Sometimes change is bad, sometimes change isn’t needed, and sometimes change enhances the things that were already good. The Toyota Tundra has been an excellent full-size truck model for many consumers throughout the years, but there were definitely some aspects that needed a little upgrading to keep up with the advancements of design and technology. As it would turn out, this year marks the dawn of a new generation for this pickup truck. Now that we’ve started seeing more details about the 2022 Toyota Tundra, we can see the care and effort Toyota has put into giving this vehicle a modern appeal. This isn’t simply another case of a subtle upgrade, but rather a whole new Tundra people are going to want to check out.
The changes for this model start becoming noticeable right away in the new trim lineup. The base-level trim that had been available for the Tundra before, the SR, is no longer available. This then makes the SR5 the new base model, whereas this trim cost more to upgrade to in last year’s model. Another change that has taken place is the new 1794 edition, which is expected to take plenty of cues from the other high-end trim levels that are still around. Trim levels such as the Platinum and the TRD Pro are still present and are easily fan favorites, especially the TRD Pro with its exceptional off-roading abilities. But, the changes don’t stop there.
Out With the Old
A common theme that we had seen with preceding Tundra models was complaints that were directed at the powertrain. Why, you may ask? Last year, the only engine that you could fit inside of the 2021 Tundra was a large and fuel-hungry 5.7L V8 engine. In regards to power output, it certainly delivered; there’s no doubt about that. With 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, along with a towing capacity of 10,200 lbs, it wasn’t a slouch; that much is for certain. However, there were a few caveats that didn’t sit well with drivers, and that was it only had a 6-speed automatic transmission. Worst of all, it burned fuel like nobody’s business, and the result was frustrated drivers who found themselves at a gas station more than anywhere else.
There was a sense that Toyota could do more and perhaps lean into newer technologies that would rectify this problem. However, there was one more concern that others had about the 2022 Tundra, and that was the fear of being restricted to one engine choice again. We’re thrilled to report that Toyota has rectified all of these issues, and the 2022 Tundra, in many ways, is exactly the type of truck that drivers wanted. So, what were the changes, and just how beneficial are they to the overall experience?
The first order of business was to ditch the V8 engine, and this was for the best. Nowadays, turbocharged V6 engines can achieve similar, if not better, performance than aging V8 engines such as the one in last year’s Tundra. It wasn’t all about leaving this V8 behind, however, but the 6-speed automatic transmission was replaced with a smoother yet punchier 10-speed automatic transmission.
Already, this fixes one of the complaints that were expressed by disgruntled customers last time around, but does this switch result in lesser performance? No, it does not, and it’s all thanks to the turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine. When fitted with this engine, the 2022 Tundra gets 389 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. A 19% increase in torque throughput for the base engine is quite substantial, and this directly correlates to a greater towing capacity of 12,000 lbs. Fuel economy ratings have yet to be published, but we can almost guarantee it’ll be better than last year’s 13 MPG in the city and 17 MPG on the highway that its V8 engine brought to the table.
Yes, There’s a Hybrid Now
To the surprise of many, Toyota went one extra step further this time around. Not only has the V8 engine that plagued the 2021 model been thrown out, but Toyota has introduced a hybrid variant to this titular pickup truck. For a couple of reasons, this was a brilliant call, and if you’re going to purchase a 2022 Tundra, this one makes it a no-brainer. Along with the standard hybrid affair of an integrated battery, it pairs with a MAX turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine, a stronger variant of the base engine.
The results are simply stunning with 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque, which we’d like to express that this is 14.6% more horsepower than last year’s engine and a whopping 45% more torque. Currently, there are no official ratings that are published for this powertrain in both towing capacity and EPA-estimated numbers. However, we suspect that it’ll supersede anything that came before it within the Tundra’s history.
A Brief Mention
Performance isn’t the only facet of the Tundra that has been improved upon by Toyota this year. Various aspects of the interior have been updated to usher in the new generation to a more modern audience. Of course, infotainment centers aren’t new in either Toyota’s lineup or any other. However, we weren’t quite expecting as much of an improvement as the one we’ve seen here.
For reference, last year’s Tundra came standard with an infotainment center that included a 7-inch screen. The upgraded variant on higher-tier trims measured out at 8-inches. This time around, the 8-inch screen is the standard one, which is even larger than what competing models often include as standard. So then, what about the upgraded screen this year? Now, it’s a massive 14-inch panel that fills your center console. This is exceptional, and both seeing it in person and using it completely revolutionizes the way you go about accessing information and media within your cabin. It used to be that infotainment centers with screens like this, or even slightly smaller, were solely reserved for supercars, but this is no longer the case. We’re quite excited to see this new infotainment center, and of course, it still includes the features you’ve come to expect, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It’s Finally Time to Buy
Toyota has surprised us with the new Tundra. While we knew that it would bring in a new generation of this truck, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Some people may have been fully expecting a hybrid option, and now that it’s confirmed, news has been going around fast. Last year, a common trend surrounding the Tundra was that of a joyous experience that was plagued by a few outliers. Toyota has thought well in advance about the changes that it was looking to implement with this year’s model, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
For any reason, if you were turned away by the Tundra in the past because of issues such as these, then we assure you, now is finally the right time to purchase one for yourself. We can’t wait to see what else Toyota is going to reveal about what you can expect from the 2022 Tundra, including updated EPA-estimated ratings and pricing. We also are excited to see how the hybrid powertrain can handle towing, and of course, the 10-speed automatic transmission is a change that we suspect will leave everyone pleased.