Toyota is a brand recognized best for its outstanding track record of reliable cars, trucks, and SUVs. It’s one of the few brands that can confidently say its cars go the distance, running smoothly with hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. Toyota’s truck lineup is no different. When Toyota first released the Tundra back in 2000, it faced stiff competition in the pickup truck market. The Tundra would have to steal the spotlight from long-running fan favorites like the Ford F-150 series, Chevy Silverado, and Dodge Ram. In order to stand out, Toyota hit the ground running with its ultra-reliable first-generation Tundra, which felt almost SUV-like in its body and cabin. These days, the truck is still kicking butt and taking names, coming out swinging after a ground-up redesign for 2022. Let’s take a look at what makes the 2022 Toyota Tundra a knockout punch.
Impressing the Masses
Toyotas are widely known for their undeniable reliability. If maintained properly, a Toyota truck can easily be on the road for decades. It’s a brand that a mechanic would recommend, provided he doesn’t want to see you anytime soon. It’s also a brand that parents can feel confident handing down to their children, knowing it’ll reduce the likelihood of leaving a loved one stranded due to an unexpected breakdown.
Sales of Toyota’s first full-size truck, the T100, were slow due to the smaller V6 engine and the high import tax, so Toyota needed to keep building momentum to compete with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. In 1998, Toyota got it together and converted to using a larger V8 in a more attractive body style. It also eventually had to drop the name, bearing too much resemblance to Ford’s F-150. With those critical changes made, they debuted the very first model bearing the name “Tundra.” Designed and built in Texas, the Tundra was an all-American pickup truck ready to compete with the segment leaders.
Fast forward to 2012, and a Tundra gets hired for easily one of the coolest jobs of all time: help tow the Endeavour Space Shuttle from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center. While the truck only did a five-minute leg of the journey over the Manchester Bridge, the Tundra received a ton of great press for towing the 292,500 lb spaceship. Tundra sales exploded.
If towing a spaceship wasn’t impressive enough, Tundra made headlines again in 2016. North Dakota resident Victor Sheppard bought his 2007 Tundra brand new and regularly drove it across the states to Wyoming and Virginia for work, annually clocking an average of 125,000 miles. By year nine, the truck still operating with its original engine and transmission, he drove his one-millionth mile. Toyota was so impressed that they actually replaced Sheppard’s truck with a new one so they could take the million-mile truck apart and research it.
What’s New for 2022?
Interestingly enough, Toyota reverted back to a V6 for the 2022 Tundra, but don’t let it fool you; it’s still powerful enough to compete in a market saturated with V8 trucks thanks to its twin turbochargers and optional electric motors. At the most basic trim level, the 2022 Tundra produces 348 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Speed and torque go up with pricier trims, topping out with the hybrid i-FORCE MAX engine, which pushes out 437 hp and a best-in-class 583 lb-ft of torque.
The setup of the hybrid powertrain is also unique to the Tundra. The electric motor sits between the transmission and the gas engine, allowing for a more efficient transfer of power and a reduction in lag when accelerating. This key feature means confidence for a driver getting on the highway, knowing that what’s under the hood is both uncompromising and fun. The gasoline-only i-FORCE twin-turbo engine’s 0-60 mph time is 6.1 seconds, while the hybrid does it in just 5.7 seconds.
Not only does the hybrid setup deliver more power, it also saves fuel (although it is certainly no Prius). This year’s improvements have really been made where it counts. The battery on the hybrid uses the newly developed Power Control Unit (PCU) designed to enhance battery durability, allowing for faster delivery of torque while better sustaining charge to the battery. The nickel-metal combo battery is situated under the passenger seats in the back.
Also new to the 2022 Tundra is the refined coil-spring rear suspension. It improves the handling and softens any bumps or potholes. Together the frame and suspension deliver a smooth ride without neglecting power and capability. The Tundra’s available max towing is up to 12,000 lb. Think of the potential. Maybe you’re towing an RV out to the national parks, loading up dirt bikes for the whole family, or even taking the boat out to the lake for that upcoming long weekend. It may not be a spaceship, but it’s endless potential for a great time, knowing you can easily get yourself and all your stuff wherever you need to go.
Other Notable Features
Spring for the top-of-the-line Capstone trim, and you can expect fun and luxury all rolled into one sweet ride. Fitted with 22-inch dark chrome and machined-finish alloy wheels, semi-aniline leather trim, 10-way power-adjusted seats, and a two-tone white and black interior with American walnut woodgrain trim, this trim is beautiful and comfortable. The inside has a 10-inch color Head-Up Display, and the outside has power running boards and Toyota’s BedStep. Getting in and out of this truck is a breeze. As far as bed sizes go, the Double Cab is available with either a 6.5-foot or 8.1-foot bed, and the CrewMax can be configured with a 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot bed, customizable to your exact needs.
Not to mention the safety tech. The 2022 Tundra Capstone comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, a trailer backup guide with straight path assist, and a panoramic view monitor that uses cameras at the front, sides, and rear for a 360-degree view of what’s going on around the truck. It also offers wireless charging and your very own WiFi hotspot available as a subscription. Other trims like the 1974 Edition come outfitted with stunning woodgrain trim and more storage than you’d know what to do with. The interior comes with tons of cubic storage and a massive center console. Like most full-size trucks built for today’s needs, the 2022 Tundra comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen or can be upgraded to a best-in-class 14-inch touchscreen, larger than any of its competitors. Tundra also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A Tundra for Everyone
While Tundra is newer than many of its competitors in the segment, it has proved a worthy contender. For 2022, Toyota has taken an already successful truck and completely reimagined it for the modern age. It’s now outfitted with desirable, forward-thinking tech inside and out. Improvements to the engine are smart and demonstrate Toyota’s commitment to quality and reliability. Drivers can depend on the Toyota Tundra the same as they’ve grown to depend on the entire Toyota lineup over the years. It’s a stellar truck with a remarkable history, and the 2022 Tundra is no exception.