By on September 21, 2021

Tim Healey/TTAC

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?

Toyota

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.

Tim Healey/TTAC

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]

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94 Comments on “2022 Toyota Tundra: We Ask Why...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    I resign

    • 0 avatar

      As a truck guy I have many questions.
      !.) The Tundra has always been kind of ugly but why must it continue to push this envelope?
      2.) If your going to make a hybrid why no big inverter and generator features like the F-150?
      3.) The last Gen Tundra actually did well in the spec race when it was new (well over a decade ago) this one seems to be at the back of the pack on release?
      4.) The biggest knock on the old truck was fuel mileage, but Toyota seems to be indicating this truck is designed for power not efficiency which I take to mean it won’t be competitive there either.
      5.) Did they learn nothing from GMs interior getting ripped apart by reviewers after the lux Ford and Ram ones?
      6.) All the competitors offer a variant with over 2K lbs payload why would you not offer one trim with it (even if it’s not one you can easily buy)? Ford figured this out first and the others followed offering a low trim with a higher payload (and a worse ride) is an easy way to game bragging rights.

      All that said, Toyota sells trucks to Toyota people (which are many) and to non truck people buying their first truck, this seems to do little to change that. Plus a Toyota truck will almost always have great resale and reliability unless they really screwed up.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        “While Americans can’t seem to get enough of the mid-size pickups from Japanese automakers, they absolutely shun their full-size trucks. According to data from WardsIntelligence, the highest market share Toyota has seen with Tundra was 9.1% and that was in 2007. It currently hovers in the 5% range. It’s even worse for Nissan. The best the Titan was able to muster was 3.5% of the market in 2005. Today it’s at 1.5%. With the Detroit Three commanding 94% of full-size pickup sales this year, it might almost make more sense for Toyota and Nissan to share a large truck platform.” Autoline

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          My neighborhood Nissan dealership which is in an outer borough of NYC might have a couple of Titans in stock but the Frontiers they have on hand in various trims and which are the current design tend to sell quickly. In urban areas mid sized trucks sell fairly well. I’m sure the all new 2022 will also do well.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “Japanese automakers” have yet to offer a fullsize pickup that truly competes with “Big 3”. It could be a bloodbath if they ever do, but it would take a huge investment, big losses upfront and they don’t like risk.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            True – they’d have to play in the 3/4 ton and 1 ton space, and I don’t think they want to go there.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Toyota just wants the cream on top. No fleets, base RCSBs, nor HDs Toyota can’t turn into luxo SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Oberkanone

            T-100 was a great truck. It was 7/8 full size.
            Missed opportunity for one of the manufacturers to compete in North America with a smaller than full size pickup and a compact pickup.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Toyota hook up with Nissan, with Nissan’s dismal reputation for quality? No. Toyota doesn’t need Nissan’s cooties.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Interesting. While Toyota’s stock is up with me (as much of autodom moves away from normalcy, I appreciate that Toyota does ICE well, with reliable cars, that don’t seem as boring), this new truck puzzles me a little.

    The front end looks like an uglier Silverado. The interior reminds me of a GMC truck.

    And the independent rear suspension… wasted money. The solid axles light trucks from the big three, even the Tacoma, ride quite well. More cost, less ruggedness….

    Hopefully, they have the frame rust under control

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Multi-link isn’t necessarily independent. Ram has a solid rear axle multi-link set-up. The new F150 Raptor will also be multi-link solid axle. Jeeps are solid axle multi-link as well.

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        I associate “Multi-Link” with what Ford did with the Expedition, and GM’s latest Suburban/Tahoe, which is

        I didn’t realize the Ram (or a 1968-72 Chevy P/U) were considered “multi-link”. My bad.

        But between a 2008 Silverado and 2020 Colorado, both of which are great highway cruisers with comfortable rides, I still think Toyota could’ve spend their (and the customers’) money better–like hiring some better stylists, or a nicer base interior. Just my two cents.

        As to comments about the big Three owning 94% of full-size truck market, Toyota hasn’t been trying very hard. Probably on purpose, since like GM in the 1960s, they don’t want to become too dominant.

        When asked if Chrysler would produce full-size SUVs like Suburbans, Bob Lutz said “no, let them have it”. Toyota is probably acting similarly. It keeps the US automakers afloat. When or if fuel prices skyrocket, the F-150 Motor Company is probably done, as are Jeep/Ram and GM (Truck), whereas Toyota’s strength “downmarket” will increase.

        Of course, the EV laws and current administration are wild cards, and probably a source of frustration back in Toyota City….

