PONTIAC, MICH. — I noticed a couple of you commenters wondering why we hadn’t covered the 2022 Toyota Tundra yet.
One of you joked that we hadn’t done so because the grille is so ugly that we’d be charged with a crime.
The truth is more mundane than that — I was blindsided by its in-game reveal during Sunday Night Football and wasn’t in a position to write about it that night. And yesterday I was driving to suburban Detroit. One of the vehicles I was driving here to see: The Tundra.
So I figured I’d wait to see the truck in the flesh, so to speak. And now that I have, I have to ask — what is Toyota doing?
I am not just talking about the janky-looking grille, which looks less offensive to the eyes in person. There’s also the interior design, which looks at first glance to be carrying over the weird blocky look from the past.
Then there’s the fact that it apparently has a lower payload rating than the smaller Ford Ranger, at least in some trims.
What are we even doing here?
To be fair to Toyota, looks aren’t everything. Nor is a payload rating the only spec that matters. Maybe the truck is fantastic to drive and offers all the expected utility. But the early impressions are not great, Bob.
Here are the key specs — a standard twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 makes 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, and when equipped with a hybrid system that Toyota calls i-FORCE MAX, a bell-housing motor system boosts power to 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Either way, the transmission is a 10-speed automatic.
Towing capacity is listed at up to 12,000 pounds and a 14-inch infotainment screen is available, as is a 12.3-inch instrument screen. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 driver-aid system is standard across the board. Max payload is 1,940 pounds.
Available features will include panoramic roof, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, towing aids, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a tailgate release for the key fob, and over-the-air updates.
There will be two different four-door configurations and several bed lengths, including 5.5, 6.5, and 8.1 feet.
Toyota is using a fully boxed frame and promises more rigidity via high-strength steel while also using aluminum to reduce weight.
The suspension is multi-link with coil springs in the rear and the front is double wishbone. Twin-tube shocks front and rear are standard. Off-road trims get monotube Bilstein or FOX shocks. A rear air suspension is available on some trims. So, too, is an adaptive variable damping system.
Speaking of off-road, TRD Pro trims get a 1.1-inch front lift, front stabilizer bar, red-painted suspension parts, front skid plate, underbody armor, and all-terrain tires.
Available trim levels will be SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794; with TRD Off-Road, Sport, and Pro packages being available.
The Tundra will go on sale later this year and be built in San Antonio, Texas. Pricing will be announced later.
Hopefully, we’ll have a good answer to what Toyota’s plan is by then.
[Images: Toyota, © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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