2022 Toyota Tundra Review

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Oct 12, 2021

Introduction

On any given day, Toyota may sell more vehicles in the U.S. overall, but the brand has been a minor player for years when it comes to large pickup trucks. This is despite the smaller Toyota Tacoma having ruled the midsize pickup segment for nearly two decades. So how does the Toyota Tundra manage a paltry fifth place in large pickup truck sales out of six entries and command less than 5% of the market in 2020? Tribal loyalty among large pickup buyers is a significant factor, as is the amount of attention Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis pay to this hugely profitable and uniquely North American product segment.

Until the redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra started rolling off of the company’s Texas assembly line, the last all-new Tundra debuted 14 years ago. That’s an uncharacteristically long interval for a company that regularly rolls out new generations of its SUVs and passenger cars every five years or so. 

Now, the third-generation 2022 Tundra gets some love in terms of new features and rolls with what Toyota design dubs “technical muscle.” As if to emphasize its increased capabilities for 2022, the new Tundra gets an even larger grille than before, effectively continuing down into the front bumper. Standard LED headlamps flank the grille, topped off by a raised, power-dome hood. Large fender flares add more muscle, offset with scalloped sections and a lowered beltline along the doors. The damped tailgate features a built-in rear spoiler, bookended by LED tail lamps that resemble the ones on a Kia Telluride. On higher trims, they add a sequential turn signal flourish.

Assembled in San Antonio, the new 2022 Tundra is available in six trims. They include the basic SR, popular SR5, well-equipped Limited, luxurious Platinum and 1794, and the off-road-oriented TRD Pro. Each trim gets its own grille, so if one gaping maw isn’t your cup of Texas tea, maybe another will be.

As before, the Tundra is available with a 4-door Double Cab or an even larger, roomier 4-door CrewMax cab. The Double Cab offers a midsize 6.5-foot bed or a long 8.1-foot bed. The CrewMax bed choices consist of a 6.5-foot bed or a short 5.5-footer. For 2022, the Tundra features an aluminum-reinforced composite bed that’s rustproof and ding-resistant, similar to what you’ll find on the Tacoma. Inside, the new Tundra gets an all-new infotainment system with an available 14-inch touchscreen display that’s the biggest in the large pickup segment.

However, the most significant change for 2022 is under the skin with a move to Toyota’s new TNBA-F body-on-frame platform. In addition to a stiffer, fully boxed high-strength steel frame, the new Tundra gets a multilink coil-spring rear suspension not unlike the setup in the Ram 1500. Load-leveling rear air springs are available, too, for the first time.

The 2022 Tundra gets an all-new powertrain as well. An i-Force twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 is standard with most trims, while a new i-Force Max parallel gas-electric hybrid engine is standard in the TRD Pro and optional with Limited, Platinum, and 1794 trims. Both powertrains team with the Tundra’s first 10-speed automatic transmission, and both are available with a choice of rear- or 4-wheel drive (4WD). 

The Tundra’s new platform will also underpin other Toyota/Lexus vehicles, such as the upcoming 2022 Lexus LX 600 and the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota 4Runner.

What Owners Say About the Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited Red Front Quarter

Photo: Ron Sessions

According to data collected from verified owners for the J.D Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 89% of Toyota Tundra owners are male (vs. 90% for the Large Pickup segment), and the median age of a Tundra owner is 54 years (vs. 56).

Owners have ranked the Tundra in 10 primary areas of evaluation. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite thing:

  • Exterior Styling
  • Powertrain
  • Driving Feel
  • Feeling of Safety
  • Setting up and Starting
  • Driving Comfort
  • Getting In and Out
  • Interior Design
  • Infotainment System
  • Fuel Economy

In the J.D. Power 2021 APEAL Study, the Tundra ranked sixth out of six Large Light Duty Pickups.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Toyota Tundra

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a Tundra Limited I-Force Max equipped with the following options:

  • TRD Off-Road package (20-inch TRD wheels, TRD grille, TRD off-road suspension, Bilstein shocks, skid plates, mudguards, trailer backup guide system, Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, Downhill Assist Control, electronically locking rear differential, and Multi-Terrain monitor with cameras)
  • Power package (smartphone charger and 400-watt, 120-volt power supply for the back seat and cargo bed)
  • Premium Audio package (Quantum Logic surround sound with 12 JBL speakers, 12 channels, and 1,200 watts)
  • Panoramic roof
  • Fixed side steps

As I write this review, Toyota has not finalized 2022 Tundra pricing.