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @tomLU86

          I’ve typically seen the term “5 link” suspension applied to solid axle setups. As you pointed out, multi-link is typically fully independent.

          I double-checked the terminology and “5 link” seems to fall under Multi-link. I’ve seen it used interchangeably. Perhaps the author should clarify.

          All of the photos I’ve found of the new Tundra show a solid rear axle with coil springs.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Not like the Tundra’s ever been about the bigger-d*ck specsmanship of the domestics. And I dunno why everyone’s whining about the grille. Anyone seen a Silverado HD recently? At least they didn’t slap on the Avalon or Lexus grille.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “…not great, Bob.”

    This was the ONLY time during the entire run of “Mad Men” that I actually found myself liking Pete Campbell.

    (That thing’s hideous. And who would have ever thought that the best place to find handsome, understated styling on a truck would be a Ram showroom?)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It’s a modern truck, tailored perfectly to respond to the insecure Joe Rogan idea of masculinity that is driving so many of today’s truck buyers. This is what the market wants and I think Toyota will sell more of these than any previous generation. They will also get a higher-end product mix, because the bro crowd is going to go completely nuts over the TRD Off-Road trim.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      +1 on the mindset at work here.

      Back in 2016, I was looking for a compact car for myself, and shopped a Dodge Dart. The guy at the Dodge place was taken aback that I didn’t want a truck. He was looking at me like I was RuPaul and had just asked him to lip sync for his life. I practically had to talk him into letting me drive the Dart. Not making any of this up.

      (FYI, the Dart was not great.)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        LOL, FreedMike. So true.

        Reminds me of the first time my small-town Texas relatives (he drives a Silverado, she a Yukon XL Denali) saw my Highlander in person. SIL said “That’s a nice little car” in a puzzled tone, with a clear implication that a man ought to be driving a truck. Meanwhile on the streets of Seattle it feels like an elephant.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      +1 this seems to be the way forward – bigger, uglier, more in your face. However they dropped the V8 which is going to turn off many buyers. The interior appears to follow the trend of designing with only straight lines and gluing the biggest possible screen directly to the dash. And this screen is laptop sized so it appears we haven’t reached peak screen yet.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I guess my insecurity falls more to Jack Reacher masculinity because I don’t care for this.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They simply scaled up the grill from an Audi A6. That’s not a compliment.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The tongue weight of average trailer that you would want to tow with any half-ton truck(Ford max-tow package excluded)is around 750 pounds. Towing capacity is directly related to PAYLOAD. My 2018 Silverado is rated at almost 10,000 pounds-yet the payload is 1,444 pounds. The numbers don’t work (for 10,000 pounds) once all gear, passengers, the ebikes, dogs, ice chest is also loaded in to the truck.

    My trailer is no more than 5,000 pounds ready to camp.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Eggsactly! My 28 foot Airstream has a GVWR of 7600 lbs, but s tongue weight of over 1000 lbs. I flew to Denver to buy a Sierra 1500 with a 1940 lb. payload rating (thanks to the “max trailer tow” package) and the 6.2 engine to be the tow vehicle. The missus totally balked at the idea of a 3/4 ton as a tow vehicle, and I can’t say I blame her.

      Regarding the absence of a V-8: talk to any 25+ foot Airstream owner who tows with an F-150 with the 3.5 liter V-6 “ecoboost” motor and you’ll find someone looking for a new truck. The boosted V6 has plenty of grunt, but when it comes to engine braking going downhill, there literally is “no replacement for displacement.” Trust me, with 7600 lbs. behind you, you WANT engine braking. If I had a maxxed-out 10,000 lb. trailer, there’s no way I would consider anything other than a 3/4 or 1 ton, with an exhaust brake equipped diesel. This 12,000 lb. tow rating is nonsense. The SAE test does not score engine braking.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I gotta have more grille.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    It’s ugly IMO. But I actually think the coil springs could be a good move if it rides well. The RAM 1500 seems to benefit in this way and it’s sales have gone up steadily. But the RAM is nice looking and this….isn’t. The real story will be how efficient is the hybrid version. If it can return real world numbers much better than fords’ hybrid truck it will garner my attention. It will be nutso expensive, and I think the interior is ugly as well. But trucks are flexible and luxurious tools, family haulers, boat and cargo towing specialist. I’m not sure how their payload and towing numbers add up. With a 10,000 lb trailer you have 1000 pounds of tongue weight. That means less than 1000 pounds remaining for people and gear. Other trucks have similar problems. All in I think it could be a winner if it brings the traditional Toyota reliability. If so it will be a good motivator for the big 3. Ford and GM already waved the white flag on cars (with limited exceptions) If this thing is really a step up from the last Tundra it will alter the truck market for the better.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The reliability of Big 3 pickups is more than good enough, if not better than. It is better than, from my own anecdotal, and if I’m wrong, commercial users wouldn’t put up with (Big 3). They would prefer Tundras, no matter the much higher upfront cost.

