David Lee Roth of Van Halen once sang, “Change, nothing stays the same.” This was in the song Unchained, and the next line was “unchained, yeah you hit the ground running.” Toyota knows this, which is why if you stop at a Toyota dealer near you, you are going to find some interesting changes for 2022. This is because Toyota has always tried to be on the cutting edge of technological innovation and improvement in the automotive world.
Just like other industries, the auto industry is influenced by changing conditions and outside factors. This is actually what helped build Toyota, as it was one of the first companies to recognize the need for more fuel-efficient cars back in the early ’70s. When the oil embargo struck this country in 1973, people who had bought one of those first Toyota Corolla cars were in a better spot than most other folks, as their car gave them better fuel economy. While their friends were waiting in line at gas stations, people who owned a Corolla were able to drive right by on the way to work or the store. This ability to read the tea leaves and accurately predict the changing tastes of the auto-buying public have helped keep Toyota as one of the most successful automakers in the world.
What’s New for 2022?
Like most other automakers, Toyota will introduce a number of new models each year. These are usually built off of existing platforms that have proven popular, expanding an already popular design to suit a different group of drivers. Toyota has chosen to introduce three new models for 2022, each one a new version of a popular model that serves a new need.
The Corolla Cross
One of the most exciting new Toyota vehicles is the Corolla Cross. This is a subcompact SUV built on the vehicle that helped create Toyota’s legacy, the compact Corolla. Toyota has been building this dependable and efficient compact car since the ’60s, and the Corolla is currently in its twelfth vehicle generation. The 2022 Corolla Cross joins other lineup variants, the Corolla Hatchback and Corolla Hybrid, but with a crucial difference: this model provides the amazing cargo space that only an SUV can provide.
The front-wheel drive model has 25.5 cubic feet of trunk space that can be increased to an astounding 66.8 cubic feet of space for your stuff simply by folding down the rear row of seats. In addition, the front-wheel Corolla Cross is estimated to provide up to 32 miles per gallon combined, while the available all-wheel drive reduces this slightly to a still very impressive 30 miles per gallon. This positions the Corolla Cross as an ideal first car for a driver on a budget who wants fuel efficiency, space for their belongings, and room for all their friends.
The Hybrid Tundra
Toyota revolutionized the auto industry when it introduced the Prius, the first commercially viable hybrid engine vehicle. Since the debut of the Prius in 1997, Toyota has begun using the hybrid technology developed with this model and applying it to other existing models in its lineup. The latest model to get the hybrid engine option is the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
This adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter i-FORCE MAX Turbo V6 that comes standard on this full-size truck. As a result, your Tundra’s performance gets a boost from 348 to 437 horsepower and 405 to 583 lb-ft of torque. In addition, you will see improved fuel economy on the Tundra, with 22 miles per gallon combined on rear-wheel drive models and 21 miles per gallon if you opt for available four-wheel drive. The 2022 Tundra Hybrid has been rated to be able to tow up to 11,450 pounds and haul up to 1,680 pounds of cargo. With fuel prices spiking across the country, it is good to know that you can still get full-size truck performance with a Tundra Hybrid without getting it in the gas pump from having to fill up the tank that often.
The final new model is a sports coupe, the 2022 GR86. This is like a smaller and more affordable version of the Toyota GR Supra sports car, which was first introduced in time for the 2020 model year. Toyota has equipped the GR86 with a sporty 2.4-liter Boxer-4 engine, with a choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Whichever you choose, you are going to get solid acceleration with exceptional handling and cornering. What’s more, the GR86 is incredibly fuel-efficient, delivering up to 25 miles per gallon combined if you choose the automatic transmission option.
Farewell to an Old Friend
As often happens, automakers decide to discontinue certain models. This usually has little to do with the quality of the vehicle in question and more to do with changing public tastes. This is probably why Toyota decided to discontinue making the Land Cruiser after the 2021 model year. This venerable three-row, full-size SUV dates all the way back to 1992. However, tastes were changing, caused in no small part by rising gas prices. It didn’t help that the 2021 Land Cruiser averaged an inefficient 14 miles per gallon. In addition, many SUV buyers were opting for less expensive midsize models like the Highlander, which also offers three rows of seats with better fuel economy. If you still have your heart set on a Toyota Land Cruiser, you should be able to find one on the used car market. If you do, please send this model our regards.
New Trims and Special Editions
Each year, Toyota adds a number of new trim levels and special editions to some of its existing models. This often entails added features, special exterior themes, or different performance levels. For example, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner now offers a TRD Sport trim. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, and this new 4Runner model has been designed to give you improved street performance, as opposed to the existing TRD Off-Road trim, that focuses on giving you better ability when you take your 4Runner off-roading.
Two of Toyota’s most popular models are the Prius and the Corolla. These two fuel-efficient compacts make great commuter cars. You can now get the Prius or the Corolla with a special Nightshade edition. This model is ideal for people who love having black cars. It really amps up the ebony with blackout headlight components, blacked-out alloy wheels, a black grille and bumper, and other specialized black exterior accents. The Prius Nightshade Edition is its own trim level, while the Corolla Nightshade Edition is built on the SE model. In addition, Toyota offers the 2022 Corolla with an Apex Edition on the SE and XSE models. This adds a lowered, sports-tuned suspension to the existing trim level, giving you a more performance-oriented ride in your Corolla.
One of the first legacy Toyota models to get a hybrid engine was the RAV4. This crossover was already a leader in its vehicle class, and adding a hybrid engine option just boosted its popularity. Toyota is now offering a mid-level SE trim on the 2022 RAV4 Hybrid. This adds 18-inch 5-spoke black-painted sport alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, and unique fabric-trimmed seats with specialized blue stitching that sets this model apart from others in the RAV4 Hybrid lineup. This gives you great looks and features in a crossover with exceptional fuel economy, an impressive 40 miles per gallon combined.
Did you ever want to get a vehicle with the advantages of a minivan and the ability to take it out camping? If so, then it sounds like Toyota may have the model for you. The 2022 Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition offers you seating for up to 7 passengers, with an astounding maximum cargo space of 101 cubic feet. It also has standard all-wheel drive with increased ground clearance, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Toyota has equipped the Sienna Woodland Edition with a 1,500-watt inverter with a 120V AC outlet so you can power camping equipment when you decide to enjoy the great outdoors with your friends and family. Also, the 2022 Sienna Woodland Edition gets you an impressive 35 miles per gallon combined, so you’ll have more money to spend on your tent!
Another Year of Change for Toyota
With the new models and upgrades of existing models, Toyota has shown that it will continue to improve to serve its customer base. One thing that each of these models has in common is that it provides solid fuel economy, with some delivering truly impressive numbers. This should position Toyota well as consumers grapple with rising fuel prices. This also may have been behind the decision to discontinue producing the Land Cruiser. It will be interesting to see how Toyota handles the new challenges that are sure to face the automotive industry in the near future.