Better late than never, as they say. It might have been long overdue, but Toyota has finally delivered a new Tundra. And brand new it is, with a totally new platform, new engines, and radical new styling. I spent a week with a 2022 Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited to see if it was worth the wait, and more importantly, if it would be competitive with the big domestic brands that have been leading the charge in the market.
The Tundra’s new platform is known as the TNGA-F, and Toyota has made the effort here to build a truck platform that represents a big step up from the outgoing unit. The new platform features a fully boxed frame for extra strength and rigidity, and to keep things comfortable on Limited and above trim levels the cab is mounted to the frame using hydraulic mounts. The new truck also gets a fully composite bed, making it resistant to rust and dents while retaining the payload strength one would expect from a full-sized truck.
The new platform is wrapped in rather edgy looking bodywork, again, a departure from the conservative outgoing Tundra. The profile remains agreeable, but the front and rear ends are more dramatic and draw polarized opinions. The LED headlights are very big and prominent on all four corners, but the biggest eye-catcher is the massive grille which draws down into the front bumper. The grille works well on the top-trim Platinum and Capstone models due to the additional chrome detailing, but on Limited and lower trims, it’s just a wall of grey plastic. It integrates the LED fog lights well, which lends the front end a bit of a trophy truck profile at night.
The new Tundra is available in two cab sizes; the smaller Double Cab like our tester, or the larger CrewMax. The Double Cab is available with a standard 6.5-footer, or optional 8.1-foot long bed. The CrewMax model gets a standard 5.1-foot bed, or an optional 6.5” long bed.
As expected, the interior is new as well, and while it does represent a significant departure from the in terms of materials and functionality, it remains spartan and drab compared to some of the competition. Our Limited came with nice Softex seating that is heated, ventilated, features power adjustment and memory. Materials range from great, such as the leather on the tops of the door panels, to poor such as the hard plastics used for some of the center console slide lids and trays. Unfortunately, the few cheap materials used in some key locations are a detriment to the overall sense of quality.
The dash is fairly clean and simple; I was surprised to find a fairly basic gauge cluster. It does have an LCD screen in the center that can be set up to display just about whatever information you’d want to see about your truck or drive. The rest of the dash is dominated by the massive 14-inch HD touchscreen running Toyota’s latest multimedia system. It’s a great looking screen and program, but still not intuitive at all to operate. My biggest gripe with it is that a lot of the touch commands show up on the right side of the screen, furthest away from the driver, which means stretching or leaning.
Functionality is decent with lots of cubbies and places to keep carry items handy, though the center console isn’t as functional as I’d like. The storage compartment area is strangely broken up with dividers, and there’s a sliding lid built into the larger flip-up lid. The shifter also takes up a lot of console space; I’d rather see a column shifter. I think the Tundra’s designers forget how much stuff accumulates in the front of a working truck.
The rear seat area in the Double Cab is tight; it would work for a couple of adults in a pinch, but wouldn’t be comfortable due to a lack of legroom. Similarly, it would be a struggle to get a rear-facing infant seat into it. The larger CrewMax would be the better choice for anyone looking to haul people on a regular basis. The rear seat bottoms do flip up to reveal some storage bins, but they are raised, so no flat loading floor for large items.
The 6.5-foot composite bed on our tester came ready for work with convenient tie-downs and a non-slip surface on the interior of the composite bed. It includes a 400-watt 120V outlet which is convenient for charging batteries, running small appliances or some basic tools, but larger power tools will struggle. Given that this is a brand new truck, and a hybrid powertrain is available, I would’ve liked to see a larger on-board generator similar to the Ford PowerBoost system.
While I came away a little disappointed with the interior, the new engines for the Tundra really do impress. The standard engine is a 3.5L-liter twin turbocharged V6; it makes 389 horsepower and 478 lb-ft. of torque. The top-dog engine, known as the i-Force Max, builds on that same 3. V6, but also adds hybrid power to the equation. This delivers 437 horsepower and a big 583 lb-ft. of torque at a very low 2,400RPM. Both engines come mated to a smoother operating 10-speed automatic.
Our tester came with the standard non-hybrid powertrain, which notably is only available in the high trim levels and with the CrewMax cab. However, the new V6 proves more than adequate. With outstanding throttle response and excellent passing power, the powertrain feels very much like the similar 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the top-trim F-150’s – only this is the base engine in the Tundra. I am sure that the added power and torque from the hybrid system will make this an even more impressive powerhouse.
That said, despite not have the hybrid advantage, our tester still returned impressive fuel economy with observed consumption of 12.9L/100km. Admittedly, our driving for the week skewed towards highway, but it’s still an impressive number for a full-sized truck, and in-line with the rated figures. As an added perk, regular 87 octane fuel is recommended, despite being a twin-turbocharged motor.
The driving experience is fairly lukewarm for the segment overall. I really do like the powertrain, but the ride quality is not as refined as some competitors; particularly the rear suspension which is very stiff when driving around unloaded. Steering is vague, but the turning radius is tight, and on-center feel is positive as well. Noise levels in the cab are average for the segment.
The Tundra is capable of towing up to 12,000-pounds, or a hauling a payload of 1,940-pounds, both right up there with the key competitors. As well, the Tundra is available with a trailer backing assist program that can help take some of the frustration out of the process.
Price wise, the Tundra is sort of a middle ground. A really basic 4×2 Double Cab SR model would run $44,990, and a similar 4×4 rings in at $48,290. From there, the SR5 adds some basic features like heated seats, trailer brake controller, bigger alloys, and starts at $52,490. Stepping up from the SR5 brings you to the Limited, which like our test truck, comes in at $60,490 for a Double Cab and $62,490 for a CrewMax.
Once you step up another notch to the Platinum trim, the Double Cab is no longer available, so the Platinum CrewMax starts at $72,990. If you really want something both unique and luxurious, the Capstone is available for $84,150. The Limited seems to represent the best value, and the Platinum compares favorably to other high trim level trucks if you’re looking for some extra luxury with your pickup.
Overall, the all new 2022 Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited is a very worthy entry into the hyper competitive light duty truck segment. Fresh looks combined with two new powerful and efficient powertrains, palatable pricing and legendary Toyota durability should be more than enough to win over its fair share of buyers. A bit more attention to interior ergonomics and some additional innovation to support how work gets done in and around the truck’s bed would go a long way towards pushing the Tundra to the top of my list.