      But even if the new Tundra is much improved, its biggest limitation is how it’s marketed, few configurations, etc, as if it was a Camry. Basically take it or kick rocks.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t see this selling much better then the current model. When the last gen came out there was a small spike of eager buyers waiting for the new model then it sank to the same level of around 120k a year. Which I’m guessing is roughly the buying pool.

        When it came out the current gen was the tow rating leader had payload specs near the top, close to the most available horsepower (I forget if the GM 6.2 was out yet) and torque. Best brakes the towing test had it out gunning almost every other halfton. And still sales were the same. Given this one is barely midpack on specs I’m going to say it won’t move the needle much.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The grill on the upscale trims looks like decorative chain link fence.

  • avatar
    Mkz

    Alright.
    I have been waiting for this truck to be revised for longer than I can remember.
    I watched the football game with excitement waiting to see the Tundra.
    I was left with a very empty feeling in my gut after the commercial aired.
    I think you said it best Tim!
    What are you doing Toyota!!!
    This was supposed to be my towing vehicle.
    I leased a half-ton Duramax diesel just in time for this truck. ( Which has been nothing less than perfect by the way).
    And another thing.
    Isn’t this the exact driveline as ford’s set up????
    I can get over the look and all the fancy bottons and screens. But Twin turbo v6…???
    I am far beyond disappointed.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Had an interesting thought here – I’m not a Truck Guy by any means, and there is little chance I’d buy one, but if I were to change my mind, the outgoing Tundra is the one I’d get. It’s durable, the styling is simple, clean and unassuming (meaning it’ll wear well) and it’s not trying to advertise how douchey its’ owner is, the interior is blessedly free of Tesla-screen-itis, and – best of all – Toyota’s V-8 is God’s Own Powerplant. It’d run forever, look good for as long as I owned it, and would do whatever I asked of it. What else do you need from a truck?

    This new model just eliminated every single reason I’d have to buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think this thing will sell a lot of Tacomas.

    • 0 avatar

      My FIL has a 2009 Tundra. It is durable as hell. He tows heavy with it alot and generally not a easy on it, and the only real issue his has had was wearing the brakes quickly ( think he is on set 3 or 4 at 165k miles). The interior while cheap feeling has worn well, I still think it’s ugly but as far as doing truck things and lasting it is pretty damn good. It also has great resale.
      But it also gets horrible gas mileage and no where near as nice to drive as the current big 3 models.
      If you look online the biggest complaint on the current Tundra is fuel mileage followed by poor ride and dated interiors. It looks like they took the ride thing to heart we’ll have to see on the rest.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’m sure it looks good from behind. I know there’s a sexist remark there, but it’s getting to be more and more like that, GMs especially. I’d just rattle-can the bright parts satin-black, starting with a very dark or black truck.

  • avatar
    Jeff_M

    I guess you can’t expect Toyota to produce a good looking truck when they market the Lexus, the world’s ugliest vehicle IMHO. And I am a Toyota loyalist no less.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Lexus is the ugliest vehicle? Depends on the Lexus.

      Any of the CUVs aside from the NX? Yep, particularly the RX.
      LX? It’s kind of derpy-looking compared to an S-class or A8, but it’s not ugly per se.
      ES or IS? I’d take one.
      LC? How much is a kidney selling for on the black market these days?

  • avatar
    smapdi

    The grille looks like it’s melting, or maybe like one of those long droopy mustaches. Either way, had they just given it a proper non-grille body colored bumper, and ended the grille above where your license plate would be, it would simply look like a big Tacoma grille and leagues better than this.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    TRD
    The only thing missing is U

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    When are the commercials coming out. I want those 07 Tundra adds back! Remember the fire tower!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The front clip styling in the second picture is dreadful. Really, Toyota? Can I get some truck with my cheap plastic?

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    You can tell that global automakers are still not serious about addressing climate change when they continue to introduce new models with “f**k the wind” aerodynamic styling. We may be killing the planet, but at least we get to sit up high while we do it.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t know how Toyota sat back that long deciding what to knock off from their key competitors and settled on Chevy’s ugly, but in seriousness this seems like a class leading package if you can stand the looks. Ford has the best powertrain, Ram has the best ride, this has both with better quality and an even bigger ipad in the dash to boot.

