The truck wars in the U.S. remain a hotly contested battleground for automakers. While the bulk of sales are focused almost exclusively on the Domestic Big Three (Ford GM and Ram), a few disruptors are trying to shake up the system. One of them is Toyota, who used the power and appeal of the NFL to formally unveil the 2022 Tundra, which is the most extensive reboot that the truck has ever received. Here are a few things you should know about Toyota’s revamped pickup.
Exterior Styling Is Major Departure From Past Tundras
The exterior styling of the 2022 Tundra was leaked multiple times. Still, now that we finally have official images of the new canvas, it’s safe to say that Toyota designers were given considerable freedom to be bold and expressive in this latest iteration of the model. The front fascia looks more muscular than before, and some of the lingering stubbiness that defined the old truck has been cleaved away. The grille is more prominent, and the piece meshes well with the bigger LED headlights though we’ll admit that it makes the truck look awkward from some angles. Part of this is fixed if you go for the 1794 Edition, which adds bright chrome pieces to select parts of the truck.
The side profile features chiseled wheel arches, and the shape itself appears to be chunkier and flaunts the length of the truck well. The rear of the Tundra features larger taillights, and in an unusual move, the separate rear steel bumper has been replaced with a color-matching integrated unit. The bed of the 2022 Tundra also stands out, with the piece now being made out of a sheet-formed composite material. Toyota claims that the material is more resistant to dents than aluminum (a slight bit of shade at rival Ford) and won’t rust like traditional steel. Look for those traits to please buyers that need a bed that can survive harsh workplace abuse while still looking factory fresh at the same time. Aluminum cross members are also added to help shed some weight while adding extra strength to the bed.
All of these changes do come with one glaring omission, and that’s the elimination of the Regular Cab model for 2022. All Tundra models moving forward will either be Double Cab or CrewMax models. Toyota has been paying attention to the recent trend of these vehicles becoming family haulers and, as such, is prepping the truck to haul passengers just as well as it transports cargo. The CrewMax option has a standard 5.5-foot long bed, but buyers can choose the optional 6.1-foot bed. That bed is standard on the Double Cab, but an 8.1-foot bed is also available for those that need maximum cargo hauling.
Tundra Interior Gets Revamp For 2022
Slip inside the 2022 Tundra, and you’ll discover that it’s a vastly different place from the aging and plastic-filled cabin that defined its predecessor. A massive 14-inch infotainment system is standard on the Tundra, with the screen offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. It will also be debuting a new virtual assistant, and like others that we have seen in recent years, drivers can activate it with simple voice prompts to have the system performs various functions. The instrument cluster features a standard 4.1-inch screen nestled between the dials, but higher trims replace it with a fully digital instrument cluster.
With all the technology that comes packed into the 2022 Tundra, the interior materials themselves have been overhauled, and Toyota will have several distinct colors and styles to choose from. That includes rich red leather that can be equipped to certain trims. Platinum and TRD Pro trucks take things a step further and stand out by offering color perforations and even embossed camouflage accents. The sheer number of interior updates show that Toyota wants to make a splash against the Big Three, especially in technology and ergonomics.
Toyota Busts Out Of Its Naturally Aspirated Shell, Tundra Features All-New V6
The big news here in this flurry of changes is the all-new performance hardware that the Tundra brings to the races for 2022. While a new chassis underpins the bodywork, the real headliner is the all-new 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that lurks under the hood. Remember when the Tundra was the last bastion of naturally aspirated powertrains? It was like that for 14 years, but this new one smashes that legacy into tiny pieces. The new 3.5 liter is smaller than the outgoing 5.7 liter V8, and in standard form, it only makes nine more horses than the V8 for a total of 389 hp. But things change when you get the optional hybrid version of the engine. Dubbed I-Force Max, this version of the V6 is mated to an electric motor hooked up to a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery under the rear seat. The setup causes power to jump to 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque.
While the horsepower figure still comes up a tad short against Domestic rivals, the hybrid does allow the Tundra to be the torquiest powertrain in the segment due to it just beating the Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid, which makes 573 lb-ft of torque. Like other hybrid engines that Toyota has made, the hybrid can run on pure electric power, but only for short distances and at speeds up to 18 mph. Instead, look for the electric motor to serve as a performance enhancer most of the time, especially in towing with the Tundra capable of towing up to 12,000 lbs in certain trims. That’s short of all three Domestic offerings, but it’s a noticeable improvement over the outgoing Tundra. A new 10-speed automatic is also coming to the Tundra, and it too will be a welcome change over the outgoing truck.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra is slated to go on sale later this year, but Toyota will be formally unveiling the truck in person at the 2022 Motor Bella event in Pontiac, Michigan, this week. We will be on the ground at Motor Bella, and we will be bringing live coverage of the Tundra and the other unveils at this event to all of our social media channels, so stay tuned.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.