debut an all-new infotainment system wholly developed by Toyota’s Connected Technologies department in Texas. It now has a human-machine interface via voice commands and five times more processing power than the previous system. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard, while a 14-inch touchscreen display is optional, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across the board.

Other new features in the third-generation Tundra full-size pickup truck are an updated instrument panel and an available 12.3-inch digital display. The latter comes standard on the Platinum, TRD Pro, and 1794 with the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain. And of course, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 is standard in all 2022 Tundras. The package includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rear-seat reminder, to mention a few.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra will go on sale this winter. Toyota will announce pricing and other specs soon. And when the Tundra arrives later this year, it will be the only full-size pickup not to have a V8 engine. Whether this is good or bad, we’ll have to wait and see.


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