The first drive for the 2022 Toyota Tundra is improved in every way

The first drive for the 2022 Toyota Tundra is improved in every way ...

A new pickup is coming to an end after more than a decade of waiting. I can confirm that it is in Texas, the heart of a American truck country, because it drives better, offers more utility and looks pretty good to boot.

Big and bold

The 2022 Toyota Tundra will be available in SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and TRD Pro trims. Double Cab models can be equipped with a 6.5- or 8.1-foot bed, although you may also select a 6.5-foot bed for maximum mobility.

Each Tundra model has a unique grille, although the differences between trims can be narrow. Consider unique badging, chrome instead of paint, etc. Regardless, each of the Tundra's grilles are indeed chonky, with proportions greater compared to what you'd expect on a heavy-duty vehicle.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has a robust design and hybrid power.

The 2022 Tundra is a bit longer than its predecessor, but from front to back, this is a much more modern design, and I think it all makes for a much more attractive truck. I like the high-mounted headlights, which are surrounded on two sides by LED running lights and sequential turn signals. The taillights are similarly interesting with three distinct vertical elements.

Toyota has declined to participate in the industry's busy multifunctional tailgate graze, but instead giving us a simple ol' drop-down rear. At least the tailgate is 20% lighter than it has previously and can be opened by tapping a button on the driver's side taillight. This is great for those who are not fully full and can't reach the key fob.

A nice technological upgrade

The Tundra's design is definitely out-of-form, but this is a truck, so I can't find fault with it. It may have gone all-in with luxury in its 1500 pickup, but the Toyota keeps it real. The center console is enormous, with separate armrests for the driver and driver. I love that the window sill is the perfect height to rest my elbow on while driving.

The 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster is equally dominant in the center, while the optional 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system makes sense. At first glance, Toyota is far more effective than it previously stated. The map quickly responds to pinch-to-zoom commands and the touchscreen is really responsive overall. Multiple phones can be connected via Bluetooth and wireless.

A fresh infotainment suite is available on an optional 14-inch touchscreen.

Hybrid power has joined the lineup.

Toyota has ditched the Tundra's old rear leaf springs in favor of a coil-spring setup. After driving 10 feet, you may go one step further and get a self-leveling rear air suspension with adaptive dampers. It's clear that the ride is smoother, any pavement imperfections are removed, and the Tundra is much easier to control. This is the difference between the two, which is a night-and-day difference.

Toyota is sticking with two versions of the Tundra's four or five engine choices, despite the fact that the base version of the Tundra SR has 348 horsepower and 405 pounds of torque, but all other adjustments have pushed this up to 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. This engine has a linear power supply and plenty of midrange chutzpah. It's nice.

The 2022 Tundra is expected to return 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined with this engine. Subtract one from each category for four-wheel drive.

Toyota has a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine equipped with an electric assist.

The star of the show is the iForce Max engine -- Toyota-speak for the aforementioned 3.5-liter V6 with electric assist. The standard twin-turbo V6 does not have power, but the hybrid goes big with 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor's added instant torque is remarkable; this truck absolutely rips when you clean it.

The Tundra will operate on pure electric power at parking lot speeds, but when my right foot demands more, the gas engine kicks in right away. Lift off the accelerator and the Tundra will once again default to EV driving, and all these changes happen seamlessly. Toyota doesn't shudder like some hybrids and assures you that Toyota knows exactly what it's doing with gasoline-electric power facilities.

The 10-speed transmission is perfect with the hybrid setup. Light regenerative braking changes the pedal feel, and it takes some getting used to. Toyota has yet to disclose hybrid fuel economy numbers.

Hybrid trucks are nothing new; it offers its with a gasoline-powered powertrain. Ford also comes out with an F-150 that can provide 2.4 or 7.2 kilowatts of power for work tools or other electric toys. There will be no change on the Tundra.

The Tundra's most powerful trim is the TRD Pro.

Off-road chops

The Tundra TRD Pro, which features only the i-Force Max hybrid, has 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels. A set of 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks with rear piggyback reservoirs live at each corner, and the front of the truck gets a 1.1-inch lift over lesser Tundra trims. Toyota's MultiTerrain Select and Crawl Control also includes an upgraded front stabilizer bar and aluminum skid plates.

One significant omission is tow hooks. On the off-road stretch there are no tow hooks. Regardless of how good a driver you are, you'll either get stuck or you'll be pulling your buddy out. That's why Toyota's reasoning mainly comes down to aerodynamics and efficiency, but this decision frustrates me.

I'll have to get it onto my home trails for information on the TRD Pro. Toyota setup was really easy and in no way challenged the truck. I can, however, tell you that the once-noisy Crawl Control, which acts like a low-speed cruise control, is now super quiet.

Like many of the Tundra's competitors, the Tundra does not have a multifunction tailgate.

Safety equipment for truck hire and driver assistance

With a 6.5-foot bed, a rear-wheel drive, and a standard V6 engine, the Tundra SR5 double Cab can weigh 12,000 pounds. This makes the truck weigh 11,450 pounds, compared to the Tundra's gross vehicle weight rating, which has reduced the towing capacity. Across the board, it averages 1,940 pounds.

Toyota does not provide as many tow-assist cameras as the Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra, but the Tundra has still has some tweaks on it. Drivers may choose from a generic list of trailers, including a boat, truck, and dump, or create a profile with their own trailer. You may also adjust the trailer's weight.

The trailer will go exactly where it is pointed while the driver is waiting for it to be released. For those who haven't left the trailer, this technique isn't quite as robust as Ford's backup technology, but it adds a dial on the dash to eliminate some of the uncertainty about where to steer, giving them the ability to navigate safely through a turn and into a storage area.

It might not be the leader of the pack, but this is still a good truck.

Toyota has a slew of advanced driving aids on every trim. Pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning are all available, and the latter now comes with steering assist if you walk out of the lane. Additionally, are automated high beams and road sign assist. This type of monitoring, however, is only recommended on the top trims.

Much, much better

The Toyota Tundra is nevertheless a lot better than its competitors in terms of capability and onboard technology. Hopefully the Tundra's low positioning will be reflected in its price, which has yet to be announced. The standard V6-powered Tundra should be in dealerships as you read this, with the hybrid coming in spring.

Editors' note: The manufacturer covered travel expenses related to this story, which is common in the automobile industry. Roadshow's staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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