When Ford Motor Co. put twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost engines into its best-selling F-150 pickup back in 2011, a lot of auto aficionados, and perhaps even some customers, were not impressed.
But as history has shown, the engine was a surprise hit, and Ford added other EcoBoost engines to its truck lineup.
You can now add another automaker to the list of that generation of engines — on Sunday Toyota Motor unveiled its new 2022 Tundra pickup, featuring a bolder look, upgraded technologies, and yes, the V-8 engine is gone, CNBC reported.
Instead, the Japanese automaker will offer two versions of a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, including a hybrid that can produce up to 437 horsepower — 56 more than the current V-8 — and 583 foot-pounds of torque, a 45% increase than the 2021 Tundra.
That is because it is coupled with a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery nestled under the rear seats, according to sources. That’s more than most diesels, and vastly simpler when it comes to emissions.
“We took a fresh, transformational approach to our truck development and had to rethink many things we’d previously done,” Mike Sweers, senior vice president of Toyota’s product development office, said in a statement.
That power gain should help easily pull the new 12,000-pound towing capacity, or the nearly one-ton maximum payload capacity.
The towing is nearly a ton better than the outgoing model, with the maximum payload jumping a few hundred pounds.
Aside from the new engine, the Tundra offers a far more rugged design than the current pickup: most notably, a massive front grille that takes up a majority of the front of the vehicle. It also features sleeker headlights and a boxier design.
Assembled in San Antonio, Texas, the ‘22 Tundra finally shakes off its dated interior and makes up for lost time with a massive, 14-inch centre-mounted touchscreen, Driving.ca reported.
The big screen offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and several camera views, including inside the bed, on the hitch or down the side, depending on the model.
The pinch-, swipe-, and zoom-enabled monitor is driven by Toyota’s first application of its new “Audio Multimedia System” featuring human-machine interface technology that can interact with the driver through sight, touch, or voice, aided by dual integrated cabin microphones.
Also a first for the Tundra, the truck can now be had in Crewmax (full four-door) configuration with a 6.5-foot box.
Formerly, only a 5.5-foot bed was available on the Crewmax — which keeps its much-lauded power folding rear window. Some models now even offer a full panoramic sunroof. Double-cab models get either a 6.5-foot or 8.1-foot box and a smaller rear window opening.
Not everyone will be happy that the Tundra’s cargo boxes are now composite, made from “sheet-moulded compound” and reinforced with aluminum cross members, much like the Tacoma. But those beds are durable and lightweight, if slippery at times, and a power outlet in the back is available.
The rear box fenders, front doors, and hood of the ‘22 Tundra are now stamped from aluminum, and the cabs on Limited and above get hydraulic cab mounts to improve ride comfort. LED headlights are standard, along with a new double wishbone front suspension with twin-tube front and rear shocks.
TRD Off-Road models get monotube Bilstein shocks.
“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 Toyota’s US design group.
“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.”
Safety tech also comes to the new Tundra, which is almost expected.
Toyota will equip the new Tundra with its Toyota Safety Suite 2.5 as standard issue, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and a rear seat alert.
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts are also standard. You can also add what Toyota calls a Parking Support Brake which implements the brakes to help you from crashing into stationary objects.
Automakers have increasingly started to offer alternative powertrain options ahead of an influx of all-electric pickups in the market in the coming years., CNBC reported.
Ford offers a hybrid F-150 and a standard hybrid on its new small Maverick pickup, while Ram Trucks offers a mild hybrid on its 1500.
“Buyers in general are becoming a little bit more accepting of alternative, powertrains” said IHS Markit principal automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley.
“If the engine and the propulsion system gives you what you need to operate your truck, and do what you need to do with that truck. they’re accepting alternatives to V-8s.”
While the Detroit automakers dominate the full-size pickup truck market in the US, Toyota has achieved some success, consistently selling more than 100,000 of the vehicles each year.
That compares with sales of Ford’s F-Series, which includes the F-150 and larger versions, at around 800,000-900,000 pickups in recent years.
Toyota did not release fuel economy or pricing for the 2022 Tundra, which is expected to go on sale later this year.
The vehicle’s starting pricing currently ranges from about US$34,000 for a base model to US$50,000 for an off-road TRD PRO.
Sources: CNBC, Driving.ca, AutoWeek.com, HypeBeast.com, Toyota Motor Co.