- The all-new, 3rd-generation Toyota Tundra ditches its old V8 engine for a twin-turbo 3.4L V6 with optional hybrid.
- On all seven trim levels, a new rear multi-link, coil-spring suspension offers better ride quality for the street and more stability when towing.
- With three powertrain options available, we test-drove the most potent TRD Pro hybrid with 437hp and 583 lb-ft, and it moves.
- 2022 Tundra TRD Pro goes for $66,805 MSRP; however, the base model SR starts at $37,645 MSRP.
- Evasive Motorsports picks up a Tundra Hybrid as a new tow rig for its racecars, then installs Volk Racing TE37XT wheels.
Most of us here are car guys, and we love to go fast, plain and simple. That’s why I drive a GR Supra every day, and 90% of the articles on Pit+Paddock relate to performance, motorsport, or car culture. But there’s a time and place when a full-size 4×4 is needed, whether for transporting, towing, off-roading, or overlanding.
It’s no mystery the entire truck industry and the aftermarket support around it haven’t just increased in size but skyrocketed over the last few years. Its immense growth is why we organized an overland-only Cars+Coffee meet this year and collaborated with CSF to build a 4Runner TRD Pro project of our own.
Personally, I’ve only recently started getting my feet wet in the 4×4 community by participating in events like King of the Hammers and being given the opportunity to travel across the desert in the Titan 7 Toyota Tacoma during our last Drivers Project road trip. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m selling my Supra to buy a truck next (although the thought did cross my mind). But my curiosities have undoubtedly changed, and I have gained a higher appreciation for good-looking and fun-to-drive trucks, which is why I was more than stoked when Toyota let me borrow this 2022 Tundra TRD Pro last month.
CAR GUY DISCLAIMER
Hundreds of well-written reviews and exceptionally produced videos detail every inch and feature of the new Tundra and how it stacks up against the competition. You won’t get that here, so I strongly suggest doing your research before making any reasonable purchasing decisions. However, if you’re still interested in what a passionate car journalist has to say about Toyota’s new Tundra, then keep reading because you’ll like what I have to say…
I’ve spent a decent amount of time in the current 4Runner and Tacoma. To me, they are the best-looking, off-road-ready SUVs and pickup trucks out there. There is just one thing… They’re old and dated, not to mention everyone, and their mama, cousin, uncle, and auntie have one. The Tundra, on the other hand, is the big bad brother. While it can tackle the tough terrains like its two siblings, the Tundra is a full-size beast that’s often utilized more for its towing and payload capacity than an evening after work playing in the dirt. In my eyes, it’s always been the more giant, clunky, overweight, and less sexy model in the Toyota truck family. That stereotype was about to be thrown out the window after my press loan with this new-new Tundra TRD Pro.
My brief stint with the Tundra TRD Pro didn’t give me enough time for off-road adventures, but I didn’t mind. This Tundra I borrowed that’s painted bright Solar Octane looked too darn pretty. And If I’m brutally honest, most interested Tundra buyers in Southern California probably aren’t going off-roading anytime soon, so my flexing around the city was more than fitting for review.
DOESN’T HANDLE LIKE IT’S 6,000 POUNDS
Cruising around town was not only relaxing but gratifying. I’ve never felt so at ease behind the steering wheel of a big truck. There’s admirable handling performance, too. Zipping around twisty corners and hugging sharp on- and offramps were fun sort of, in a silly imaginative way. There’s obviously some body roll, but the 6,000-pound Tundra isn’t afraid and can move with a bit of grace, like a sumo wrestler. I also grade the overall ride comfort above average as it’s not overly stiff or bouncy. This is much thanks to the new five-link coil-spring rear suspension that helps keep the rear-end planted and TRD Pro-specific Fox shocks which allow for high-speed suspension travel that smooths out bumps on and off the road.
TWIN-TURBO HYBRID POWER
Initially, I was under the impression that all-new Tundras would be running the twin-turbo V6 hybrid engine; however, there is an option without the hybrid, which is the base SR trim. This detuned 3.5-liter V6 engine makes 348hp and 405 lb-ft. The majority of the trim levels come with the hybrid version that makes 389hp and 479 lb-ft. Then, step up to the TRD Pro, and you have what Toyota calls the “i-Force Max” hybrid that produces 437hp and 583 lb-ft.