Getting In and Getting Comfortable

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited Front Seats

Photo: Ron Sessions

Built in San Antonio, Texas, solely for the North American market, the new Tundra offers the generous cabin space full-size pickup buyers expect. Step-in height is high, but unlike as in the midsize Tacoma, no one needs to lift a leg over the sill and duck at the same time to enter the Tundra gracefully. There are three kinds of side steps available: fixed single rail, fixed individual steps for each door, and motorized steps that deploy when a door is opened and tuck neatly away under the rocker panels after a door is closed.

The front doors are wide, and the CrewMax’s rear doors are super-wide. Once ensconced in the Tundra’s spacious and comfortable front seats, occupants won’t feel like they’re sitting on the floor with their knees in the air as they might in the midsize Tacoma. Bucket front seats are now standard, replacing last year’s three-across front bench seat, which Toyota discontinues for 2022.

The Limited test truck came with all-day comfy heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats with SofTex synthetic leather upholstery. Leather is standard with Platinum and 1794 trims, with more basic cloth-covered manually adjustable ones in SR and SR5 grades.

As is the full-size pickup norm, the Tundra’s large center console has lots of bins for electronica and road-trip detritus. There are four cup holders, two of them accessible to rear-seat passengers, as well as a deep compartment under the padded center armrests that can handle a tablet or small laptop. The available wireless phone charger is a vertical type that takes up minimal console surface area. An oversized glovebox and bins in the doors add more stash space.

Gas-powered Tundras also offer plenty of hidden storage under the flip-up rear seat cushion for convenient access to tools and keeping valuables out of sight. However, that space is unavailable in the i-Force Max hybrid because its 1.87-kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride hybrid battery resides there.

The Double Cab offers reasonable space for three adults on its rear bench seat, although navigating my size 12 shoes between the rear seat bottom and door B-pillar took some time. On the other hand, the much larger CrewMax provides limo-like stretch-out space with greater legroom than is available upfront. Higher grades offer heated rear seats in the outboard positions as well. 

2022 Toyota Tundra Audio Multimedia System Review

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited Interior Dashboard

Photo: Ron Sessions

The Tundra is the first Toyota-branded vehicle to use the company’s all-new Audio Multimedia infotainment system. It’s a close cousin of the new Lexus Interface system just rolled out for the 2022 NX crossover SUV and, says Toyota, offers five times faster operating speed than last year’s model did. The Tundra’s new infotainment system includes:

  • Standard 8-inch or available 14-inch high-definition touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
  • Standard “Hey, Toyota” voice assistant
  • Cloud-based navigation with Drive Connect subscription
  • Can store user profile settings for navigation, radio favorites, and other preferences
  • Can pair two phones simultaneously
  • One-month 3GB Wi-Fi hot spot trial for up to 10 devices with Apple Music and Android Music integrated streaming capability
  • Standard 6-speaker (Double Cab) or 9-speaker (CrewMax) AM/FM stereo or uplevel 12-speaker JBL surround-sound premium audio (Limited and higher trims)
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM satellite radio with 90-day Platinum Plan trial
  • Up to five USB ports
  • Real-time over-the-air updates for maps and points of interest (POI)
  • Integrated Google POI data

The full-size pickup screen wars continue in 2022, with the new Tundra now claiming the largest available infotainment screen honors at 14 inches (the 2022 Chevy Silverado has a new upscale screen measuring 13.4 inches). It is standard in Limited-and-higher trims, replacing an 8-inch unit in the SR and SR5 grades. Both screens feature high-definition resolution, vibrant colors, and pinch and zoom functions.

Toyota wisely chose large onscreen tiles that are easy to see and select with beefy, calloused hands on the fly. A vertical bar on the left side of the screen provides shortcuts to menus for other tasks such as phone, vehicle settings, infotainment settings, and navigation. Steering-wheel controls adjust stereo volume and tuning, while a physical volume knob resides to the lower left of the screen. Alas, last year’s tuning knob is history.

Toyota’s new Audio Multimedia system brings a virtual Intelligent Assistant that you can rouse by pressing a steering-wheel voice-control button or just saying a prompt such as” Hey Toyota,” “Hi Toyota,” “Hello Toyota,” or something you choose. The system comprehends natural language, and it can understand and respond to common words and phrases. There are two speakers, one each for the driver and front passenger, so both can request audio selections, search for points of interest, and ask for navigation directions. The technology quickly processed and accurately executed a voice request to find a hotel in a city 50 miles away without the time-consuming and tedious need to type in the street address. 

Pairing my phone took seconds, not minutes. The new Tundra can pair two phones, which is a big deal for employee road warriors who must keep personal and professional communications separate.

The Tundra Limited test vehicle had a 12-speaker JBL audio system with Quantum Logic surround sound and 1,200 watts of power. Not only did the system provide an immersive musical experience, but the related sound-enhancement system helped give the standard 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 a throaty, baritone audio signature of its own in keeping with the Tundra’s muscular and capable yet civilized character. 

