The Toyota Tundra’s list of accomplishments is lengthy for such a relatively young pickup truck. When production began in 1999, the Tundra came bearing the most sophisticated powerplant ever offered in its class, giving it the towing capacity and fuel economy to lead the market. As the first truck rolled off the assembly line in Princeton, Indiana (production moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2008), then Toyota Motor Sales Group Vice President, Don Esmond, said, “Today marks the beginning of the launch of one of the most important vehicles ever introduced in the 41 years we’ve sold cars and trucks here in America.” He wasn’t wrong.
Modified Tundras have gone on to secure numerous wins in both off-road endurance races like the grueling Baja 1000 and the Nascar Camping World Truck Series. But stock Tundras have had their share of glory, too. One especially out-of-this-world moment came in 2012, when an unmodified Tundra CrewMax 4×4 pulled the 292,000-pound rig carrying the Endeavor space shuttle across the California 405 freeway. Each impressive feat added a notch to the Tundra’s belt of capability and performance. As Americans choose pickup trucks at a greater rate than ever before, now is the perfect time for Toyota to usher in its third-generation workhorse. And this is a Tundra that’s not afraid to play a little too.
This is the Tundra’s first complete redesign in 14 years. Starting at $35,950, the 2022 Toyota Tundra is constructed using lightweight aluminum body panels over an entirely new, fully boxed, high-strength-steel ladder frame. It’s been widened at the rear to improve stability and towing capacity and employs Toyota’s innovative, new Dejima laser-welding process to reinforce the frame’s cross members, enhancing rigidity.
As the saying goes: Go big or go home. The Tundra’s monumental new physique is ready to take on the great outdoors, with a design aesthetic that’s nevertheless refreshingly modern and sophisticated. Its chiseled exterior is a nod to the power and agility that’s lurking just below the surface. The pronounced grille is the first thing that comes into view, framed by angular LED headlights that add balance and interest to the Tundra’s front end. A variety of design elements fill the grille, from classic horizontal slats and chainlinks to heritage-inspired honeycomb cells, depending on the trim level.
Speaking of which, there are seven different trim levels to choose from (SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, TRD Pro, and Capstone), and each trim’s interior is interspersed with plenty of high-style details to rival the swankiest first-class lounges. From supple, leather-swathed seating in technical camouflage or rich cream, to bold pops of color and American walnut wood grain details, the elevated design accents bring a five-star feel to even the most remote camping and overlanding excursions. An available panoramic moonroof helps bring the sky into the Tundra’s roomy cabin.
A Force to Be Reckoned With
The Tundra offers the choice of two engine options, both mated to Toyota’s 10-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECTi). The new Tundra comes standard with the powerful, 389-horsepower, iFORCE 3.5L twin-turbo V-6 with 479 lb.-ft. of torque. An optional and highly anticipated iFORCE MAX 3.5L twin-turbo V-6 hybrid produces 437-horsepower and 583 lb.-ft of torque. The latter employs a hybrid electric motor coupled with a newly developed Power Control Unit (PCU) to fill in the torque curve, delivering nearly instantaneous thrust across the powerband. Though Toyota offers many hybrid engines, this version is specially engineered for the Tundra.
An available Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) knob effortlessly toggles between Mud, Sand, Rock, Mogul, or Auto (iFORCE MAX only) modes to help control wheel spin on different types of terrain while working in tandem with the CRAWL Control and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) features that come in handy when ascending and descending the rough stuff off-road. An electronically locking rear differential also comes as an option to help evenly distribute engine torque to both rear wheels in low-traction conditions. The TRD Pro model is designed to help you venture even further off-the-grid—its fully equipped with an LED light bar inlaid across the grille for extra visibility; FOX® off-roading racing shocks for optimal ride quality in rough landscapes; BBS® forged wheels mounted with Falken® WILDPEAK all-terrain tires; and a TRD Pro skid plate for added protection as you traverse unforgiving obstacles. With the exception of SR and TRD Pro trim levels, the front end has an available active aero front splitter that engages at speeds over 37mph to modify airflow for improved aerodynamics and fuel economy.
