Sunday Drive: 2022 Toyota Tundra is an all-new truck experience
It has been almost 10 years since the Toyota Tundra has undergone such a significant change as it did for the 2022 model year. This year, it has been redesigned from the ground up to be the most capable Tundra to date.
Our first look at a new Tundra was back in January at the Salt Lake Auto Show and of course they didn’t have any yet on dealer lots. It was at this time that we found out it would only be coming with a 3.5-liter V-6 twin-turbocharged engine — and it was being advertised that it would pull up to 12,000 pounds. At the time, we had our doubts about that small of an engine really being able to compete in a market dominated by larger, very powerful motors.
Could a smaller engine work in a full-size truck? Would it preform as other trucks? Would everyday driving be the same? All good questions that had roamed around in our minds for past few months as we waited for the Tundra to hit our press fleet and make its way to Utah. In fact, we had only seen one to date, in our everyday driving around Utah.
As everyone could imagine, we were looking forward to some time in the all-new full-sized pickup offering from Toyota. After a little research, the smaller engine has performance numbers that are right there with the competition, coming with 389 horsepower and, more importantly, 479 foot-pounds of torque.
And when paired with what Toyota has labeled the i-Force Max version, which includes a newly engineered bell-housing motor system, the Tundra will produce a whopping 437 horsepower and 583 foot-pounds of torque.
This system is an inline hybrid powertrain that is used to up the power and torque and will prove to be a story for another day as we have been told we will get the opportunity for a week in the new hybrid version of the Tundra.
The Limited version that we had for the week was rated to pull up to 11,170 pounds with the Crew Cab in the 4X4 set up. Toyota says it can go to 12,000 pounds maximum in the 4X2 Double Cab version.
However, we really felt the best way to check out the Tundra would be in a real-world situation with a real load that we would pull with our own pickup truck. So, Craig hitched up the Tundra that was equipped with all the trailering extras, brakes, cameras and the like to one of his trailers full of sound equipment that weighs in just over 8,000 pounds.
With the trailer in tow on a rainy, windy afternoon, he headed up Spanish Fork Canyon figuring the pull up over Billie’s Mountain and down into Thistle would be a great test with the 6% grade going up and down both sides.
Without even hardly noticing that there was extra weight in the back, the Tundra was up to freeway speed of 75 mph on Interstate 15 before hitting Highway 6, where he was able to keep up with traffic, and in fact maintaining the speed of 70 mph up and over the mountain, passing a few semis on the way!
The power was there to make the pull with all the confidence he could have had in a larger V-8 engine. The Tundra handled it with ease, much easier that he would have thought going into the week — a very pleasant surprise. About the only downside was our gas mileage, which was averaging around 17.5 mpg and dropped as expected to around 12.7, so close to the same numbers we get in a half-ton pickup from any manufacture with a trailer hooked up.
The new Tundra also had people asking questions all week long about the exterior look of the new truck. Toyota has done a great job keeping a very rugged, yet sophisticated look to the outside of the new design, coming complete with LED lights all around and even a nifty little side button incorporated into the rear drivers side taillamp that opens the tailgate — kind of a cool idea so you don’t have to get out of the way when it comes down.
With the included kickdown sidestep, it also made getting into the bed easier and very handy for older, age-enhanced drivers such as ourselves!
Inside was where we were really impressed with the looks of the new Tundra. We were glad to see that the knobs where still large and easy to use along with all of the toggles for the HVAC system and changing into tow mode along with different 4X4 options.
But the best thing is the absolutely monstrous new 14-inch-wide multimedia display. With the included wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it really was just like having an iPad mounted right in the center console. In fact, we even joked saying that someday they most likely will have a design where the screen comes out and functions as a pad-type computer when you are not driving the truck.
Of course, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 was standard in our Limited trim Tundra, adding all kinds of safety goodies, along with blind spot monitor, pre-collision control with pedestrian detection, trailer brake and sway control, full-speed adaptive cruise control with lane detection and lane trace assist, automatic high beams and road sign detection.
Craig again had the opportunity to check out the adaptive cruise on a trip to Salt Lake City and Top Golf with three friends who were all impressed with the interior of the new Tacoma. Of course, the screen size is hard to miss and got the most comments, other than the fact that there is ample room in the rear for three adults to sit in complete comfort.
Our hats are off to Toyota and their ability to come up with some great features on an already great basis for a full-sized pickup.
Base price: $51,900
Destination charge: $1,695
Price as driven: $60,273