Designed and built in the USA, the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup debuted last year and made an immediate impact on the segment, thanks, in part, to its two new twin-turbo V6 powertrains, with the hybrid version being the most powerful. Already offering a wide array of choices and options, the 2023 Tundra enters the new model year with a new SX Package that provides updates to the appearance, suspension, navigation, multi-media system, and overall construction.
The SX Package is available exclusively on SR5 grades in 4×2 or 4×4. It is offered on Double Cab models with a 6.5-foot bed and CrewMax models with a 5.5-foot bed. The Tundra features bold styling thanks to Dark Gray Metallic 18-inch wheels and by substituting black for body-color trim, including outer door handles and the rear inboard bumper. The Tundra door badges are removed for a minimalist look, while the 4×4 badge on the tailgate gets blacked out (on applicable 4×4 models). Similar treatment can be found inside the cabin, as black accents replace smoked silver for the trim.
The SX Package is available in four exterior colors: White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, and a striking Midnight Black Metallic.
The Tundra offers two impressive new powertrains: a twin-turbo V6 engine and a hybrid twin-turbo V6, with the latter being the most powerful of the two. Both engines team with a 10-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECTi). The new 10-speed features a sequential shift mode, uphill/downhill shift logic, and TOW/HAUL driving modes.
The i-FORCE 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 uses DOHC 24-valve cylinder heads and Dual VVTi systems to yield 389 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque. The most impressive motor in the Tundra lineup is the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain with 437 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and an impressive 583 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 2,400 rpm. This new powerhouse is fuel-efficient, with up to EPA-estimated 20 MPG city/24 MPG highway/22 MPG combined fuel economy ratings, depending on model grade and drivetrain.
The new i-FORCE MAX combines the twin-turbo V6 with a motor-generator with a clutch located within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. The motor-generator provides additional power through the transmission, while the engine start-up, EV driving, electric-assist, and energy regeneration are solely done via the parallel hybrid components. The system employs a proven and reliable 288V sealed Nickel-metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery located under the rear passenger seats.
Although the electric motor does the bulk of the work at lower speeds, once above 18 mph, the gasoline engine remains in constant operation for optimal performance in the mid-and high-speed range. When in TOW/HAUL mode, the i-FORCE MAX system is constantly in operation to provide impressive acceleration and torque for towing needs.
The Toyota has been designed to be effective off-road; standard on Tundra TRD Pro models and 4×4 trucks (equipped with the TRD Off-Road package) are a slew of off-road upgrades. Multi-Terrain Select offers adjustable settings to help control wheel spin on various terrain. CRAWL Control functions as a low-speed, off-road cruise control that allows the driver to focus on steering while it maintains one of five selectable speeds. Downhill Assist Control helps the driver navigate tricky slopes by limiting the vehicle’s speed during descents.
TRD Pro and 4×4 Tundras equipped with the TRD Off-Road package comes standard with an electronically locking rear differential to provide added traction in 4WD Low applications. Multi-Terrain Monitor also comes standard with the Pro and TRD Off-Road 4×4, allowing the driver to check the immediate surroundings for potential obstacles. Pressing a button in the vehicle activates front-, rear- and side-camera views on the center display.
Like the previous generation Toyota Tundra, the new generation introduced last year was designed in the US and is assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) in San Antonio. “Technical muscle” was a design mantra for the team, as it capitalized on the modern features of the all-new truck while retaining a nod to the outdoor lifestyle at the core of Tundra ownership.
Inside Tundra, premium materials were also a must for a truck with a strong pedigree like Tundra’s, especially in high-contact areas. Wrapped armrests, pads across the dash and door, and other areas are employed on most trims.
High-strength steel is employed throughout the chassis to help increase rigidity considerably over the previous generation Tundra, while aluminum is used in key areas to help reduce weight. Frame cross members are more than doubled in size to provide additional reinforcement and rigidity. A new front cross member is used for the steering, which adds rigidity while enhancing the driver’s steering input and handling dynamics. For Limited grade and above, the cab is mounted to the frame with hydraulic mounts to improve ride comfort.
Thanks to the new sheet-molded compound (SMC) construction and aluminum reinforcing cross members, the Tundra’s bed is lightweight and extremely strong. The new SMC bed helps offer added protection against dents, impact dings, and rust compared to traditional steel decks. The tailgate uses lightweight construction techniques to reduce weight by 20% compared to the previous generation and features a power release tailgate controlled from the key fob.
The suspension of the third-generation Tundra has enjoyed significant upgrades, replacing rear leaf springs in favor of a new multi-link rear suspension. The change helps improve ride comfort, straight-line stability, and overall handling dynamics – not to mention it also improves towing capability compared to the previous grade. The maximum towing capacity for Tundra increases 17.6% over the previous generation, to 12,000 pounds. The maximum payload increases to 1,940 pounds, an improvement of more than 11%.
The double-wishbone front suspension enhances ride comfort, driving performance, and overall durability.
For TRD Off-Road packages, Bilstein monotube shocks improve damping for on- and off-highway driving. TRD Pro grades are fitted with 2.5-inch diameter FOX internal bypass shocks for maximum off-road performance. The front FOX shocks provide the truck with a 1.1-inch front lift. The TRD Pro gains additional off-road features, including a new TRD Pro front stabilizer bar, aluminum front skid plate, and additional underbody protection. Red-painted suspension parts add a distinctive TRD design touch.
For the first time, the Tundra is available with a rear air suspension system with automatic and manual leveling functions. Another first for Tundra is the available Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system. Adopted from the luxury-vehicle category, AVS is designed to continually adjust damping force based on ever-changing road conditions, enhancing both ride quality and handling.
Beyond the added chassis strength, the Tundra offers a slew of features to help make towing easier. The available Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) uses cameras to display a top-down view of the truck on the available 14-inch display for added visibility when towing. Views include the rear truck bed to check on cargo, a rear split view to show what’s nearby on each side of the trailer, and a hitch view to assist with trailer connecting.
Available power extending and folding tow mirrors offer an improved view of a trailer, thanks to a taller profile and revised mirror curvature that help enhance the driver’s field of view. The new mirrors are heated and feature integrated turn signals and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) notification. They also house the cameras for the PVM/MTM systems. LED trailering lights on the mirrors are controlled from inside the cabin to provide light rearward toward the trailer when needed.
When connected with Toyota’s integrated trailer brake controller, the Tundra’s available Blind Spot Monitor can recognize blind spots for both the truck and the trailer. The available new air suspension system offers the ability to load-level the rear height to achieve the right balance between truck and trailer.
The latest Toyota Audio Multimedia boasts five times greater processing power than the previous generation system. The comprehensive system features a centrally located standard 8-inch touchscreen or an available 14-inch touchscreen with enhanced resolution for high-quality, crisp visuals. It also includes more responsive touch functionality familiar to consumers, including the pinch and zoom functions used on phones and tablets.
The cloud-based native navigation system offers real-time Over the Air (OTA) updates for mapping and Points of Interest (POIs) and integrates Google POI data for the up-to-date search capability. The new navigation system allows drivers and passengers to use the voice-activated commands or the touchscreen to search for directions, find points of interest or explore local businesses.Aside from vehicle diagnostics, the new displays also provide access to safety features, navigation, audio controls, off-road features, and towing functions.
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