The new suspension and more powerful V6 engines combine to increase the Tundra’s towing capacity to 12,000 lb. (5443 kg) versus 10,200 lb. (4626 kg.) with the ’21 V8 model. (Toyota)

2022 Toyota Tundra: V8 out, twin-turbo hybrid takes over

A choice of two V6 engines supplant V8 power and SMC now rules the cargo bed in Toyota’s all-new full-size pickup.

The voice of the customer was clearly heard during Toyota’s development of the all-new, third-generation Tundra pickup. “We had multiple focus groups early on to hear directly from them. And from a powertrain perspective, torque, power and efficiency were important points,” said Mike Sweers, senior VP, Product Development Office, and Global Truck Chief Engineer, Toyota North America.

Sweers’ team chose a pair of 3.5-L twin-turbocharged-and-intercooled gasoline V6s to replace the 5.7-L V8 that was the 2021 Tundra’s lone engine choice. Each of the V6 engines generate more power than the V8, which was rated at 381 hp at 5600 rpm and 401 lb-ft (544 Nm) at 3600 rpm and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. By comparison, the 2022 Tundra’s i-Force V6 delivers a preliminarily estimated 389 hp and 479 lb-ft (649 Nm). The i-Force Max V6, which introduces a parallel-hybrid system, more than adequately fills in for the outgoing V8: it offers an estimated 437 hp at 5200 rpm and 583 lb-ft (790 Nm) at 2400 rpm. The engines mate to an Aisin-engineered 10-speed automatic transmission with a sequential-shift mode, uphill/downhill shift logic, and tow/haul driving modes.

“Our new platform, both mechanical and electrical components, really allowed us to take full advantage of the best aspects of a turbo engine and an electric drive motor,” explained Sweers. The I-Force Max’s motor generator with clutch is located within the transmission bell housing (at the so-called P2 position between engine and transmission gearsets). Its primary mission is to provide additional power rather than enhance fuel efficiency. The system handles engine start-up, electric assist, electric-only driving and brake-energy regeneration. The hybrid system’s 288-volt nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery is packaged under the rear seat.

The U.S.- designed, -engineered and -assembled 2022 Tundra features a fully boxed, steel ladder frame that provides 20% more rigidity than the outgoing truck, Sweers noted. The steel cargo bed of the outgoing Tundra has been replaced by sheet-molded composite (SMC) thermoset. “Our short bed has five aluminum extruded cross reinforcements and the long bed uses seven,” Sweers said. The tailgate remains a steel assembly, but internal reinforcements carry the load at a reduced weight. “We also applied an SMC inner panel to protect the high-use loading surfaces and added a deep-section resin spoiler for stylistic and aerodynamic improvements,” Sweers explained.

A new double-wishbone front suspension features reduced-offset-angle kingpins to improve straight-line stability, he said. Vehicle stability also benefits from increased caster trail (34.1mm/1.34-in., versus the prior 25.4mm/1-in). A multi-link coil rear suspension locates a live axle, the coil setup replacing the former multi-leaf springs. The new suspension and more powerful V6 engines combine to increase the truck’s towing capacity to 12,000 lb. (5443 kg) versus 10,200 lb. (4626 kg.) for the previous V8-propelled Tundra, engineers said. Maximum payload capacity is 1,940 lb. (880 kg.) – a significant increase from the 2021 Tundra 4x2 Double Cab’s 1,600-1,730 lb. (725 -784 kg.). 

Tundra’s rear suspension also freed additional package space for an available air-suspension system; available on select trim levels, it permits manual and automatic leveling functions. An optional linear-solenoid-type Adaptive Variable Suspension, which adjusts damping force based on road conditions, is a Tundra-first application.

The 2022 Tundra will be the first Toyota vehicle with the automaker’s latest-generation Audio Multimedia system, providing wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and other capabilities. User interface is via an 8-in. touchscreen or an available 14-in. touchscreen — the largest screens yet for Tundra. Information also is conveyed by a combination meter with 4.1-in. digital multi-information screen and analog readouts, or by an available 12.3-in. thin film transistor (TFT) display. Start of Tundra production is slated for late 2021, at which time pricing will be announced.

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