CAN”T BLAME BIGGEST CARMAKER FOR TRYING BIG RIG: Full size North American market half ton pickup trucks are uniquely suited to the continent’s enigmatic wide open spaces and largess living (including low taxed fuel). With Big Rig proportions mythical outside these shores and loyalty to the heritage domestic Big Three light truck makers running as long as the Old Man Mississippi, foreign brands are already at a big disadvantage in securing a beachhold and market penetration has always remained a distant runner up.
Yet Toyota can throw a lot of marketing money around, sponsors lots of U.S. motorsports and counts on loyalists to their number one position in passenger vehicle in the U.S. to translate into truck recognition. Could it be that building their Big Rig in the heart of pickup country, Ole San Anton’, resonates out there? Nah. It’s simply about stubborness, prestige and because they can that an all new third generation Tundra full size pickup has come to fruition after a 15 year stagnancy.
All the more mystifying, then, that the automaker known for pioneering this trick fuel saving technology has kept it from their laggy fuel economy pickup trucks, ceding that spot to the Blue Oval. That all changes now with the launch of a re-revolutionary, greener all new 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewMax iMax 4×4.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
WHAT: 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewCab Hybrid 4×4. Among half-ton Toyota pickups, the Tundra name spans more than twenty years, but this year brings out merely the third fully new generation. The new XK70 Tundra replaces the XK60 which launched in 2006! While so many Toyota models are segment best sellers, Tundra has always played a distant fourth to the tightly competitive American Big Three light truck makers. To put it kindly this re-design, with an increase in competitive features previously absent, has been long overdue.
Standard Powertrain: iForce V35A-FTS intercooled twin-turbocharged 3.5L DOHC 24V DI gas V-6 w/ idle Start/ Stop = 348 to 389 hp / 405 to 479 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm + 10-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transmission + (AVAILABLE) 2-speed electronic transfer case 1.00 : 2.64 4-wheel drive to an open front & 3:31:1 ratio E-limited slip rear differentials + ATRAC 4-wheel drive traction control.
Optional Hybrid Powertrain*: iForce Max intercooled twin-turbocharged 3.5L DOHC 24V DI gas V-6 w/ idle Start/ Stop = 389 hp / 479 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm + 10-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transmission + 2-speed automatic w/ electronic transfer case 1.00 : 2.64 4-wheel drive to an open front & 3:31:1 ratio E-limited slip rear differentials + ATRAC 4-wheel drive traction control.(* Standard on Tundra Capstone)
Supplemented By: 1 parallel hybrid x 650 V AC synchronous pole permanent magnet electric motor, located between engine and transmission; MG 2 = 48 hp (36 kW), 184 lb-ft, 1.86 kWh 288V, Nickel Metal Hydride battery (beneath cargo bed).
NET Hybrid Power Rating = 437 hp / 583 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: A redesigned Toyota Tundra now comes along once in a human [rather than automotive] generation. The previous XK60 series was also dinged for being a bit curvy and lacking aggression in detail. For the current leading belle of the elegant full size American pickup truck ball look to none other than the chrome -y 5th generation RAM 1500s Limited. As if reacting merely to complaints about its predecessor, the 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone‘s instead aspires towards a more aggressive stance with substantially more pronounced fenders and hips finding. Moreover the grille has gone virtually Lexus ginormous. A mammoth extra wide & tall trapezoid upper section has 8 chrome lateral bars separated by dark honeycomb. It rests upon a upward cantilevered matte metallic bar emblazoned with “TUNDRA” and flanked by twin off-road LED lights, underscored by a darkened bash plate. Nose detail is flanked by a jutting corner chin,while lights are a lateral boomerang type. The hood has a tandem creased center valley with twin darkened “iFORCEMAX” vent caps near the windshield.
The beltline descends from the windshield rising to a slight kink at the C-pillar. The lower body cheatline valley is filled by an matter metallic lateral hockey stick with “CAPSTONE” framed in black. Door handles, lower window framing, and sail panel mount wing mirror caps are all satin metallic banded. The body colored roof spills over the edges smoothly (with rain gutters inboards). Combined with fully darkened windshield framing and A+B pillars the result is a mysterious sensuous modern floating clamshell over uninterrupted glass effect. At the rear of the roof, water channels, CHML as well as box upper borders are trimmed in dark, which contrasts with the tested Wind Chill Pearl finish.
The cargo box saddles feature a stretched inverted “U” valley, tracing the wheel arch flaring. The top of the tailgate is flared creating a spoiler. The tailgate handle is sassy in chrome, while the vertical forward opening boomerang corner taillamps have a tri-segment sequential action. The bumper is finished in satin metallic while the top and mid section license plate valley and trailer connections are darkened.
