“World beater” 2022 Toyota Tundra gets hybrid power [Update]

The highly anticipated 2022 Toyota Tundra celebrated its world premiere at the company’s North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, in September 2021. The MY2022 update is the first significant redesign for Toyota’s Ford F-150 rival in fifteen years.

Video Source: Toyota USA

Here are the things you need to know about the next-gen Tundra 2022:

Character change for the Tundra

The 2022 Toyota Tundra packs heaps of design enhancements and the revamp makes the full-size pickup pretty much unrecognizable. Its front-end has a new high-tech and more robust appearance. Sleek, LED headlamps with a T-shaped LED DRL, a new hexagonal grille with large honeycomb openings and two horizontal LED fog lights, a noticeably chunkier bumper, and a more muscular hood are the design highlights here.

The sides also carry a whole new look, and the visible improvements are a contemporary greenhouse, beefed-up wheel arches, and more stylish door panels with a slightly deeper recess in the lower section. The regular variant gets a Tundra badge on the front doors and two-tone alloy wheels. While the 2021 model uses five lug nuts, the 2022 model has six lug nuts. One inference is that this change is related to its improved payload and towing capacity, and we’ll get to that later in the story.

2022 Toyota Tundra Platinum rear three quarters
The 2022 Toyota Tundra’s tail lamps are reminiscent of the Hyundai Palisade. Image Source: Toyota

The C-shaped outer edges of the taillights look vaguely similar to the Hyundai Palisade. Toyota has confirmed three different bed options: 5.5-foot, 6.5-foot, and 8.1-foot.

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The extra-rugged 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has a more dominating front-end with “Toyota” in block lettering, a wide central LED light bar, and three clearance lights. Moreover, the hood has more aggressive styling with black TRD Pro plates. On the sides, the marker light on the fenders and the rugged tube steps are unique to the TRD Pro variant. This specification includes 18-inch BBS forged wheels (with a red TRD logo and a red ring) wrapped in wider, 285/65 R18 Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tires. For reference, the second-gen Tundra TRD Pro has 285/65 R18 tires.

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro front three quarters
Toyota has fitted the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro with a 2.5-inch diameter Fox internal bypass shocks that give its front a 1.1-inch lift. Image Source: Toyota

The three marker lights positioned above the grille indicate that the 2022 Tundra is no less than 80 inches wide. NHTSA’s regulations require vehicles with a width of 80 inches or more to have front identification lamps to indicate the presence of a wide vehicle.

Revamped interior

The interior of the 2022 Toyota Tundra is noticeably more upmarket. Toyota’s designers in Calty have used a horizontal layout theme and integrated the dashboard and the center console. The center console design is less cluttered but practical, retaining the physical controls for essential functions like climate control and volume adjustment. The base trim is likely to have a smaller screen integrated into the dashboard.

A 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a semi-analog instrument cluster with a 4.1-inch MID in the center form the options. Another highlight of the cabin is a massive 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility, a virtual assistant that responds to Hey/Hi/Hello/OK Toyota wake-up phrases, and savable profiles. In addition to being larger, the new central display offers a better viewing angle to the driver because it is much less slanted.

The 2022 Tundra features a mobile phone holder-cum-charger on the right side of the gearshift lever, which is noticeably smaller than that of the 2021 Tundra. The wireless charger adheres to the Qi standard, which means that it supports all the latest Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

Panoramic roof, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, rear sunshade, and power sliding rear window are some of the main comfort features of the 2022 Tundra. A 360-degree camera system allows parking the large pickup with ease.

The 2022 Tundra has large vertical AC vents instead of the small circular ones. Unlike the 2021 Tundra, it has a chunky A-pillar driver-side grab handle, which drivers would really appreciate when driving off the road. Toyota has fitted an A-pillar grab handle on the passenger side as well, but that’s not a new feature.

The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro sports red upholstery with variant branding on the backrests of the front seats. Toyota has used perforated leather material for the seats of the TRD Pro variant.

New rear suspension system

2022 Toyota Tundra rear suspension
The Toyota Tundra has finally switched to a multi-link, coil-spring rear suspension with the MY2022 update. Image Source: Toyota

The 2022 Tundra has a new rear suspension setup in the interest of ride comfort. Toyota offers it with a multi-link suspension with coil springs instead of a leaf-spring suspension. The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro boasts higher ground clearance with Fox dampers and a red anti-roll bar. A TRD-branded front skid plate is also a part of the TRD Pro variant’s exclusive equipment.

The Toyota Tundra has moved from its TripleTech frame. Previously, it had fully-boxed rails for the front portion, a reinforced C-channel under the cab, and an open C-channel beneath the bed. Now, it has a fully boxed frame, which has brought a significant improvement in rigidity. With a widened rear frame member, the full-size pickup has improved on stability and towing capability aspects.

2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD skid plate
In addition to Fox dampers, the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro sports a TRD-branded front protection plate and anti-roll bar. Image Source: Toyota

For the first time, the Toyota Tundra range includes a Toyota Tundra Hybrid. The electrified variant employs a new i-Force Max powertrain that teams up a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine with an electric motor. The hybrid powertrain produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission channels the power to the wheels.

The motor draws the supply from a 288-volt Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery located under the rear passenger seats. It does most of the power delivery at low engine speeds. Once the speed of the pickup increases above 18 mph, the engine constantly remains in operation.

As before, Toyota doesn’t plan to launch a Tundra diesel. The company sees the Tundra Hybrid fit for potential diesel customers. Mike Sweers, the Tundra’s executive chief engineer, has told Driving.ca that he loves diesel engines and would have liked the line-up to include one. However, following the Volkswagen Group’s dieselgate scandal, certifying a diesel engine in North America takes three years. Plus, the hybrid engine, which isn’t coming from Lexus, offers a faster response compared to a diesel engine, Sweers said.

