Toyota counts on V-6, coils for Tundra

Toyota counts on V-6, coils for Tundra

Production began in January for the third-generation, 2022 Toyota Tundra, fully redesigned with interior appeal, and company officials anticipate the first real sales climb in 15 years for the full-sized pickup.

The Tundra’s platform has been expanded into a fully-boxed frame, its rear leaf springs have been traded in for better-riding coils, and its 5.7-liter V-8 engine has been dropped in favor of a turbocharged V-6 or a second choice – a more powerful hybrid V-6.

With opportunity last week for testing the 389-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission (replacing a 6-speed) in deep snow and cold, I was impressed with good 4X4 performance, improved ride and enjoyed the front-view camera as a big help in offroading through brush and over uneven terrain, and particularly helpful in a weedy, narrow turnaround space.

The 2014 Toyota Tundra Double Cab

It was the Tundra Limited Crewmax, the four-door crew cab, with the TRD Off-Road package. A shorter extended cab is known as Double Cab. Toyota does not offer a two-door regular cab. The bed in the review-model pickup is 5-foot-6; other bed lengths are 6-foot-6 and 8-feet.

With its 3.5-liter i-Force Max twin-turbo V-6 hybrid of 437 hp/583 lb.-ft. torque, the Tundra is rated at 12,000 pounds of tow capacity and max payload of 1,940 pounds.

Maximum tow ratings for other light-duty competition are 14,000 pounds for Ford F-150 PowerBoost V-6 hybrid of 430 hp; 13,300 pounds for Chevy Silverado 6.2-liter V-8 of 420 hp; 12,750 pounds for Ram 5.7 V-8 with 48-volt eTorque mild hybrid of 395 hp. Ford, Chevy, Ram also carry higher payloads than the Tundra.

The Tundra’s structural design has been well-accepted, though complaints have been sounded about the large, relatively flat front end and grille.

For all the success of the highly regarded Tacoma compact pickup, Toyota has never gained anywhere near the same wide sales reception with its full-size Tundra. It seems to just nudge past 100,000 sales per year; in fact, last year’s total fell to only 81,000 in the face of serious chip shortage and continued pandemic.

A sharp jump in sales occurred in 2007, when 196,555 Tundras were sold; it slumped, though, with the recession of ’08 and has never approached that level of sales again.

Pushing the Tundra to the $60,000 price level was the TRD Off-Road package ($3,085), which included beefed-up suspension with Bilstein shocks, 20-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, skid plates, mud guards, leather shift knob, aluminum sport pedals and electronically controlled locking rear differential.

Among other options are JBL 12-speaker premium audio for $565, rock rails for $625 and heated leather steering wheel for $150. The Tundra has upgraded its user-friendly infotainment system; voice commands will adjust a number of settings.

The Tundra is built in San Antonio.