LONG OVERDUE: 2022 TOYOTA TUNDRA TWIN-TURBO HYBRID
I think we can all appreciate the thought process behind; if it isn’t broken, why fix it mentality. Toyota has followed this mantra down to an exact science considering the Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma and 4Runner are all running on platforms that are as old as our parents, and I’m in my 30’s. But things change, and time moves on and when the previous generation Toyota Tundra was released in 2008, we have seen 2 new Ram 1500’s, 3 different Chevrolet Silverado’s and 3 updated Ford F-150’s.
So to see an all-new Toyota Tundra in the picture, well it has been long overdue.
Before you go thinking “is this Tundra really all-new,” the answer is yes. Toyota hasn’t pulled the same stunt they did with the Tacoma back in 2016 – the Tundra is completely all new from the chassis to the engine and to the bits in between. Yes, the rumors are true, Toyota has done away with the V8 engine and is moving onwards with the times as there is a new hybrid powertrain in its place. But unlike the performance we see out of Prius that is as slow as a goat driving a golf cart, Toyota has taken a concept designed for fuel efficiency and developed it to be more of a performance enhancement alternative that didn’t leave us wishing for the two extra cylinders
Standard across the board, the Tundra gets a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 10-speed automatic; however, its trim level will determine how each powertrain will perform. An entry-level Tundra SR makes due with 348-horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque capable of towing 8,300lbs; opting for a mid-range SR5 or Limited steps up the performance to 389-horsepower with 479 lb-ft of torque that is capable of towing 11,120lbs. The real magic however happens when you step into the 437-horsepower twin-turbo V6 hybrid with 583 lb-ft of torque that is only available on the Platinum, 1794 Edition, TRD Pro and new for 2022, the Capstone.
As for the configuration most of the trim options offer a choice between a small rear seat double cab or the passenger comforts of the CrewCab in either a 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot bed. The entry SR can be had with an 8.1-foot bed configuration in double cab form. The TRD Pro and Capstone however are only available with the 5.5-foot bed. All models are available in rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
The Tundra featured in this article is in fact the tapped-out Capstone model carrying a starting price of $74,230. The fact that the Tundra has dropped eight cylinders sounds deceiving at first; however, with the bi-turbo hybrid in its place, there isn’t a dry seat in the cabin when it comes to the getting go portion. With 437-horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Tundra is a pretty quick truck. The 10-speed automatic is excellently tuned that never seemed to hesitate to be in the right gear at the right time. The whole system takes some time to get use to as it operates like a traditional hybrid going into EV mode when coming to a stop or maintaining a slow speed; the transition between gas and electric is quite and hardly noticeable. But for those that feel like they need that memorabilia of a V8 note between their legs, Toyota has piped an amplified tune into the cabin that does make this engine sound like a smooth rumbling V8 – I’ll admit it is a bit cheesy at first but becomes an unnoticeable ambient sound after a few days of driving.
With the Capstone tapping into the premium truck segment, the idea of premium has gotten lost along the way. With the introduction of lighter steering, it makes the truck feel like we’re handling a Toyota Corolla and not this heavy beastly machine – which is great for navigating a parking lot but losses sight of handling and feeling. Our upgraded suspension featured the $1045 Adaptive Variable Air Suspension that will lower for entry and exit and adjust based on the towing and payload in the bed of the truck – this suspension system tied to the 22-inch wheels on our example made for an unbearably harsh ride.
With the Capstone being the crème of the crop, its exterior was elevated with LED lighting everywhere imaginable, and Toyota is certainly jumping on the animated sequential turn signal bandwagon. Inside, the interior feels every bit of an expensive premium truck with nearly every surface covered in leather and wood. There is plenty of technology to go around with the large infotainment display, digital instrument cluster, heads-up display and Toyota’s long list of standard safety equipment including a fantastic adaptive cruise control system.
Compared to the previous model, this new Tundra feels smaller. The front seats aren’t nearly as wide and don’t provide as much comfortable support – within an hour of driving, I started noticing some minor discomfort. The same can be said with the backseat, sort of, in our CrewCab it is still massive and will accommodate three full size passengers; however, the previous generation Tundra had one of the most impressive rear leg rooms in its class, and here it doesn’t feel all that notable.
Having a large multimedia display is all the rage, and with the Tundra featuring an optional 14-inch touchscreen, it covers a substantial amount of real estate within the cabin. This is an all-new infotainment system to Toyota that came straight out of Lexus and at first use, it is certainly impressive with fantastic graphics, a great user intuitive interface, and google maps incorporated updates. However, with such a massive screen, it is surprising it has quite the short limitations of functionality. It can’t display more than one thing at a time – and this can get quite infuriating when navigating between the wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto screen. Most large displays on the market have a split screen system so you can at least have the navigation on one screen and your Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on another, but that does exist here.
As a funny side note, with my day job working in commercial architecture, I get called out to the construction field quite often and work with the general targeted consumer. So naturally when I pulled up to meet the superintendent with his banged up 10-year-old lifted unnamed pickup with concrete chunks on the tailgate, he was sure to pull my chain when I showed up to a construction dirt debris field in a “pretty boy city truck wondering if I had enough payload to haul all my money around.” Ha, as if.
Now, there is quite a lot to like about the new Tundra from its styling, interior comfort creatures, available equipment, and powertrain. Luckily most things now can be fixed with a simple software update, so hopefully Toyota does something about that infotainment system. However, after a long awaited arrival – the new Tundra was definitely worth the wait.
Vehicle: 2022 TOYOTA TUNDRA CAPSTON CREWMAX HYBRID 4X4
Base Price: $73,540
As-Tested Price: $77,339
Engine: 3.5-LITER TWIN-TURBOCHARGED HYBRID V6
Horsepower | Torque: 437-HP | 583 LBS
Transmission: 10-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE
MPG: 19 | 22 | 20 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 16.5-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 400 miles
Anxious to see if/when a tuner at SEMA will turn that into a rocket type Raptor fighter.