WHY: Toyota finally does a Lexus level pickup truck.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since winter 2021 – 2022
WHERE: Toyota new consumer truck dealers
WHERE MADE: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
WHERE TO: High four-wheel drive on the fly is but a twist of the electronic two-speed helical gear transfer case selector knob. Where improved roadway ends, the air-suspension provides about an inch greater wheel articulation while light truck knobby Bridgestone Dueler highway terrains grip the terrain.
- +1 Drive modes x 6; ♦ Comfort, ♦ Eco, ♦ Normal ♦ Sport, ♦ Sport Plus, ♦ Custom
HOW STRONG: The new iForce Max twin turbo V-6 has it all over the XV60 Tundra’s 5.7 twin cam V-8 in terms of low end torque and top end power. Under hard throttle the electric motor supplements to offset any turbo lag, with some diesel like thrust. Thanks to weight kept in check, through aluminum apertures and body panels, there is admirable briskness without drama. While rolling at highway speeds press into the throttle and the broad ratio spread of the four gear wealthier 10-speed slushbox provides 2022 Tundra Capstone with an impressive escape move and a more emphatic subdued growl than the old V-8 ever made. A powertrain this creamy and strong is so luxury flagship worthy that a non electric hybridized version of this sits under the bonnet of the latest Lexus LX 600 flagship SUV.
HOW LIMBER: The 2022 Tundra is only the second among North American full pickups (after the current RAM) to ditch rear leaf springs for coils. The swap facilitated locating the inverted dampers outboard from the upper connecting links. Those rear coils happen to be progressive rate, higher at the end of travel. Even without the optional load leveling rear air springs, and given its 22″ wheels, the new Toyota Tundra Capstone gives a RAM Limited a run for the money in settled, civilized, minimal tramp ride, while lagging a bit in roll resistance. Double wishbone links up front optimize tracking for swifter turn-in, though it must be reported that the helm is oblivious to road feel. Brakes measure beefy but the feet have pressed firmer pedals.
HOW FAR: 18 mpg combined fuel economy; 708 miles highway range running 87 AKI unleaded fuel.
- observed combined fuel economy = – 10% vs. Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid V-6 ; = + 15% vs. iForce twin-cam 5.7L V-8 w/ 6-speed automatic XV60 Tundra CrewMax
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ Big as a small prefab cabin; √ Holds five big grown-ups wearing their Carharrt and Tony Lamas;
HOW USEFUL: √ 5′ feet, 5″ inches short bed; √ Power sliding backlight window; √ Box Link J-Channel sliding cleats; √ Composite bed liner; √ Wide full cab length power deploying running boards; √ Folding extendable tow, lower convex wing mirrors; √ Power tailgate hinges; √ White LED overhead bed & under-rail lights ; √ 60:40 split 2nd Row bench w/ fold-up cushions, fold-down backs; √ 1st Row full fore center console deep storage management & saddle pockets; √ 1st & 2nd Row door pocket management.
- -1 No sub 2nd Row seat storage, due to NiMH battery pack
- No V2L cargo bed power supply
- No split liftgate or extending tailgate extension step (deployable driver’s side corner step included)
- No center console work table
- 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone Hybrid 4×4: √ Tow Rating (at tongue) = 10,340 lbs. (3.31:1 rear axle ratio, Max towing pkg.) ; √ Payload Rating = 1485 lbs. (down from 1605 lbs. in Limited 4×4); √ Tow mode w/ trailer brake settings
HOW SAFE: IIHS 2022 MY Top Safety Pick Plus; STANDARD: √ 8 airbags; √ Rear camera w/ predictive grid; √ Audible rear park assist; √ Roll mitigation;
Toyota Safety Sense P 2.5 (STANDARD): √ Rear camera; √ STANDARD Toyota SafetySense 2.0 = √ Pedestrian detection braking; √ Forward collision avoidance braking; √ Lane Departure Warning, Keep Assist w/ Trace Control; √ Partial adaptive cruise control; √ Automatic high beam LED headlamps; √ 2nd Row occupant minder
AVAILABLE Safety Features (included on Capstone trim vehicles):
√ ♦ Full adaptive cruise control; ♦ 360° surround camera view Perimeter Scan w/ park assist; ♦ Heads Up Display; ♦ Video feed rear view mirror; ♦ Steer adaptive mulit-LED headlamps; ♦ Rain sensing intermittent windshield wipers; ♦ Trailer straight line back-up guidance grid.
