Toyota has achieved greater than another automaker to popularize hybrid vehicles. Japan’s largest automaker could not have been the primary to deliver a hybrid to the USA (that was Honda), however the Toyota Prius made the concept stick — and it didn’t finish there. During the last decade, Toyota constructed on the recognition of the Prius, including hybrid powertrains to just about each sort of auto.
Probably the most obvious gaps in Toyota’s hybrid lineup has been pickup vans, partially as a result of Toyota hasn’t bothered to present its Tundra pickup a full redesign for the reason that 2007 mannequin yr. Within the meantime, Ford beat Toyota off the road with its 2021 F-150 PowerBoost hybrid. For the 2022 mannequin yr, Toyota goals to make up misplaced floor with the Tundra i-Power Max hybrid.
The title could sound a bit dorky, however Toyota claims its first Tundra hybrid will supply the towing and hauling functionality of a standard full-size pickup truck whereas delivering higher fuel mileage than the defunct V8-engined Tundra. The query is whether or not the 2022 Toyota Tundra i-Power Max can steadiness these competing calls for. Is it the Prius of pickups, or a weak-sauce hybrid?
To seek out out, we spent a day driving totally different Tundra hybrid fashions on and off-road in California. The i-Power Max powertrain isn’t accessible on base Tundra trim ranges. It’s optionally available on the Restricted, Platinum, and 1794 fashions, and customary on the TRD Professional off-road mannequin and new-for-2022 Tundra Capstone. The least-expensive hybrid mannequin is the rear-wheel-drive Restricted, which begins at $53,995 (all costs embrace a compulsory $1,695 vacation spot cost). The value vary goes as much as $75,225 for the highest Tundra Capstone trim stage.
Design and inside
For the Tundra’s first redesign in over a decade, Toyota went all-out. The 2022 Tundra tries so onerous to outdo its American rivals on aggressive, rugged styling that it virtually descends into self-parody. The large grille, scowling headlights, and muscular body-side sculpting that might make a Males’s Well being cowl mannequin blush all mix for visible overload. Most trim ranges ladle an honest serving to of chrome on high of that, together with 22-inch wheels on the highest Capstone mannequin.
Like rival full-size pickup vans, the Tundra retains the body-on-frame development that was deserted by passenger vehicles way back. The 2022 mannequin rides on a brand new body that’s absolutely boxed to enhance structural rigidity, whereas the mattress is constituted of a mixture of aluminum and sheet molded compound to save lots of weight.
The 2022 Tundra tries so onerous to outdo its American rivals on aggressive, rugged styling that it virtually descends into self-parody.
Like most vans, the Tundra is on the market in a number of cab and bed-length configurations, however not all of them might be mixed with the hybrid powertrain. You possibly can’t get it with the Double Cab, which additionally means you possibly can’t order the longest 8.1-foot mattress. Nevertheless, that also leaves the extra spacious CrewMax four-door crew cab and 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot mattress choices. Entrance and rear headroom are fairly near a crew-cab Ford F-150, however the Ford gives extra legroom in each rows.
Except for the extra rugged TRD Professional, all Tundra hybrid trim ranges intention to be not less than considerably luxurious. Most get customary leather-based seats, whereas the Capstone mannequin will get semi-aniline leather-based upholstery and walnut trim. Nevertheless, even the Capstone had some cheap-looking plastic trim, and it’s onerous to tell apart the totally different luxurious Tundra fashions from one another. Except for coloration palette, the interiors of the Platinum, 1794 (named for the founding yr of the Texas ranch the place Toyota’s truck manufacturing facility is positioned), and Capstone look fairly comparable. You don’t get the sense that you just’re ascending to larger ranges of luxurious as you climb the pricing ladder.
