By: Jag Dhatt
When thinking of pickup trucks, the Detroit three come to mind first. And then there’s the others, with the Toyota Tundra setting its eyes on the domestic leaders.
The Toyota Tundra has sold well, but never closed in on the Ford, Chevy and RAM models. Well, if the new 2022 Tundra has anything to say about it, things might just change.
I was fortunate enough to attend the global launch of the Tundra in 2021, to test and see the new truck before it reached full production. And just recently, I drove the new Tundra SR TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab for a week and boy, there’s a lot to like. Here are some things that really shine in the 2022 Toyota Tundra. Now, before I begin, I do need to say that this configuration would not be my ideal choice; rather, I’d choose the bigger cabin in the Crewmax trims vs having the larger bed.
A New Look
“Man, that new grille is really in your face!” That was a comment a neighbour of mine made to me and for me, it’s a good thing. The new Tundra has an in-your-face look, and that new grille is really big, something I like. And according to Toyota, the grille gives away the trim you have. That’s kind of neat.
Whereas the outgoing model had more rounded lines, the 2022 Tundra is boxy, and it looks rugged and big. And what’s more is that the new Tundra has a fully boxed ladder frame, making it stronger, more rigid and offering better handling. And if you get the Limited trim, hydraulic cab mounts connect the cabin to the frame, allowing for an even more comfortable ride.
A New Interior
The Tundra’s interior had become stagnant, and it was really time for a big refresh, and for 2022, there are some pretty neat upgrades. First of all, the optional 14” infotainment display (an 8” screen is standard), is a blessing. Toyota’s old screen was mediocre at best, and this new, in-house built, system has live updates. Called Drive Connect, the new infotainment system does almost everything over the cloud, and what’s more, allows you to send information to other people in your phone’s contact list by voice. So, if you want to meet a friend for coffee at a local shop, just say the words and the information will be shared with him or her.
The cabin does get lots of updates as well, but you can still see some of the old Tundra buttons and storage areas all around. They are bad by any means; but in all honesty, some of these areas could have been updated too.
I drove the Double Cab and rear seat room was really cramped. When I was seated comfortably in the driver’s seat, the rear passenger directly behind me had limited leg room. This configuration is definitely built for someone who rarely carries more than one passenger or has small kids.
A New Engine
It was only a matter of time before Toyota axed its eight-cylinder engine and now, it’s the only truck that doesn’t have a V8 option. The outgoing, buttery smooth 5.7L naturally aspirated V8 had lots of power and was a bullet-proof power plant. However, moving forward, the Tundra will be powered by one of two 3.5L V6 engines: a regular 3.5L twin turbo and a 3.5L twin turbo hybrid.
My test vehicle came with the base 3.5L twin turbo V6, which puts out 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. There are 6 driving modes, ranging from Eco to Sport+ and if you choose the latter, this truck is surprisingly quick. Not only that, but the suspension tightens up and the exhaust note is deep and powerful.
In Normal mode, which will be how it’s mostly driven, the Tundra is quiet and absorbs most road imperfections with ease. It’s actually very nice to drive and I found it quiet and comfortable.
Don’t expect fuel economy to be much better, especially when not in Eco mode. Toyota claims an average of 12.2L/100 km, but I never got that low. My average for the week was 14.6L/100 km; compared to the outgoing V8, it’s still better, with average yearly savings of about $900.
A Few Shortcomings:
It’s always nice to list all the good things of any vehicle, especially one that has been totally redesigned. And with the 2022 Toyota Tundra, there is a lot to like. But there are a couple of shortcomings that, although could be considered minor, need to be mentioned.
The first being fuel economy, which I mentioned above. The new 3.5L twin turbo has tonnes of power and torque and even though it has a 10-speed automatic, it is still quite thirsty. If you keep the truck in Eco mode, it will be better, but then the Tundra feels really sluggish. And with today’s price of gasoline, fuel economy is always on the forefront of most people’s mind. Granted, the hybrid model should offer better fuel economy, but I’ll report on that in a couple of months.
The other part that took me by surprise, especially when parking, was the big turning radius. Compared to the Ford F150, the turning radius on the Tundra can be up to 6 feet more. That’s quite a lot when trying to park or making a U-turn.
The new Toyota Tundra has undergone a tremendous overhaul, one that was desperately needed if wanting to compete with the three Detroit automakers. And I can say that the 2022 model is a great truck that will now appeal to more buyers. The new look, interior and engines are sure to attract some who are in the market for a new truck.