On a recent visit to Toyota's truck plant in San Antonio, Texas, we were surprised by how many full-size Detroit-bred pickups filled the employee parking lots. It illustrated the extent to which Toyota's own full-sizer, the 15-year-old second-gen Tundra, had become uncompetitive. The completely new 2022 Tundra aims to win back buyers, with or without an employee discount. But does it have what it takes to dent the market penetration of America's perennial bestselling vehicle from Ford or Ram's multiple Truck of the Year winner?
It's worth noting Toyota has never sought to counter every powertrain, cab/ box combo, or price point the Detroit automakers offer, choosing instead to target the heart of the retail market. For 2022, however, the Tundra adds a second powertrain option and a third wheelbase that allows both its shorty Double Cab and its CrewMax to be had with a choice of beds-6.5- or 8.0-foot on the former, 5.5and now 6.5-foot on the latter.
The Tundra's entry powerplant, the 3,445cc twin-turbo i-Force V-6, makes 348 hp and 405 lb-ft in the entry-level SR; a 389-hp, 479-lb-ft version is standard on all other trims. Those numbers stack up well to Ford's twin-turbo EcoBoost engines: The 2.7-liter Blue Oval V-6 is down 23 horses and 5 lb-ft on the SR's engine, while the larger 3.5-liter EcoBoost makes 11 more hp but 69 fewer lb-ft of torque than the stronger Toyota V-6.
The Tundra also is available with a beefy 48-hp/184-lb-ft permanent-magnet electric motor between the V-6 and 10-speed automatic. This i-Force Max hybrid setup is good for 437 hp and 583 lb-ft, 7 hp and 13 lb-ft more than Ford's PowerBoost hybrid.
The 10-speed automatic helps either engine achieve smooth, competitive acceleration, while the i-Force Max manages extra-smooth auto-stop restarts by launching the truck on electric power as it refires the engine. The electric torque, which gets multiplied through the torque converter, is particularly helpful when stepping off with a heavy load-as when pulling a boat out of the water.
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