Tech, infotainment, and driver help
All hybrid fashions get a 14.0-inch touchscreen (non-hybrid fashions get a smaller display as customary tools) and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, with wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Tundra is the primary mannequin to get Toyota’s new Audio Multimedia infotainment system, which was developed in the USA and provides options like natural-language voice recognition, cloud-based navigation, Apple Music/Amazon Music integration, and over-the-air updates. A ten.0-inch head-up show can also be accessible.
We had been impressed by the massive touchscreen’s easy and wise menu structure. The clear, easy-to-read graphics didn’t mirror the remainder of the truck’s robust design aesthetic. Plus, a display this huge feels right-sized in such a big automobile. Toyota additionally crammed a formidable quantity of knowledge into the digital instrument cluster whereas nonetheless protecting issues legible.
We had been impressed by the massive touchscreen’s easy and wise menu structure.
Toyota additionally gives some tech designed to make towing simpler. Trailer Again Steerage will mechanically steer whereas backing up with a trailer and supplies information arrows on the touchscreen show so which manner the trailer will flip earlier than you begin shifting. Straight Path Help does primarily the identical factor, however particularly when backing up in a straight line. Like Ford, Toyota additionally gives blind-spot monitoring that may cowl a trailer.
The usual Toyota Security Sense 2.5 package deal consists of forward-collision warning (with pedestrian detection), adaptive cruise management, lane-departure warning, Lane Tracing Help automated lane centering, traffic-sign recognition, computerized excessive beams, and a rear-seat reminder. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optionally available. That covers all of the bases, however Toyota doesn’t supply something to rival the BlueCruise driver-assist system accessible within the Ford F-150.
The hybrid powertrain begins with the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and 10-speed computerized transmission from the usual Tundra. Toyota then provides an electrical motor and clutch throughout the bell housing of the transmission, in addition to a nickel-metal hydride battery pack below the rear seats. That is truly extra just like the configuration utilized by Ford than something from Toyota’s present hybrid catalog. That’s as a result of, not like Toyota’s different hybrid techniques, the i-Power Max prioritizes torque for towing over outright gas economic system. The electrical motor does most of its work solely at speeds beneath 18 mph, in reality. Like the usual Tundra, the hybrid is on the market with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Whole system output is 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, which is greater than you get from the non-hybrid Tundra powertrain. It’s additionally greater than the Ford F-150 hybrid’s 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque, however simply barely. At any charge, it’s greater than sufficient energy for a giant truck. We had been impressed by how simply the Tundra bought up to the mark for freeway merges and the linear really feel of its acceleration. The powertrain made a easy transition from electrical to gasoline propulsion in most conditions, though we did discover a little bit of roughness when rolling on and off the accelerator pedal in stop-and-go site visitors.
Regardless of having “Max” in its title, the i-Power Max isn’t the highest Tundra in the case of towing and hauling. The hybrid’s 11,450-pound most towing capability is spectacular, however rather less than the 12,000 kilos Toyota quotes for the non-hybrid Tundra (in rear-wheel drive SR5 Double Cab type). The Tundra hybrid additionally doesn’t obtain the 1,940-pound payload capability of some non-hybrid Tundra fashions. The Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid, in the meantime, has a slight benefit over the Tundra, with a 12,700-pound towing capability.
The Tundra felt like an previous truck, not one thing recent off the drawing board.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra additionally will get multi-link rear suspension with coil springs rather than the previous mannequin’s leaf springs, a know-how that dates again to the stagecoach. This improves experience high quality with out sacrificing towing capability, in response to Toyota. It additionally allowed Toyota to equip high-end variations of the Tundra with adaptive dampers (for a fair smoother experience) and rear air springs. These might be raised to extend floor clearance, lowered to enhance mattress entry, and self-level to accommodate heavy hundreds.
None of those options made a lot of a distinction within the driving expertise, nonetheless. The Tundra felt like an previous truck, not one thing recent off the drawing board. It bounced uncontrollably over some bumps, whereas others ship shudders via the body and physique. The steering felt too free and imprecise to elicit confidence, and we observed extra wind noise than in different vans — though the Capstone mannequin’s acoustic glass helped with this. A giant pickup isn’t going to experience as easily as a luxurious sedan, however different vans — together with the Ford F-150 — have proven that higher ranges of refinement are doable.
