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Model Showcase: 2022 Toyota Tundra

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Sept. 23, 2021—Toyota is gunning for that F-150 audience with its latest iteration of the full-sized Tundra pickup.

The company hopes to take on Ford's best-selling truck with impressive power numbers and hybrid option that boosts horsepower over the internal combustion option. The latter is a twin-turbo V6, while the hybrid adds nearly 50 hp.

Repairers should take note that this is a substantially revamped model. Toyota says that updates have been made to the frame, including an aluminum-reinforced composite bed and a redesigned multi-link rear suspension. Much work was also made in the design choices.

“Our design goal from the beginning was to create the most powerful, rugged and sophisticated looking full-size pickup that will take Tundra to a whole new level,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty Design Research, in a Toyota press release. “Because recreation and an outdoor lifestyle are at the core of Toyota truck identity, we set out to create a muscular, chiseled and athletic design that also looks like it could handle the toughest towing demands.”

Two New Powertrains

The standard internal combustion engine option is a twin turbo, 3.5-liter V6 that makes 389 hp. It features a 24-valve, dual overhead cam design with chain timing and dual variable valve timing intelligence (VVTi), according to the company. 

Toyota dives into a lot of details on the engine design in its press release, and much of it is in the name of keeping parts cool. One interesting part to highlight is the cylinder heads that have machined cross-channels "that allow coolant to flow through them laterally" to provide additional cooling to the combustion chambers.

The hybrid option has auto journalists talking. For one, it improves the horsepower rating to 437 and has a torque rating of 583 lb.-ft.

Added onto the same V6 twin turbo is the electric motor. Let's let Toyota describe the design in detail:

"...a motor generator with a clutch located within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. In essence, the motor generator is built in-line to provide additional power that is transferred efficiently via the transmission, while the engine start-up, EV driving, electric assist and energy regeneration are solely done via the parallel hybrid components."

The hybrid system includes a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery under that passenger seats.

Redesigned Rear End

Getting back to the frame redesign that was mentioned at the top of the story, Toyota says that the rear frame member is a bit wider than previous models. Limited and above trims include hydraulic cab mounts.

The chassis is high-strength steel "throughout" with aluminum in "key areas" to reduce weight. Frame crossmembers have more than doubled in size over previous models. The front crossmember was designed specifically for the steering gear box.

Toyota went into lots of detail on the new suspension design as well. The rear multi-link suspension and frame design allowed Toyota to adjust its shock absorber placement, which the company says improves performance.

 The system also incorporates a new air suspension system in the rear. It has automatic and manual leveling functions. One driving example is that it can be set to "high" for low-speed, offroad driving, and it will return to normal height as the truck exceeds 18 mph.

Image: Toyota

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