I was in command of the TRD Pro, and right off the bat, after my first 35mph to 90mph pull jumping onto the highway, I was convinced this new engine twin-turbo hybrid package from Toyota was the business. It accelerates strongly with max torque coming on at 2,400rpm. It also carries speed nicely, so nice that all your passengers will eventually hold on to their seats and wonder when the acceleration will mellow out. It doesn’t. Shifting from its 10-speed transmission was also smooth, with transitions from running both electric motor (48hp and 184 lb-ft) and gasoline engine being seamless. I was thinking I was going to miss the roar of a V8, but this hybrid V6, while it can be calm and quiet at low speeds utilizing its battery power primarily, it wakes the ‘f’ up when you punch with a deep rumble. I can only imagine how much better it would sound with a proper performance exhaust.
While subjective, the Tundra’s styling was right up my alley. I can appreciate the large and aggressive black front grille, wide body panels, all the LED lighting (even in the cargo bed), 14-inch touchscreen, and of course, the forged black BBS wheels. If I had to nitpick a couple things, it would be the camouflage treatment on the fenders and seats that are specific to the TRD Pro. I also wasn’t a fan of the big Toyota emblem on the passenger-side dash either. But that’s pretty much it!
Can’t say enough how enjoyable it was to pretend to be a proud owner of a Tundra TRD Pro. I took it nearly everywhere (minus anything off-road). It was even quite the touring rig on a spontaneous 300-mile road trip to Vegas. I’ll go on the record and say, given all the conditions of driving the Tundra TRD Pro in the city and on long hauls, the full-size truck gets an 8/10 in my book. Despite not being a V8 and having a hybrid boosted V6, it’s still thirsty. I was getting 15-17mpg most of the time (maybe it was my heavy foot) and needing to refill its $150 tank more than I wanted to. The TRD Pro also has a starting price of $66,805 MSRP, which ain’t cheap, but that’s why there are five other less expensive trim levels to choose from. They just won’t be as cool as the TRD Pro.
TRD SEMA BUILD
In case you’re wondering how the new Tundra looks modified, this build by Toyota’s TRD department was what really got me jazzed up for the Tundra in the first place. Nicknamed “TRD Desert Chase Tundra” and debuted at SEMA 2021, the TRD Pro features one-off parts like the long-travel suspension and fenders made of carbon fiber. The fenders accommodate 37-inch tires, while all the other accessories, such as the front-, rear- and side-facing lights, and a full bed of support gear, are meant to rescue a race truck in the desert in any condition.
TUNDRA TOWS TO PIKES PEAK
Now it might not be a TRD Pro model nor have as many cool goodies as the TRD SEMA build, but Evasive Motorsports picked up this Tundra with a TRD Off-Road 4×4 Package (adds Bilstein shocks and skid plates), and it looks the part! On all four corners are 18×9-inch +0 Volk Racing TE37XT M-Spec wheels with 35-inch Yokohama Geolander tires. The front has been raised two inches to avoid rubbing from the all-terrain rubbers. Best of all, it’s not just a mall crawler but used to tow the Turn 14 Distribution x Evasive Motorsports Tesla Model 3 Pikes Peak race car.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro (Solar Octane)
|PRICE:||Starting at $66,805 MSRP (base model SR starts at $37,645 MSRP)|
|POWER:||437hp; 583 lb-ft of torque|
|ENGINE:||3.5-liter i-FORCE MAX twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid engine|
|DRIVETRAIN:||10-speed electronically-controlled automatic with four-wheel drive and locking rear differential|
|SUSPENSION & CHASSIS:||independent double-wishbone front suspension; coil spring multi-link rear suspension; TRD Pro 1.1” front lift; Fox 2.5” diameter internal bypass shocks with piggyback reservoirs; TRD Pro front stabilizer bar|
|BRAKES:||13.9” front, 13.6” rear ventilated rotors; dual-piston front, single-piston rear calipers|
|WHEELS & TIRES:||18-inch BBS forged wheels; 285/65/R18 Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires|
|MAX PAYLOAD:||1,600 pounds|
|MAX TOWING:||11,151 pounds|
|FUEL ECONOMY:||19 city/21 highway /20 combined mpg (estimated)|