2022 Toyota Tundra First Look Review: No V8, No Problem

First Look / Comments

The long-awaited redesign has finally arrived.

It is finally here. The all-new third-generation Toyota Tundra has arrived for the 2022 model year. The last time Toyota's full-size pickup truck received a complete overhaul was back in 2007. A series of updates in 2014 could only keep it competitive for so long.

The Tundra has accrued millions of devout fans over the years despite stiff competition from Detroit. Ford, GM, and Stellantis have all completely redesigned their full-size truck offerings more than once since the Tundra's last redo, and yet the latter managed to hang in there. That scenario no longer works. The 2022 Tundra has a new engine, an adaptive suspension, solid towing and hauling capabilities, a dedicated off-road trim, and a long list of new technologies. Its all-new interior looks tough yet premium, and the exterior forgoes soft lines for a crisp and bold appearance. On paper, the all-new Tundra is already a winner.

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Toyota
Toyota

Designed In California

The Tundra has always been a truck for Americans and the new exterior styling was done at the carmaker's California design studio. "Technical muscle" was the theme along with an outdoor lifestyle feel. Above all, the goal was to retain the Toyota truck identity.

The large front grille differs slightly by trim level with black mesh for the off-road-ready TRD Pro, for example. Toyota didn't officially confirm but the headlights and taillights are very likely LED units. We especially like how the headlights mold directly into the front wheel arches. The taillights' vertical positioning is a nice touch. Moving to the side, there's a low character line that slightly tapers upward to meet the crisp creases that form those wheel arches. A rear split window is a familiar and welcomed design choice.

Wheel designs will vary by trim level, which includes SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794. Wheel sizes range from 18-20 inches, again according to trim. Some exterior colors include Super White, Wind Chill Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, Super Sonic Red, Army Green, and Lunar Rock. Two unique four-door layouts are offered, along with beds measuring 5.5-, 6.5-, and 8.1 feet.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
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Power, Off-Roading, And Hauling Duties

Buyers will have a choice of two engines: the standard twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque or a twin-turbo V6 hybrid (officially called i-Force Max) with an even healthier 437 hp at 5,200 rpm and 583 lb-ft at only 2,400 rpm. A new 10-speed automatic transmission features a sequential shift mode, uphill/downhill shift logic, and special tow and haul modes. The V8 engine is gone.

Another first for the Tundra is the Sport and Sport+ drive settings that enable the hybrid to utilize its electric motor's instantaneous response. Above 18 mph, the gas engine is constantly working to ensure maximum performance. A Tow/Haul mode keeps the hybrid system working for improved acceleration and torque for towing. The hybrid has a claimed 12,000-pound maximum towing capacity while payload is rated at 1,940 pounds. Official EPA ratings are not available.

Both the TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road variants receive a Multi-Terrain Monitor. Back Guidance and Straight Path Assist are extremely useful when maneuvering while towing things like boats. There's also the switch from rear leaf springs to coils. Up front, there's new double-wishbone suspension and an available adaptive suspension that adjusts damping force according to road conditions.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Tough Guy Interior

As trucks continue to move upmarket with more interior comfort and tech features than ever, the new Tundra had to do the same. Packed with creature comforts, the new interior includes a new multimedia system with a slick-looking touchscreen and interface. An eight-inch screen is standard fare and a 14-inch unit is optional, but on both, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. Listening to customers, Toyota rightly stuck with a conventional volume knob instead of integrating it into the touchscreen. Buyers have a choice between two gauge cluster designs: a 4.1-inch screen with traditional gauges or a 12.3-inch all-digital screen.

A new cloud-based navigation system receives enhancements thanks to over-the-air updates and it's still capable of working offline if necessary. Existing maps stored in its memory will get you home. Other notable tech systems include Toyota Connected Services offering 24/7 support with an actual human representative and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.

Some standard safety systems include forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, and a rear-seat reminder.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Pricing And Competition

Toyota has not announced official pricing at this time, but we don't think it'll greatly differ from the outgoing model's $35,000 starting point. Fully-loaded examples will easily surpass the $55,000 mark.

Competition in the full-size truck segment is beyond fierce. The Detroit Three rule and they don't like outsiders like the Tundra or the Nissan Titan. The Ford F-150 remains the best-seller and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 continue the second-place sales slot fight. Truck buyers are typically very loyal to a specific make and model. Those who aren't will find a lot to like about the 2022 Tundra, especially the hybrid. The F-150 PowerBoost hybrid and its combined 430 hp is a smashing sales success, proving truck buyers are ready for electrification. Toyota has no intention of missing out on the party.

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Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

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