    I read elsewhere that the hybrid version keeps the battery under the rear seats which no longer have storage underneath, which is a compromise so idiotic that I question whether it’s really true.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I predict that 79% of these will be fitted with hard tonneau covers and driven like the big sedans of yore.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Is that what happened to highdesertcat? Agree this truck is ugly. Maybe if Ram continues to gain in sales the others will copy Ram’s looks. The 2022 Tundra and Chevy Silverado are neck in neck with being the ugliest trucks on the market.

  • avatar
    mcs

    By the time they build an electric version of one of these, they’ll probably be able to make it like a C5 or 747 freighter with an opening nose that you can load up the lower deck below the passengers. Just drive your ATV into a garage on the lower deck.A nice spiral staircase to the passenger deck for the Toyota and an elevator for the Lexus version.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    no V8? they’re nuts. Makes the GM 6.2 truck more attractive

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    other sites are saying the V8 is still available

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Team Nissan is rejoicing. The Titan looks a lot better now, and their web site gives the beat-down to every competitor on (selective) features and warranty.

    I’d argue that the Tundra’s real competition is Detroit and Nissan. If you rule out Detroit altogether for some reason, then the options are Toyota vs Nissan.

  • avatar
    BSttac

    So ugly and no V8 have me not caring about the new Tundra. Its like they want to fight the Silverado for worlds ugliest truck sward.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    The grille and the tailgate are both abominations, and the wheel arches are the usual Toyota truck garbage. But how is the driver supposed to see past that enormous screen in the dash? Combined with enormous hood, it must have the forward visibility of a dump truck.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    “Janky”? The grill is “janky”. Um, OK. I guess at this point we’re just going to use made up terms. Got it. In that case I would say the grill “glurgy”. And I’m sure it’s equally “glurgy” in real life. Oops, I mean “IRL”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There have been rumors that the Titan will be discontinued first in Canada and eventually in the USA. Nissan should discontinue the Titan and develop a compact pickup that will compete with the Maverick and Santa Cruz but make it competitive in price to the Maverick. The Tundra will always have a following since it is a Toyota but Toyota needs a compact truck as well using the Rav4 for its platform. Toyota could very easily make a hybrid compact pickup with their years of experience with the Prius.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    To quote Larry David, the grille is “a bit much”. Ram remains the most reasonable visual choice out there (note: what I admire about the Ram is that whereas Mopar could have escalated the monster grille wars [ala Chevy and Ford], they chose to go in a different direction and IMO it’s classy looking).

    That said, if I was a Toyota fanboi and needing a Tundra, the blue lux model in the last picture looks relatively acceptable. Especially if there’s a hybrid power plant available. I would invest in some rattle can dark gray paint for the grille outline, and then some “wood” veneer trim for the interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Ram didn’t go full retard on the grill like Chevy and now Toyota have but I question that it’s any more restrained – honestly, even as restrained – than a Ford. The Trans Am grade hood bulging that they installed on top of it is hardly subtle either.

      They do get points for being the only truck without an absurd tailgate stamping, although they should give some of them back for starting that trend in 2015.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Now I know how to talk my wife into a Power Wagon. Tell her it is this or the PW.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I do like the front of this Tundra better than the Silverado but that is not saying much. Ugly and uglier.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I don’t get it. Most of us on here think these styling trends are hideous. Yet they keep styling them this way, and making them this way, and selling them this way.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      There is enough brand loyalty that styling doesn’t matter.

      Then there is marketing to the unknowing. I have a good friend whose sister had a leather jacket and since leather jackets smell good she learned to like the smell of hers because “leather”. It smelled like booze and cigarettes, but to her it was leather.

      People also think Starbucks coffee, not the specialty drink but the regular black coffee, tastes good because it is marketed well and they don’t separate the 450 calorie drinks from the no calorie liquid charcoal.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t get it either. The grills are much too large. The Ram is the best looking full size truck on the market despite the Stelantis quality. Same with the Chrysler 300, Challenger, and Charger which are really attractive vehicles. Ram also has some really nice interiors.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Maybe because as “enthusiasts” we are of a different mindset? Here as a group we also seem to dislike crossovers, but they seem to sell in the gazillions. Similar situation to the styling.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I feel sorry for trucks. They have remarkable levels of performance, comfort and capability, yet they look like they’re styled by 9-year-old would-be comic book artists.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    LandCruiser 70 is the best Toyota truck. Offer it with the 3.5L twin turbo.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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).

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    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.

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