Can Japan challenge the Motor City's best at their own game?
There's been quite a lot of excitement surrounding the new Toyota Tundra pickup, and now that the Japanese automaker has revealed its 2022 full-size truck, we can see that the hype has not been unwarranted. As expected, it gets an upmarket new interior and a redesigned suspension system.
But as always, the Tundra's biggest challenge lays in swaying traditionalists away from Detroit's best, namely the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. So has Toyota done enough to be a serious competitor against these stalwarts or can the old boys still maintain their position in the pecking order? The only way to find out is to compare them head-to-head (to head, to head).
There's no denying that the new Toyota Tundra looks more American than ever before. Its squared theme for the grille, wheel arches, cabin, mirrors, and lights are not unlike that employed by the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150. Blacked-out A-pillars add to the Tundra's modern look while hood accents on the TRD Pro model add aggression. While the F-150 and Silverado are evolutions of older designs with a modern twist, the Tundra looks like a different truck.
Similarly, the Ram 1500 looks modern but not fresh anymore. It's difficult to compile each truck's styling strengths and weaknesses into a single paragraph, but we feel that the latest Tundra is definitely the best-looking of the current crop of full-size pickups. At the very least, it's bold enough not to look out of place among some elite company.
Most truck buyers are more interested in capability than gizmos, but there's no denying that a well-designed cabin makes ownership of any vehicle more enjoyable. In the Tundra, your base models get a 4.1-inch driver info display and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display, but they can be upgraded to 12.3- and 14-inch displays, respectively.
Both infotainment systems offer standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as voice control, cloud-based navigation, and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Toyota's standard suite of safety features includes forward collision assist, adaptive cruise control, lane tracing, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert that can account for a hitched trailer, just like in the Silverado.
In that Chevy Silverado, all models come with both a mammoth 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a 12.3-inch driver info display as standard. The Ford F-150 is a little disappointing, offering only an 8-inch screen in the base model, as in the Tundra. However, you can get a 12-inch display, and both screens will feature the excellent SYNC4 infotainment system.
Over at Ram, its 1500 is the biggest disappointment with a 3.5-inch color display between analog gauges. You get a tiny 5-inch infotainment screen as standard here, but this can be upgraded to an 8.4-inch or a 12-inch display. Despite its size inadequacies, the Ram's Uconnect 5 system is among the best on offer, so although Toyota promises a refreshed infotainment system with better responses and features, it will certainly not have an easy go of taking on Detroit's old guard.
The 2022 Tundra comes with a choice of two twin-turbo V6 engines, one delivering 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque - more than you got with the old (and now dead) V8. The second powertrain adds a motor-generator to this V6 for a total of 437 hp and 583 lb-ft. Both versions of the Tundra are mated to a ten-speed automatic.
Power figures for the 2022 F-150 have not yet been revealed, but we know that the Power Stroke diesel engine is dead. However, a Coyote V8 remains, as do a PowerBoost hybrid model and two EcoBoost V6 options. The Silverado offers a variety of engines too, including a turbodiesel, a new turbo-four, and a couple of V8s. However, none of these produce the power and torque of the top Tundra engine. The range-topping ZR2 only comes with the 6.2-liter V8 that generates 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Over at Ram, a variety of engines will again be available, from a standard Pentastar V6 with a mild-hybrid setup to a diesel six-cylinder and a V8. Toyota may offer the most power (excepting the TRX), but the others all offer more variety.
This is a massive deciding factor for many truck buyers. Even if most may never use their truck's full towing capacity, bragging rights are just as important here as they are under the hood. In its most capable guise, the 2022 Tundra will be able to tow as much as 12,000 pounds. That's an impressive figure, but it still keeps the Tundra slightly behind the competition.
The Ram 1500 will be capable of up to 12,750, the Silverado can manage 13,300, and the best version in the F-150 range can do a whopping 14,000 lbs. To help level the playing field, Toyota has added a Tow/Haul mode to the Tundra that features several cameras to keep an eye on what's happening behind you. Trailer Back Guidance and Straight Path Assist can help with reversing a towed vehicle too, but we'll have to wait to see how these features stack up against the ones from Detroit.
Toyota has done a lot to improve the Tundra, and this is evident in the decision to follow Chevy's lead and delete leaf springs for the rear suspension in favor of coils. Various driving modes and a plethora of available camera angles aim to make towing, parking, and driving safer and easier too. Furthermore, the infotainment system is Toyota's latest and should be excellent, although we'll wait to try out the voice control before giving it an A+ grade.
Ultimately, the Tundra looks more competitive than ever and should be wildly successful once more, but we'll have to drive it to give a full evaluation. In addition, we look forward to seeing what Ford offers for the 2022 year model.
As for pricing, that still hasn't been revealed, but we expect the Tundra to remain competitive and hover around the $35k mark for a base model and up to $55,000 for the top trim before options. In a nutshell, the Tundra looks brilliant, but it'll take more than that to dethrone one of The Big Three.