2022 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Platinum Crewmax 6.5 - Review by Bruce Hotchkiss +VIDEO
IS BIG BETTER?
Special Correspondent, West Coast Bureau
THE AUTO CHANNEL
As I was sitting in the 2022 Tundra Platinum 4X4 Crewmax 6.5 in a shopping center parking lot a woman getting into an older Chevy pickup said, "Is that the new Toyota? It's big, I like it." Yeah it's big, about the same size as other pickups but where the heck do you park something like this?
I took a tape measure to a full-size parking space, from side to side between the lines it was 97", and from the curb to the end of the lines it was 198" long. The Tundra is 80.2" wide - that leaves a scant 8.4" on either side. Worse is that even the shortest Tundra at 233.6" (the test Tundra was 245.6") sticks out of the parking space almost a full three feet. I'm not picking on the Tundra, its competition is at least as huge, I'm just getting tired of A) Parking spaces that are too small, and/or B) Pickups and SUVs that are too big.
I'd really like to thank whoever had the Tundra before me for turning off the automatic running boards. It is a long climb up or out of the 4X4 Tundra. With the running boards in the retracted position, I couldn't see them and I didn't see an obvious switch for them. So I did that thing men hate to do, I got out the owner's manual. So much easier to access the interior with an extra step. The power running boards, combined with a power bed step, is an expensive option - $1,350 - but it is two feet from the ground to the cab floor and three feet to the front seat so any help is welcome. Frankly I wouldn't buy a 4X4 pickup without power running boards.
One other function I had to look up in the manual - the rearview mirror. It wasn't a mirror but a video screen that showed what was behind. Some folks may like it, I didn't. It gave me a headache (literally). Looking up the mirror in the manual I found that the switch that I thought was the day/night switch actually changed the mirror from a video screen to a mirror. Headache gone.
Toyota no longer offers a V8 in the Tundra. You get a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6. It is rated at 389 hp @ 5,200 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque @ 2,400 rpm; 2021's 5.7-liter V8 was rated at 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. The automatic transmission is now a 10-speed versus the prior 6-speed. Towing has increased to a maximum of 12,000 lbs. depending on the model. As tested the towing cap is 11,050 lbs.
At least on paper the fuel economy is better with the V6 but not by much. EPA says it will get 17-mpg in the city and 22-mpg on the highway. The fuel economy I saw around town was dismal - 10.3-mpg, the highway figure, with the cruise set at 70 mph, was 20.5-mpg.
One consequence of all the stuff available on today's vehicles is how to operate it. There is no perfect answer. On some vehicles you access stuff through a touch screen. Others, like the Tundra us switches, big and little switches here and there. Hopefully, the switches you might use most often are the bigger ones and easy to find. Hopefully, the little pictographs make sense. But not always.
Some folks may find the monochromatic interior drab. It is all shades of black or dark gray. Personally, I don't like flashy interiors so it suited me just fine. The leather-faced seats should not readily show grime and be easy to clean. The front seats have all the luxury stuff; power adjustments, heating and cooling (boy am I getting spoiled).
Although the Crewmax is a 5-passenger vehicle one look at the center rear seat should let you know it won't be as comfortable as the outer two. Four adults will be very comfy in the Tundra.
Toyota touts its Adaptive Variable Suspension that "adjusts damping force based on ever-changing road conditions... for refined riding comfort..." I'm sorry but I didn't feel refined riding comfort. I didn't go looking for potholes, and here in "sunny" California we don't have Rust-Belt size, swallow a city bus size potholes, but when I hit a sharp bump or hole I thought the impact was harsh. Even crossing a level crossing brought about some secondary shaking. In other words I thought the Tundra rode like a truck.
That little step on the left drops down automatically when you lower the tailgate.
I am always amazed at the utility of modern pickup beds. It used to be the bed was an empty box to be filled with all kinds of stuff. Now it's almost an extension of your home workshop. The test Tundra was fairly basic by today's norms; LED lights, tie-downs, and a 120V/400W AC outlet.
Terms like "half ton" no longer really apply to modern pickup trucks. The Tundra tested had a payload capacity of 1,575 lbs.; the maximum payload for a 2WD is just shy of a ton.
Pickup trucks used to be basic transportation for working folks. They were tough and plain, they were as much a tool as the stuff you put in the bed for your next job. Now a pickup truck, if it is used by someone plying a trade, is the office, workshop, lunch room, transportation, and relaxation spot. Pickups are no longer just for working folks though. They are for everyday transportation, and they make a statement. For some families the 4-door pickups are their only vehicle.
I understand that they make people feel safe, at least those within the pickup. You sit up high and look down on those around you. The massiveness gives a sense of invincibility. This may seem like a strange time to review what is now considered a gas guzzler though. Gas prices are through the roof. There are people out where I live who easily drive 100 miles a day. At the EPA highway economy that's almost thirty bucks a day in gas. Even though I don't drive a gas guzzler I feel your pain.
Trucks are not cheap anymore but then what is? The least expensive Tundra is a Tundra SR @ $35,950. The 2022 Tundra 4X4 Platinum Crewmax 6.5 starts at $60,320. As tested it had $3,404 in options. Add in destination fees, license and registration, taxes, and whatever else the dealer tacks on you are easily over $70,000.
So is big better? I don't think so but it sure does sell.