Toyota gives a TRD Off-Highway Package deal, in addition to a devoted TRD Professional off-road mannequin. We drove the latter on a brief course arrange by Toyota and located it fairly succesful. Nevertheless, Toyota’s Crawl Management, which mechanically maintains a set pace in off-road circumstances, didn’t have the smoothest operation. A truck this huge additionally doesn’t depart a lot room for error on slim trails.
Fuel mileage and security
Within the all-important fuel-economy competitors, Toyota estimates 22 mpg mixed (20 mpg metropolis, 24 mpg freeway) with rear-wheel drive and 21 mpg mixed (19 mpg metropolis, 22 mpg freeway) with four-wheel drive (TRD Professional fashions get 20 mpg mixed). The 2022 Ford F-150 hybrid is formally rated at 25 mpg in all three classes with rear-wheel drive and 23 mpg throughout the board with four-wheel drive, so it has a small lead over the Tundra.
These figures additionally symbolize enhancements of only one or two mpg over the non-hybrid Tundra in most classes. It’s an identical story with the F-150, however reveals that towing is the precedence right here, not fuel mileage.
Toyota gives a three-year, 36,000-mile fundamental guarantee and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain guarantee — the identical phrases supplied by Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram on their huge pickups.
Crash-test rankings from the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS) and Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) weren’t accessible on the time of publication. That’s commonplace for redesigned fashions.
How DT would configure this automotive
Selecting a Tundra i-Power Max trim stage is determined by whether or not you intend on going off-road commonly. The TRD Professional mannequin provides a locking rear differential, hill-descent management, terrain-based drive modes, inside bypass shock absorbers, a entrance skid plate, and all-terrain tires, making it the very best Tundra for off-road lovers.
Except you intend on doing leisure off-roading, it’s not likely value paying for these additional options. Equally, we weren’t bought on the Tundra Capstone or 1794 fashions. As a result of each Tundra hybrid will get the 14.0-inch touchscreen, they don’t actually add something by way of tech. Whereas they’re meant to be essentially the most luxurious Tundra fashions, the variations between them and the lower-level Platinum mannequin are largely beauty and don’t justify the value premium.
Nevertheless, we might improve from the bottom Restricted trim stage to the Platinum, as a result of the latter will get leather-based seats and the Trailer Again Steerage and Straight Path Help driver aids as customary tools. We’d additionally test the field for the optionally available 10.0-inch head-up show.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra i-Power Max is an effective truck, but it surely doesn’t advance the state-of-the-art. As a substitute of breaking new floor, Toyota’s first hybrid pickup competently executes concepts we’ve already seen from different truck makers.
From its in-your-face styling to its deal with luxurious trim ranges, the Tundra follows tendencies somewhat than creates them. Toyota’s new infotainment system works nicely sufficient, however the Tundra doesn’t supply any standout tech options opponents don’t have. That additionally goes for the Trailer Again Steerage and Straight Path Help towing aids. They work nicely, however not any higher than Ford’s Professional Trailer Backup Help.
Toyota has extra expertise with hybrids than another automaker, however the i-Power Max powertrain doesn’t surpass Ford’s PowerBoost in towing or gas economic system. The rising crop of electrical vans, just like the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning, may present a greater various to the actually eco-minded, though towing can severely restrict an EV’s vary.
So whereas the Tundra performs its meant operate nicely, it doesn’t stand out from different full-size pickup vans. That might change if the brand new mannequin can match its predecessor’s legendary reliability, but it surely’s too early to inform.
Must you get one?
No. The Tundra i-Power Max has some good qualities, but it surely doesn’t transfer the truck recreation ahead.