Re-Newed: 2022 Toyota Tundra

Toyota has a well-deserved status amongst truck enthusiasts as the truck you buy rather than lease; the truck that holds strong re-sale value; the truck that you can depend on for years and years. Toyota hadn’t debuted an all-new Tundra since 2007 and although that Tundra has garnered a well-deserved dependable reputation, it was facing ever newer competition. Toyota has accordingly delivered an all-new Tundra, looking to maintain its dependability while offering all of the latest and greatest technology and design. Having plenty of seat time in its competitors and the last gen Tundra, we entered our week’s stay with the new 2022 Tundra with high expectations.

Our 2022 Tundra arrived to us in the most capacious body style, the 4 full-size door Crewmax in the upscale Limited trim, with the 5.5 foot bed (a 6.5 foot bed is available). The new Tundra certainly looks all-new; you won’t be mistaking the 2022 Tundra for an older model. The new Tundra looks large and imposing, opting for a square and blocky design. The Tundra looks very good from most angles, especially the side-view and rear three-quarter view, but I feel the straight-on view is the Tundra’s weakness. A new grille that changes design to differentiate trims and options packages takes up the entire front end. Our tester’s TRD Off-Road grille was constructed entirely of black plastic, a design cue that extended down to the front bumper. The front grille just don’t look very upscale and wobbles comically to the lightest touch. The Tundra also sits high off the ground and could’ve used sidesteps to aid ingress and egress.

Toyota has bestowed the Tundra’s re-designed interior with a variety of convenience and safety features while also bringing the newest of Toyota’s tech to the Tundra. Lower trim-level Tundra’s come standard with an 8″ touchscreen display, but our Limited level tester featured Toyota’s massive 14″ touchscreen display. The screen dominates the center console and presents content in a correspondingly massive font that, although somewhat comical, was very easy to read. Unfortunately, the lack of a dedicated tuning knob hinders usability, especially if wearing gloves. Due the size of the screen, icons in the far right are also a bit of a reach away from the driver. Although this new touchscreen interface is quicker to respond than the previous generation, it seemed a bit slower than other new trucks. The new Tundra’s interior is large and roomy with plenty of storage room, cup holders and USB ports to satisfy the driver and passenger’s needs. The seats are large comfortable enough to not be fatiguing on longer drives, but are certainly not the most comfortable or supportive seats in its class. The dashboard and doors are dominated by expanses of black plastic that is easy to clean but leaves a lot be desired. Visibility outward is hindered by the chunky A-pillars, high hood and upright windshield- a noticeable change hopping out of a 2014 Tundra owned by a blog family member. Luckily, the suite of cameras offered on the Limited trim, aided by the size of the 14″ infotainment screen, help to place the truck when parking or towing, taking anxiety off of the driver’s mind. The upgraded 12 speaker JBL sound system on our Limited tester was good but not excellent, though its sound should satisfy most buyers, it will not blow them away.

Toyota is debuting all-new powertrains with the 2022 Tundra. The venerable 5.7l iForce V8 from the last generation Tundra is gone, replaced now by a 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 which is mated to a 10 speed automatic on all trims. The base SR trim gets a de-tuned version of the V6 rated at 348hp, our Limited trim had the 389hp tune, and top tirms receive a 437hp hybridized version of this V6. The 389hp V6 mated to the 10spd auto provided smooth enough acceleration, with only occasionally noticeable shifts from the transmission. The new powertrain does not turn the Tundra into a hotrod, and does not feel quite as quick as some of the V8 or twin-turbo V6 competition- not that you’ll be drag racing your truck, anyway. What will matter more to truck buyers is the relatively decent fuel economy of this powertrain, coupled with the impressive towing prowess- the Tundra can tow up to 12,000 lbs when properly equipped.

Toyota has ensured that the all-new Tundra is more than just a sheep in wolf’s clothing with its all new boxed frame and front and rear suspension. Tundra joins Ram as the only trucks that offer coil-sprung rear axles, replacing the ancient leaf-spring setup used by previous generations. The new rear suspension makes an immediately noticeable difference in the on-road driving dynamics of the new Tundra, which are far, far superior to the last generation Tundra. Gone are the rocking and bobbing motions that plagued the old truck, smoothed out by the new suspension and stiffer chassis of the new Tundra. Toyota seems to have tuned the coil sprung suspension more softly than its direct rival in the Ram 1500, trading handling agility and planted cornering feel for a superbly smooth and comfortable ride. Handling is still more competent than Tundra’s of yore, though- body lean is less noticeable and begins later than in Tundras past and and overall sense of stability bestows confidence in the driver over most terrain at sensible speeds. Steering feel and response, a sticking point for past Tundras, is much, much improved in this new model, with none of the on-center slop and vagueness of old Tundras. That being said, the steering is still vague and numb, and perhaps not quite up to the response of class leaders. For the most part, the Tundra has a sturdy and dependable feel, although the rattles exhibited by our 8000 mile tester were a bit disconcerting. Rattles aside, the Tundra is definitely a step above and beyond the past generation, if again not quite on par with the best in class.

With the 2022 Tundra, Toyota finally has all-new model to compete in the tightly contested full-size truck market. Though not excellent in any one way, the Tundra does everything well, is well-equipped and spacious, and has the bandwidth to satisfy most prospective buyers for anything they’ll throw at it. The new styling certainly looks new and bold, but is not so extreme as to disturb the Tundra faithful. Although the long-term reliability of the new twin-turbo V6 and 10spd transmission remain to be seen, if Toyota’s track record is any indication, than one should err on the side of optimism. If you are in the market for a full-size pickup, the all-new 2022 Tundra deserves consideration just as much as the Big 3, and if that isn’t high praise, then we don’t know what is.

-Ken Wilson

2022 Toyota Tundra Limited Crewmax 4×4$51,900
TRD Off-Road Package$3,085
JBL 12-Speaker Premium Audio$395$656
Limited Premium Package$395
Limited Power Package$385
Special Color$425
Heated Leather Steering Wheel$150
Rock Rails$625
All-Weather Floor LIners$169
Bed Step$399
Wheels Locks$80
Mini-Tie Down$45
Bed Mat$195
Spare Tire Lock$75
Destination Charges$1,695
As-Tested MSRP$60,118

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