What It’s Like to Drive the 2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited Red Side View

Photo: Ron Sessions

At the core of the 2022 Tundra is an all-new powertrain lineup. An i-Force twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter double-overhead-cam V6 supersedes last year’s 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 and mates to a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

In base SR trim, it makes 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, with a higher-tuned version in SR5-and-higher trims rated at 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. In the higher-tuned version, power and torque are close to what Ford supplies in the F-150 EcoBoost V6. Compared to the previous Tundra’s 5.7-liter V8, Toyota estimates that the new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 will deliver markedly improved fuel economy, around 5 mpg better in combined city/highway driving. Official fuel economy numbers were unavailable as this review was written.

The new Tundra’s second act is its first gas-electric hybrid offering, the i-Force Max. Using the same 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, the hybrid adds a permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor between the engine and the 10-speed automatic. It nets a powertrain with 437 horsepower and a whopping 583 pound-feet of torque.

I spent time in both i-Force and i-Force Max Tundras. The twin-turbo V6 offers ample torque across the engine speed range and good power up top for passing and merging. The power delivery is smooth, with no discernable peaks or valleys and zero turbo lag. Last year’s V8 won’t be missed, especially when drivers see how much fuel economy improves with the new twin-turbo V6 with no loss in performance.

As good as the i-Force twin-turbo V6 is, the new i-Force Max does it one better. The first thing you notice at low speeds is the turbine-smooth electric drive-off feel. Stay light on the accelerator, and the big Tundra whirrs away from a stop powered by electrons alone. The low-end torque that’s so nice in the non-hybrid i-Force is even more potent in the electrically boosted i-Force Max. Acceleration is effortless, pretty quiet at times, and right there when you want it. I saw an indicated 22.5 mpg in mixed driving over 55 miles. And although the opportunity to tow with the hybrid did not present itself, the electric-only takeoff can only improve the smoothness in stop-and-go traffic. 

Compared to the previous 6-speed unit, the new 10-speed automatic aids smoothness with smaller steps between gears, acceleration with higher-numerical lower gears, and fuel economy with taller top gears for relaxed cruising.

Dynamically, the new Tundra benefits from a stiffer, stronger, fully welded and boxed frame, hydraulic cab mounts, and the biggie, a new multilink coil spring rear suspension replacing the ancient leaf-sprung live rear axle. As a result, no other full-size truck comes close to the Tundra’s nicely balanced ride and handling attributes, particularly noticeable over less-than-smooth patches of road.

A load-leveling air spring rear suspension is an option on SR5 and Limited trims. New front suspension geometry and increased front caster aid stability and impart a self-centering effect on the highway. Adaptive damping, which can adjust the stiffness of each shock absorber to road events in real time, is optional with Platinum and 1794 trims.

TRD-branded suspension upgrades are also available for the Tundra in 2022. The TRD Sport suspension available solely with SR5 trim is stiffer and lowers the truck’s ride height by half an inch. The TRD Off-Road package available with SR5, Limited, and 1794 trim adds Bilstein monotube gas shocks, improving damping response both on-road and off. And finally, the TRD Pro model adds 1.1 inches of front lift, a beefier front stabilizer bar, and desert-racing-proven FOX 2.5-inch internal-bypass coil-over front and rear remote-reservoir shocks that can handle heat buildup during extended long-travel events in punishing terrain.

Full-size pickups are often used for serious towing, and the 2022 Tundra can tow up to 12,000 pounds. One neat new feature is a Straight Back Assist feature, which allows the driver to back up the truck and trailer in a straight line, hands-free. Another is an expanded blind-spot monitor feature that can detect blind spots for the trailer and the truck when Toyota’s integrated trailer brake controller is hooked up. 

Lastly, the new Tundra’s beefy 13.9-inch front/13.6-inch rear disc brakes deliver a firm pedal response and confident stopping power even when towing a trailer. In addition, the truck’s rack-and-pinion steering, which is nicely weighted and precise, moves to electric-assist for 2022 to facilitate added advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and aid fuel economy. 

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 Review

2022 Toyota Tundra Driving Assistance Settings Menu

Photo: Ron Sessions

Toyota has been aggressive in equipping its core models with standard driver-assistive and safety technology, and the 2022 Tundra is no exception. In addition to a standard backup camera and eight airbags, elements of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 main suite include the following:

  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and auto emergency forward braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-centering assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Road-sign recognition

In addition, Limited-and-higher trims are equipped with standard:

  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning with brake support
  • Parking brake support (applies the brakes if the driver doesn’t in low-speed maneuvers like parking)

In 55 miles of driving, the Tundra's ADAS worked as advertised, operating quietly and unobtrusively in the background. On the freeway, the adaptive cruise control maintained the set speed, slowing as necessary to maintain a safe following distance if the preceding vehicle was driving slower. Through miles of construction zones with reduced lane width, the big Tundra sometimes passed over painted lane markings, which set off a low-volume warning beep and introduced a small amount of corrective steering torque from the lane-keeping assistance system. 

