If you ever want to know what it feels like to be king for a day (or in this case a week), get behind the wheel of the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra. This pickup is so big, it'll make you feel like Commander-In-Chief of the road, especially in its CrewMax, 6.5-inch long-bed form.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra is in its just-launched third-generation. My test model is a 1794 Edition pre-production prototype. CarPro show host Jerry Reynolds reviewed a different 1794 Edition in January, but this one is equipped with Toyota's fantastic new i-FORCE MAX hybrid engine. The 1794 Edition is fifth in a lengthy lineup, slotting below the TRD Pro and range-topping Capstone grade.
The new Tundra, pictured in Smoked Mesquite, certainly makes a statement. Unlike Jerry's TRD Pro review model, the 1794 features a lot of chrome -- from the grille surround and badging to the door handles and elements on the tail end.
It's equipped with premium LED headlights, sequential led turn signal daytime running lights and LED fog lights. In front, the air vents you see are functional to help cool the engine. The 1794 rides on standard 20-inch machined-finished alloy wheels.
Toyota's new i-FORCE MAX powertrain really is really something. Power and acceleration are quite impressive. A 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid engine delivers 437-horses and 583 pound-feet torque, mated to a great 10-speed automatic.
The Tundra really moves, especially in Sport S+ drive mode.
Fuel economy is slightly better for the 4X4 i-FORCE MAX 1794 Edition over the TRD Pro model coming in at 20 mpg combined over the TRD Pro's 19 mpg.
The 1794's cabin is compelling with its soft, Saddle Brown premium leather interior, soft-touch surfaces and American walnut wood-grain trim. A laser-etched 1794 badge on the dash denotes its status.
A well-designed, comfortable 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar is on the wider side. The seats are heated and ventilated both in the front and back. A leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel features easy to use digital display and audio controls.
The wide center console is huge with space for a wireless phone charger, two cupholders and the leather-wrapped gear shifter. It's also where you'll find controls for the drive modes and drivetrain system, along with an electronic parking brake and auto brake hold.
There is a ton of storage in here, too. The center console bin is massive. There's so much real estate on top it even offers cupholders for rear seat passengers.
A major highlight of the cabin is the new 14-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia touchscreen. Graphics and mapping quality are just great. The system is quick as well. Voice command worked like a charm when I used it to find a new-to-me destination. I did find it unusual the audio system didn't automatically mute while I was giving voice commands, I turned down the volume manually. The multimedia system is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Amazon Alexa. It's also capable of over-the-air updates. On my wish list, I feel like the 12-speaker JBL sound system would benefit from a few more speakers.
A large 12.3-inch digital driver's display is colorful and provides a ton of information, but I still find the font Toyota uses to be smaller than I'd like and its competitors.
The Tundra is so roomy I feel like you could almost live in it. The rear bench seat is quite comfortable and passengers not only get heated and ventilated seats but manual sunshades too. They also have their own A/C vents, USB ports and 12-volt.
I'm also impressed with the amount of natural cabin light thanks to panoramic moonroof and the optional power rear window.
In terms of in-truck storage, on the hybrid model you'll lose some of the under storage space you get under the bench rear seats of the standard gas engine model.
The 1794 is available with either the long or short (5.5-foot bed.) This one has the longer aluminum-reinforced composite 6.5-footer, which is why I had quite an interesting time parking it over the week.
Cool tailgate features are a tailgate release bump switch (located in driver's-side taillight) and a power BedStep. The terrific 360-degree camera includes a truck bed camera view. The truck bed itself is equipped with deck rail system with adjustable tie down cleats and cargo bed tie down points.
Ride and Drive
One of the Tundra's biggest stories is its suspension changes, including replacing leaf springs with coil springs. The new suspension set up really provides a comfortable ride. New, optional Load-leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension enhances the ride further. The Tundra navigated potholes and highway road debris (a wooden board) well. The Tundra squats somewhat for rear-height loading purposes unless you raise the suspension.
Driving dynamics are great as is visibility. The only difficulty for me was its length and large hood when parking. I really did appreciate the front parking camera view - but still couldn't quite get the hang of judging how much space I had in front of me. You'll want to watch out for the giant side mirrors, too, which extend out a ways.
Based on the build site this has the Advance package with options ($2,295). This package includes Load-leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension, Adaptive Variable Suspension and a 10-inch color display. Also included: the 1794 grade package, heated chrome outer power and blind spot mirrors, panoramic view monitor, LED turn signals, power running boards and power BedStep.
The entire Tundra lineup features Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 which include Pre-Collision System w/Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert w/Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Road Sign Assist (RSA).
The 1794 is among the trims also equipped with Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) and trailer detection.
(For 2023, Tundra's add Rear Seat Reminder.)
The 2022 Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX is a next-gen pickup guaranteed to continue its cult following in years to come with its power, capability, interior creature comforts and advanced technology. My hat's off to Toyota for such a successful redesign.
- What I liked most: Interior, 14-inch multimedia screen, ride.
- What I would change: JBL premium system needs more speakers.
- MSRP: Prototype, no official MRSP, but 1794 starts from $61,790.
- Fuel Economy: 19 city/22 highway/20 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 4,630 miles.
- Weight: 6095-6185 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Full Size Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 245.6-in./80.2-in./78-in.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 32.2 gallons with the filler on the driver's side.
- Official Color: Smoked Mesquite.
- Towing Capacity: 10,960 pounds.
- 2022 Toyota Tundra 1794: A giant step forward into the future for the Tundra.
- Warranty: 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty, 60-month/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, 60-month/unlimited mileage corrosion warranty, 2 years Toyota Care, 2 years roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: San Antonio, Texas.
- Manufacturer's website: Toyota