In-Cabin Creature Comforts
The Tundra’s in-cabin technology adds an additional layer of ease and finesse to your daily routine. Toyota designers opted for a horizontal dashboard layout as opposed to the typical vertical orientations seen in most trucks currently on the market. This gives the instrument panel and center stack a fluid, free-flowing design that heightens the user experience, regardless if that interaction comes via sight, touch, or voice recognition. Thanks to the brand-new, available 14-inch audio and multimedia touchscreen with Apple Music® integrated streaming support, flipping between navigation and song selection is seamless for both driver and co-pilot. The screen also serves as the display for the available Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) and Multi-Terrain Monitor (MTM) systems, which give you a variety of views from the Tundra’s 360-degree cameras. These vantage points allow you to scan the immediate surroundings for potential obstacles and act as the ultimate spotter for trickier off-road trails. The Tundra is available with a vertical wireless charging dock, wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration, and a suite of connected services via the Toyota App, such as the ability to unlock the doors from your smartphone.
The Road to Adventure
Regardless of how challenging the road ahead may be, Toyota engineers have made significant improvements to the Tundra’s handling, stability, and safety. A new multi-link rear suspension ditches the previous generation’s leaf springs for cushier coil springs. With overall ride quality enhanced, you can tackle rocky, desert terrain or hilly, woodland scenes in blissful comfort. And for the first time ever, the Tundra now offers available Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) that uses actuators to continuously adjust the damping force and create a leveling effect while traversing fluctuating topography.
Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.5 (TSS 2.5) comes standard on all trim levels—including active safety features such as the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD); Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert (LDA); Lane Tracing Assist (LTA); Road Sign Assist (RSA); Automatic High Beams (AHB); and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). When it comes to towing, Toyota offers even more advanced-safety elements—including Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Trailer Merge Warning; Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (ITBC); and Trailer Assist.
And when your leisure plans call for a boat or camper, feel secure in the fact that the Tundra affords up to 12,000 pounds of maximum towing capacity. Beyond its physical hauling ability, the Tundra’s innovative towing functionality assures that your travels go off without a hitch—no pun intended. Available with a smart 7-pin connector, the Tundra is able to calculate the lengths of small utility trailers or larger RVs without any input from the driver. This allows the available Tow/Haul system to intuitively adjust throttle response and steering sensitivity for greater control. Trailer Reverse Guidance with Straight Path Assist comes as an additional option on select models, helping you to back up nimbly. Also offered are power-extending and -folding tow mirrors for additional visibility.
Whether you’re hitched or not, the Tundra’s bed has been revised with ultra-durable, aluminum-reinforced, Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) for greater impact strength and a maximum payload of 1940 pounds. Toyota fits the bed with an available deck rail system to make strapping down dirt bikes, ATVs, and other equipment a hassle-free affair. Select models are outfitted with a tailgate-release bump switch on the driver’s-side taillight, so when your hands are full with building supplies or a bulky cooler, just apply some pressure to the switch and the tailgate releases for easy loading.
There’s ample room for cargo inside the Tundra too. Both the CrewMax and Double Cab models have larger cabins than those of previous generations, offering comfortable, spacious environs for both driver and passengers. The vast center console will keep notepads, flashlights, and fishing or camping permits organized, while the rear seats flip and fold to make space for bulkier gear and supplies. On select models, the rear seats offer added storage underneath to stash away accouterments like climbing ropes and first-aid kits.
The Toyota Tundra always seems to deliver on its bold, adventurous design, one that continues to resonate with automotive enthusiasts and outdoor habitués. Every aspect of this new Tundra has been carefully considered to deliver maximum capability and versatility. Whether you choose to stay seamlessly connected or happily off-the-grid, the Tundra makes it happen. The only question that remains is: Where will it take you? Or rather, where can’t it take you? We already know the Tundra’s been to the space-shuttle launch pad. Now, let it embolden your next adventure.