You’re getting that diesel-like torque and you’re getting a gas response and you’re improving fuel economy.

Mike Sweers, Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, and 4Runner chief engineer, Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development (TMNA R&D)
2022 Toyota Tundra iForce Max
The i-Force Max is the first-ever hybrid powertrain of the Toyota Tundra. Image Source: Toyota

The 2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid could offer customers a nice balance of economy and power, delivering an EPA-estimated fuel economy of about 30 MPG. Official fuel economy figures or company estimates aren’t out yet.

The third-gen Tundra’s maximum payload capacity is 1,940 pounds, which is an improvement of more than 11% over the previous generation. The all-new model has a maximum towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds, which is an improvement of 17.6% over the second-gen Tundra. But, as Motor Trend notes in its review, that’s not achievable in the hybrid variant. However, the hybrid variant’s maximum towing capacity is not very far from that figure – 11,450 pounds.

The Tundra Hybrid is probably one of the most refined Tundra models to date. Motor1 has driven it, and it says that while it doesn’t feel like a performance pickup, it offers plenty of torque and quicker, smoother inputs than the gasoline variant. It’s quiet, and it offers a pleasant driving experience, just as you’d expect from a hybrid. The only issue, and it’s a small one, eradicable once accustomed to the pickup, is that the braking system is way too responsive because regenerative braking adds to the stopping power of the discs.

The hybrid variant’s extra 48 horsepower and 104 pound-feet of torque don’t make it a significantly better performer, suggests Motor Trend’s review, which also mentions the downside of an oversensitive braking system. Tech enthusiasts may find the lack of special graphics displaying the power flow or energy regeneration. A serious let-down is the unavailability of an EV mode, although Toyota probably figured it might not be of much use to most customers in everyday driving.

Manufacturing

The Toyota Tundra will continue rolling out of the company’s San Antonio (Texas) plant in the U.S. The company is facing a semiconductor chip shortage, but it’s trying to save the San Antonio plant from the impact so that the 2022 Tundra stays on schedule, as per a San Antonio Express News report. So, it is giving this factory a priority in semiconductor chip allocation over other American facilities. Globally, the Japanese automaker is cutting vehicle production by 40% because of parts shortage in September 2021.

In order to meet our production timeline and schedule for the new Tundra, we have to finish up current model production by a certain timeline. If we’re delayed because of chip shortages, we can’t meet those milestones. So that’s the reason we’re prioritizing chips for the San Antonio plant.

Melissa Sparks, Corporate Communications, Toyota (North America)

Release Date

The official release date for the 2022 Toyota Tundra is Late-2021. According to AutoGuide, the hybrid variant will become available in the spring of 2022. There will be six grades: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794, and TRD Pro. The company will offer the hybrid variant in only the Limited, Platinum, and 1794 trims. Below are the 2022 Tundra color options:

  • Super White
  • Wind Chill Pearl
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Super Sonic Red
  • Army Green
  • Lunar Rock
  • Blueprint
  • Smoked Mesquite (Limited and 1794)
  • Solar Octane (TRD Pro exclusive).

Toyota is taking measures to avoid production setbacks for the 2022 Tundra, but customers may need to wait for a while for deliveries. A CarsDirect report citing a Toyota sales executive from El Monte, California-based Longo Toyota dealership says that the wait for 2022 Tundra deliveries could range from four months to one and a half years!

Toyota is reportedly shipping only 61 units of the all-new Tundra to Los Angeles this quarter. This is the most difficult variant to get a hold of, with a wait time of nine months to a year and a half. It says that some customers may even end up purchasing the next model year (MY2023) Tundra TRD Pro.

On the Toyota Tundra Electric (Toyota Tundra EV)

Introducing the Toyota bZ4X electric SUV concept at Auto Shanghai 2021, Toyota said it intends to release a pure electric pickup truck and a hybrid pickup truck. Later this decade, a Toyota Tundra Electric or a Toyota Tacoma Electric could arrive as the company’s first zero-emission pickup truck.

Toyota plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated BEVs, including seven carrying the bZ (Beyond Zero) brand moniker. In addition, Toyota intends to bring electrification to its pickup truck lineup in the near future, including hybrid and BEV powertrains.

Toyota Motor at the debut of the bZ4X concept in Shanghai, April 2021

Toyota Tundra History

Introduced in 1998, the Toyota Tundra became the first full-size pickup truck made by a Japanese automaker in North America when it entered production in May 1999. Toyota made it in Indiana before relocating the production to Texas in 2008.

The Toyota Tundra’s American roots have spread over time, with everything from design to development and core component (powertrain, transmission, and more) production localized. The second-gen Tundra’s design work primarily took place at the company’s Calty Design Research Centers in Newport Beach (California) and Ann Arbor (Michigan). In addition, Toyota did some engineering work at an in-house facility in Ann Arbor.

Despite 2.2+ million units sold to customers, the Tundra is not as popular as competitors from American automakers, like Ford’s F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. The American competitors have outsold the Tundra by nearly 5-7 times in the last decade.

The Toyota Tundra has, however, proven to be among the most reliable models in its segment. Loyal customers have owned it for years, with some having clocked more than a million miles behind the wheel. One such customer was Louisiana-based Victor Sheppard, who owned his 2007 Tundra for eight years and drove it for more than a million miles!

2022 Toyota Tundra FAQs

What is the 2022 Toyota Tundra release date?

Late 2021 is the new Toyota Tundra’s release date.

Will Toyota offer the new Tundra as a Hybrid?

Yes, Toyota has confirmed the launch of a 2022 Tundra Hybrid which uses a V6 engine.

What is the projected 2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid price?

The base Tundra Hybrid should cost between $40,000-45,000.

Featured image: Toyota