Commemorating their 20th anniversary, Toyota recently celebrated the first engine to come off their production line. Their Huntsville plant will be the exclusive engine producer for the 2022 Tundra in North America and currently employs about 1,800 workers. With the billion-dollar investment for the Alabama factory, they now boast an annual engine capacity of 900,000.
But will the Tundra shake up the Detroit-dominated market for the full-size pickup segment? Let us know what’s great about it.
V-6 is not a downgrade
For the 2022 Tundra model, Toyota replaced the V-8 in favor of turbocharged 6-cylinder engines—the same engine that powers the 2022 Lexus LX. The V-6 provides better handling and more stability than the eight-cylinder counterparts.
Although V-8 engines typically offer smoother acceleration and more pulling power, the V-6 provides consistent power faster, spins quickly, and runs smoothly. Outperforming its naturally aspirated engine predecessor, the 2022 Tundra’s new V-6 creates 389 HP and 479 lb.-ft of torque.
Suppose the propulsion system and the engine give the customers better truck performance and reliability. In that case, Toyota’s decision to drop the 8-cylinder and replace it with a 6-cylinder engine is not a downgrade.
The 5.7-liter V8 engine powers up the old Tundra trucks, and it was good but wasn’t great enough for Toyota’s criteria and goals to compete with its full-size rivals. The old engine has a great exhaust note but is not as efficient and powerful as the new one. The V-8 was relatively thirsty for fuel with ratings of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg highway.
In the coming years, there will be an influx of electric vehicles in the market. Truck manufacturers are starting to offer alternative powertrain options. Some automakers create all-electric versions, while others take it slow and introduce a hybrid version of their popular models.
With a turbocharged V-6 hybrid engine and a new frame, the 2022 Tundra gets more enticing. Toyota aims to fit in the American truck marketplace and fight with the “Big Three.” It will be a tough competition, but the Asian automaker proudly shows that their new hybrid model will be a head-turner.
The hybrid version uses an electric motor mounted inside the bell housing of the transmission. It cranks the performance up to 437 hp and 583 lb.-ft. Torque. Another upgrade is the 10-speed automatic transmission.
According to the automaker, their new V-6 outperforms the 5.7-liter V8 engine “in every way.” Its motor-generator setup gives many benefits.
A 35 kW electric motor-generator supports the i-FORCE MAX twin-turbo V-6 engine of the Tundra. Crammed between the engine and a 10-speed automatic gearbox is the 1.87 kWh battery. It is made of nickel-metal hydride construction that powers up the motor.
The company has built the in-line motor-generator to provide additional power transferred efficiently via the transmission. EV driving, electric-assist, and energy regeneration happen by passing through the parallel hybrid components as the engine starts up.
The powertrain engineers reworked the start/stop system, which cycles more frequently than a typical hybrid. Customers may not notice it happening because the motor-generator makes the process more seamless.
There is a power difference between the combustion and hybrid versions. The non-hybrid gets 389 horsepower and a torque of 479 pound-feet, while the new hybrid engine yields 437 HP and 583 lb.-ft. Torque. Both the engines of the Tundra are solid. However, the higher the trim level you go, the heavier the truck gets.
In an interview, Toyota’s Executive Program Manager, Jay Sackett, said that the Tundra’s new motor is all about making torque, and their priority is its performance. The main focus is the truck’s performance, and they centered it around the torque.
Sacket also mentioned that the company would like to provide the torque numbers that most truck customers in the full-size segment want. They saw some improvements in efficiency using the V-6 engines, so they ditched the traditional V-8 and replaced it with a twin-turbo six-cylinder.
Some truck parts have been changed and improved to complement the rugged yet modern features of the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
The smaller vents on the older generations were not effectively distributing a cool wind. The air conditioning system in the new Tundra indeed adds literal coolness to its features. It has large dashboard vents so the air can freely move around the cabin. During wintertime, the truck’s heated and ventilated 10-way power-adjustable front seats get you warm and cozy.
Buyers can opt for a fully digital instrument panel, 10-inch head-up display, wireless smartphone charger, surround-view camera system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear door sunshades, and a premium JBL sound system.
Some people may distinguish the exterior structural modifications between the old and new Tundra. Truck buyers can choose different bed sizes. They offer Double Cab variants with 6.5- and 8.1-foot bed lengths, while the CrewMax models have a bed length of 5.5 ft. Due to the popular demands, they also have an all-new bed length of 6.5 ft. for the crew cab variant.
Choosing the SR5 trim will get you the side rails with adjustable tie-downs. Platinum and higher trims (also available on the SR5 and Limited as an option) come with LED lights. They also have a 120V/400W outlet in the bed that allows you to power up some tools or electrical devices.
The 18-inch truck wheels let you put 33-inch all-terrain tires. The modified steering rack stops required for bigger tires add about a foot to the curb-to-curb turning circle diameter of the TRD Pro.
Toyota includes clearance lights (something you’ll see in Raptors and TRXs) and a big aluminum front skid plate plus “Xply Armor.” It provides high-strength protection for the fuel tank, transfer case, and of course, the engine.
The maximum towing capacity of the Tundra, if correctly configured, is 12,000 pounds. It increased to more than 17 percent from the previous generation. It also has an increased payload capacity of 1,940 lbs. Compared to the 2021 model, the payload capacity increased by 11 percent. You can haul large items and place them on the spacious and more extended truck bed.
Toyota has designed the new Tundra to be a powerful yet approachable daily driver without losing its comfort. Customers can drive this truck to their workplace, make it an off-road companion, or use it to haul farm materials. Both the hybrid and internal combustion engines all come standard with a tow/haul drive mode. They are also available in two- and four-wheel-drive versions.
The 2022 model is more rigid, while its base has a more solid platform. It comes in various trims: the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 Edition. Recommended for serious off-roaders are the TRD Pro models (with the TRD Off-Road package). The base trim only gets rear air springs. However, the SR5, Limited, and 1794 have TRD off-road features, including the adaptive suspension.
The off-road-optimized TRD Pro has unique, red-painted dual-rate front coil-over springs that raise the truck’s front by 1.1 inches. It provides more distance before the springs stiffen up in the last inches of bounce. The Fox internal bypass truck shocks with a thick front stabilizer bar increase the stability as you drive through the bumpy trails or dunes. It also has a Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) and Crawl Control (CRAWL) 154 standard, which allows you to enjoy the rough trails without any worries.
Built tougher with the hybrid power
Joining the truck wars is the Toyota Tundra bringing in its hybrid powertrain, bolder looks, and impressive upgraded technological features. The senior vice president of Toyota’s product development office, Mike Sweers, said in a statement that they took a fresh, transformational approach to their truck development.
The next-generation Tundra has an uncompromising power with terrain-tackling capability—and that’s what makes it great.