Toyota Tundra — All new and ready for action

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(July 10, 2022) With Nissan apparently planning to exit the full-size U.S. pickup truck market after two decades of attempting to crack the code of the Big Three manufacturers, Toyota is betting with an all-new full-sized Tundra pickup that it has the stuff to gain market share.

While the Titan fizzled down to under 30,000 total sales in 2020 and again in 2021, Toyota managed to stay afloat with 109,200 sales in 2020 and 81,959 in 2021 with a truck the had not seen a major makeover since the second generation was introduced in 2007. The biggest Tundra sales year was in 2007, the first year of the second generation, at 196,555. But for the last 10 years sales have averaged about 110,000 a year.

Compare that with average sales of the Ford F-150 (750,000), Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra (850,000) and Ram Brand (650,000) and we think that Toyota has an optimistic streak by developing an all-new full-sized truck. But it has, and it's a credible job. We think the new Tundra will give its loyal owners a reason to celebrate, and perhaps win over enough traditional truck buyers to make it a winner for Toyota.

When Titan production ends, the Tundra will be the only Japanese or European brand selling a full-sized pickup in the U.S. And it's the only full-size pickup without a V-8 option.

Full-sized pickup owners are very loyal people and it will take a monumental effort to pry them away from their F-150, Silverado, or Ram 1500. Buyers of the domestic brands seek a myriad of engine options, bed sizes and configurations. As good as this new Tundra is, it still offers only one engine (in two sizes including a hybrid), and a limited number of combinations with no heavy duty variant.

What Toyota traditionally has going for it is a history of outstanding reliability and virtually unsurpassed trade-in value. And now it has a modern and stylish Tundra in its arsenal.

We drove a 1794 Crewmax Edition of the new Tundra and found it a very pleasant big truck with excellent performance, a vast array of convenience and safety technology, and a well-designed interior. The necessary horsepower and torque are there for pulling big things and carrying heavy loads.

The Tundra has a menacing look with its towering chrome grille, squinty LED headlamps, chiseled fenders, and long cab. At the back is an aluminum reinforced composite bed that is lighter, but should also stand up to a beating.  It’s a sophisticated-looking truck that’s ready to work.

The standard i-FORCE 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 makes 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid version features an electric motor integrated into the transmission, which allows pure electric driving at low speeds. The combination generates a combined 437 horses and a prodigious 583 pound-feet of torque. It has been recorded from 0-to-60 in 5.7 seconds by Car and Driver magazine.  Both variants are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This yields 12,000 pounds of towing capacity, 17.6 percent more than the outgoing truck.

Tundra also offers a slightly det
uned version of the engine in the base SR trim making 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque.

The standard 389-horsepower engine in our test truck proved very capable in all driving situations. We found a very smooth power delivery from the turbocharged V6 through the 10-speed transmission with plenty of low-end torque available. The Tundra offers a fairly buttoned-down and jitter-free ride over most surfaces. Combine that with a good turning radius, and the Tundra makes for a very pleasant daily driver.

One thing we did not like about our 1794 CrewMax was its gigantic side mirrors that measured 18 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The mirrors are too big for daily driving, and they feel absolutely huge even on open Interstate. We found them creating a blindspot when turning a corner.

Underneath, the Tundra sports a new ladder-type frame made of high-strength steel; it’s now fully boxed with cross members that are twice as big as before. Upper trims add hydraulic cab mounts. Available 4-wheel-drive is Toyota’s 4WDemand part-time system with an electronically controlled 2-speed transfer case and automatic limited slip rear. Tundra’s rear suspension moves to a new multi-link coil spring design. Up front is a new double-wishbone setup. TRD PRO models get an inch of lift with upgraded Fox shocks. 

Inside, there’s plenty of soft materials, as well as some ultra-comfortable leather seats in Limited trim.  The Tundra is also tech heavy with an available 14-inch touchscreen debuting a new Audio Multimedia with five-times the previous unit’s processing power. Standard screen size is 8-inches, along with an analog gauge cluster that features a 4-inch multi-information display, while the upgrade is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

To go along with the typical sliding rear window, there are a few options not usually found in the full-size truck segment, like a panoramic roof and rear sunshade. Our test truck had the upgraded JBL audio system that we found very pleasing to our ears.

The Tundra is available in 4-door Double Cab and CrewMax, both handle five people with ease; the CrewMax adding an additional 8.3-inches of legroom to the rear seat space.

There are seven trim levels from which to choose — SR, SR5, Platinum, 1794, TRD Pro and Capstone starting at $39,695. Base prices increase to $75,225 for the Capstone edition. Our CrewMax 1794 test truck carried a bottom line of $66,240 including the $1,695 destination charge.
2022 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 6.5


Base price: $39,695; as driven, $66,240
Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 389 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque: 479 pound-feet @ 2,400 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive: four-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 157.7 inches
Length: 245.6 inches
Curb weight: 5,800 pounds
Turning circle: 50 feet
Bed length: 6 feet, 6 inches
Towing capacity: 10,890 pounds
Payload capacity: 1,575 pounds
Fuel capacity: 32.2 gallons (regular)
EPA rating:17 city, 22 highway, 19 combined
0-60: 6.1 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Chevy Silverado, RAM 1500, Ford F-150

The Good
• Smooth power delivery
• Turbocharged V-6 provides ample performance
• 14-inch touchscreen looks good
• Standard composite bed limits dents, scratches

The Bad
• Huge side mirrors on test truck create blind spot

The Ugly
• Sub-par fuel economy from base engine