HOW FRIENDLY: Roadblazing.com editors know it has been asserted before that if There has been considerable evolution in automotive cabin design and technology evolution in the decade since the previous full size Toyota half ton pickup’s inception. And has been assserted “supra,” were Lexus to offer an elegant half-ton pickup truck, the 2022 Tundra would fill the post rather well. However, does the 2022 Toyota Tundra better the latest RAM 1500, the current standard for premium truck accommodations? Not quite, though not for lack of trying.
The atmosphere is absolutely more car lounge like than rugged work machine, where easy on the eyes wall to wall pliable materials dominate, an abundance convenience luxuries spoils, control groupings remain mostly intuitive with light touches, some panels, a few lids seem sourced from Lexii, and the latest in super tablet media displays makes a splash. Naturally with the Capstone being the apogee of the line, leather hides have that aniline satin finish and one would be hard pressed to find a panel lacking some contrast tandem stitching. Still, some panel gaps are obvious, some switches, particularly on the steering wheel spokes, seem rudimentary, the gauge cluster is less variable than others in the class, the hides don’t emit a rustic tannery scent, it falls short in nuance on overall pizzazz, and the enormous pod attached landscape infotainment tablet lacks the refined appearance, layout and integration of the gorgeous U-Connect 5 in the RAM.
√ Leather seating, heated & cooled front, 14-way power w/ driver’s 2-setting memory; √ Heated + cooled Row 2 seats √ Power folding heated side mirrors; √ 4 Pillar grab handles; √ Dual analog gauge cluster flanking colorized multi-function LCD display; √ Heated power tilt/ telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel w/ horizontal spoke ventral side MFI & driver assist controls & dorsal side audio switches; √ Power adjusting pedals; √ 2-zone auto climate control; √ Tandem contrast stitched soft-touch upper dash-top & door elbow panels; √ Panorama moonroof, power sliding front pane.
+1 Cool Gizmo(s): Monster 14.0″ tablet pod mount multi-media screen.
Details Done Right: √ Semi-aniline leather seating; √ Partly tailored tucked seam, contrast stitched leatherette console, dashboard & doors; √ Dense pile carpet; √ Cherry wood door, console & dashboard appliques; √ Micro suede headliner; √ Blue ambient cabin night illumination w/ “CAPSTONE” dashboard lettering illuminated
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Hard plastic finished pillars w/ scant grab bar leather wrapping; Coarse grain below waist-height, pillar, aft cabin wall plastic cabin trim; Steering wheel spoke controls lack tactile distinctiveness; Non-fluid door and secondary switch action; Cheezy faux metal door speaker grilles.
- +1 Little road noise in cabin
- +1 Work related controls work glove handed operational
- -1 Hard dark large grain plastics dominate below the belt
- -1 Industrial looking and feeling switchgear
- -1 Some interior rattles, some wind noise at speed
HOW CONNECTED: √ Toyota Connected center dash tablet 14.0″-inch landscape oriented, capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen (replaces base model 8.0″ touch screen); √ Drive Connect “Hey Toyota” system voice interaction; √ Bluetooth hands-free communications x 2 phones; √ GPS HDD cloud Navigation w/ 3-D map, voice guidance, Google POI data, OTA updates; √ SMS voice to text messaging; √ Wireless Android Auto / Apple CarPlay phone projection; √ USB-A x 2, USB-C x 2, 12V x 1 120V AC x 2, 400W ( 2nd Row, cargo box); √ Qi inductive wireless device charging pad x 2 devices
- +1 New Toyota Connected infotainment user interface enhances intuitive voice command functions; Bluetooth handsfree connection for two phones simultaneously
- +/- When is a tablet style infotainment screen too large?
- -1 Non-concealed forward center console wireless device storage
HOW ENTERTAINING: √ 12-speaker, 1200 watt, 12-channel JBL Quantum-Logic DTS w/ Clari-Fi audio powerful but booms the bass notes
HOW “APP” -LICABLE:
√ wireless Android Auto / Apple Car Play smart phone projection; √ Toyota Apps
By Subscription: √ Sirius XM Traffic, Metro Weather radio & TravelLink apps (5 yrs. included); √ Wi-Fi hot spot (by Verizon Wireless)
HOW MUCH: $65,256 for a 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewCab Hybrid 4×4
WHAT’S MISSING: The load versatility of the competition and the cockpit of the fifth generation RAM 1500 possesses.
FINAL SAY-SO: If Lexus ever desired to offer a pickup truck….
(Contributing Editor: T. Paluch)