2022 Toyota Tundra: We Ask Why

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

PONTIAC, MICH. — I noticed a couple of you commenters wondering why we hadn’t covered the 2022 Toyota Tundra yet.

One of you joked that we hadn’t done so because the grille is so ugly that we’d be charged with a crime.

The truth is more mundane than that — I was blindsided by its in-game reveal during Sunday Night Football and wasn’t in a position to write about it that night. And yesterday I was driving to suburban Detroit. One of the vehicles I was driving here to see: The Tundra.

So I figured I’d wait to see the truck in the flesh, so to speak. And now that I have, I have to ask — what is Toyota doing?

I am not just talking about the janky-looking grille, which looks less offensive to the eyes in person. There’s also the interior design, which looks at first glance to be carrying over the weird blocky look from the past.

Then there’s the fact that it apparently has a lower payload rating than the smaller Ford Ranger, at least in some trims.

What are we even doing here?

To be fair to Toyota, looks aren’t everything. Nor is a payload rating the only spec that matters. Maybe the truck is fantastic to drive and offers all the expected utility. But the early impressions are not great, Bob.

Here are the key specs — a standard twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 makes 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, and when equipped with a hybrid system that Toyota calls i-FORCE MAX, a bell-housing motor system boosts power to 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Either way, the transmission is a 10-speed automatic.

Towing capacity is listed at up to 12,000 pounds and a 14-inch infotainment screen is available, as is a 12.3-inch instrument screen. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 driver-aid system is standard across the board. Max payload is 1,940 pounds.

Available features will include panoramic roof, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, towing aids, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a tailgate release for the key fob, and over-the-air updates.

There will be two different four-door configurations and several bed lengths, including 5.5, 6.5, and 8.1 feet.

Toyota is using a fully boxed frame and promises more rigidity via high-strength steel while also using aluminum to reduce weight.

The suspension is multi-link with coil springs in the rear and the front is double wishbone. Twin-tube shocks front and rear are standard. Off-road trims get monotube Bilstein or FOX shocks. A rear air suspension is available on some trims. So, too, is an adaptive variable damping system.

Speaking of off-road, TRD Pro trims get a 1.1-inch front lift, front stabilizer bar, red-painted suspension parts, front skid plate, underbody armor, and all-terrain tires.

Available trim levels will be SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794; with TRD Off-Road, Sport, and Pro packages being available.

The Tundra will go on sale later this year and be built in San Antonio, Texas. Pricing will be announced later.

Hopefully, we’ll have a good answer to what Toyota’s plan is by then.

[Images: Toyota, © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 25, 2021

    If the truck manufacturers' could give a little more effort they could increase the size of the grills even more and offer 12" or more sized font in LED lighting on the grill and the tailgate. How about raising the height by at least another 6" to 12" and offer drop down ladders to enter the cab. Maybe widen the vehicles by at least another 6" and offer a front plate that says "Eat Me" (Animal House).

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 26, 2021

    A 2021 (not 2022) Toyota Tundra has remarkably similar fuel economy to my 1995 C1500 [apples to apples, current methodology]: https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=12210&id=43010 The 2021 Tundra of course is vastly more capable than my 20th century dinosaur, with significantly more torque and over twice the horsepower. (The Tundra also weighs roughly 35% more.) Perhaps I am the only truck owner on the planet who would have preferred to see a somewhat smaller bump up in horsepower and torque over 2-1/2 decades, combined with a significant improvement in fuel economy. (Perhaps the polar bears would side with me, but who is listening.) Toyota may be taking steps in the right direction with the 2022 model - will withhold judgment until the 2022 fuel economy [and curb weight] figures are published.

  • Aja8888 As I type this, my 4 months old Equinox's Onstar module that controls the phone is broken. Yep, 4 months (never worked right from day one). Replacement will be a REFURBISHED unit since no new ones can be obtained (from China?). I really don't miss the phone via Bluetooth. And I have a great Garmin that I have used for years for trips which has free lifetime maps and traffic.
  • Bd2 There's a reason why talented American execs have been leaving Stellantis in droves.Tavares seems intent in following "Le Cost Cutter" Ghosn into driving his company into the dirt, whilst "justifying" his ever expanding compensation.
  • Bd2 Too bad gm didn't make the C8 better looking to begin with...
  • GregLocock Not interested at all. Apparently I've got Apple car play but I've never used it in 3 years. The built in nav is ok.
  • Corey Lewis Probably worth about what they're asking, given its condition. The color combo isn't a desirable one, they look sharper in non-beige shades. Like two-tone green, maroon, navy, or gray. The end of the time when MB built its cars properly. No shame in turning up in a clean W126, they'll always command respect.
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