A rear-seat reminder is also standard for 2022. The feature prompts the driver with a dashboard message and warning chimes to check the back seat for children or pets after the engine is shut off.

2022 Toyota Tundra FAQ

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Cargo Bed Camera View

Photo: Ron Sessions

How much cargo space does the 2022 Toyota Tundra have?

There are three different pickup beds available for the new Tundra. Double cabs offer a large 8.1-foot bed, while a medium-size 6.5-foot box is standard for both the Double Cab and CrewMax. Finally, a short 5.5-foot bed is provided solely for the CrewMax.

Toyota doesn’t publish cargo capacity figures for the beds, but they’re all 20.9 inches deep and 58.7 inches wide with 48.7 inches of width at the floor between the wheel wells. That way, standard 4x8 sheets of plywood will lay flat.

As the Tacoma has offered since 2004, the new Tundra now gets an aluminum-reinforced composite bed that’s ding-resistant and rustproof. Tundra payload ratings range from 1,575 pounds to 1,940 pounds, depending on the as-equipped weight of the truck.

Does the 2022 Toyota Tundra get good gas mileage?

As this review is published, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not announced official fuel economy results for the 2022 Tundra. However, Toyota says the new base 3.5-liter i-Force twin-turbo V6 will return 20 mpg in combined driving with rear-wheel drive and 19 mpg with 4WD. That’s right in line with the Ford F-150’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 numbers and a substantial 5-mpg increase over the EPA estimates for the 2021 Tundra with the 5.7-liter V8.

In the 2022 Tundra CrewMax Limited 4WD test vehicle with the optional i-Force Max hybrid powertrain, the vehicle’s trip computer displayed a 22.5-mpg average over 55 miles of mixed urban, freeway, and rural 2-lane roads traveled in the Texas Hill Country. With the test truck’s 32.2-gallon fuel tank, that translates to more than 700 miles of driving range. Toyota hasn’t estimated efficiency ratings for the Tundra hybrid.

Is the 2022 Toyota Tundra safe?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced safety ratings for the 2022 Toyota Tundra as of the posting of this review. 

Considering the old truck’s Poor- and Marginal-rated performance in IIHS testing, the new model has nowhere to go but up. Certainly, the all-new fully-welded high-strength steel frame and expanded safety features will help in this regard.

How much is the 2022 Toyota Tundra?

As this is written, Toyota has not announced prices for the 2022 Tundra. Last year’s base prices ranged from $35,365 to $53,050—before adding options and the $1,595 destination charge. With the added content of the twin-turbo V6, 10-speed automatic, and additional infotainment content on the bottom end and the new hybrid up top, 2022 prices will likely range from $36,000 to $60,000, plus destination and options.

What are the 2022 Toyota Tundra competitors?

In the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Toyota Tundra ranked highest in the Large Light Duty Pickup segment. The Ram 1500 and the Nissan Titan were the next highest-ranked models. 

In the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout Study (APEAL), the Ram 1500 ranked highest in the Large Light Duty Pickup segment. The GMC Sierra and the Nissan Titan were the next highest-ranked models.

Other competitors to the 2022 Tundra include the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150.

Independent Expert Opinion

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited Red Rear Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

The 2022 Toyota Tundra raises the stakes among large pickups with an all-new coil-spring multilink rear suspension, new ding-resistant and rustproof aluminum-reinforced composite bed, biggest infotainment touchscreen in the segment, standard twin-turbo V6 power, and the brand’s first-ever hybrid model.

Moreover, the new 2022 Tundra addresses the two least favorite aspects of the previous version—infotainment and fuel economy—identified by verified Tundra owners in the 2021 J.D. Power APEAL study. With the 14-inch touchscreen that comes standard in most Tundra trims and a highly developed voice-activation feature that makes multimedia interaction a simple, short conversation, the 2022 model tops the systems available in rival trucks.

Also, the new standard 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that replaces the previous 5.7-liter V8 nets an estimated 5-mpg improvement in EPA-estimated combined city/highway driving. And the Tundra Hybrid does even better. In our testing, it averaged 22.5 mpg.

These improvements, combined with Toyota’s hard-earned reputation for quality, durability, and reliability, mean the redesigned Tundra is in a solid position to gain market share in 2022.

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive and consumer websites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals, and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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