2022 Toyota Tundra Gets A Powerful Hybrid Engine And Ultra Luxury Trim

2022 Toyota Tundra Gets A Powerful Hybrid Engine And Ultra Luxury Trim

If you’re looking for two dominant trends in the automotive world, consider both electrification and luxury — as in using electric motors (either wholly or partially) to power a vehicle, and adding luxury features or trim levels to enhance the premium quotient (and price) of a vehicle. These trends have played an increasing role in the new vehicle market over the past 10 years, and if you’re looking for the latest example, look no further than the 2022 Toyota Tundra. We’ve already reported an the all-new Toyota Tundra, twice, but if you need to catch up see our Preview article and our First Drive article.

All caught up? Good, because there’s breaking news for the new Toyota Tundra in the form of its just-announced “Capstone” luxury trim level, which represents Toyota’s most aggressive luxury offering yet for the Tundra. This trim even outranks the “1794” model as the highest lux (and highest cost) version. But have no fear 1794 fans, your model will remain in the line up, and even retain a few advantage over Capstone (more on that in a moment).

With a Capstone trim starting price of $75,225 (including the Tundra’s $1,695 destination charge), it’s clear Toyota is ready to “cash in” on the premium truck market its watched Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, and Ram harvest for several years. But those companies didn’t just slap extra chrome on the outside and cover the seats in leather to earn their premium pickup status. They had to create a fully-integrated package to justify the substantial price hikes seen on their high-lux trims. For Tundra to go after that same premium truck buyer it needs its own array of premium features, brought together in a compelling presentation.

The new Tundra Capstone trim answers the full-size luxury truck question with an array of features, starting with Toyota’s iForce Max hybrid drivetrain as the standard engine. The iForce Max hybrid uses a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine mated to an electric motor-generator and 240-cell NiMN battery pack under the rear seat. This combination produces a total of 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. Toyota tuned this engine to deliver its max torque at just 2,400 rpm while also “filling in” the torque drop-off that occurs in every internal combustion engine at the low and high side of its operating range.

The result is responsive and powerful forward thrust throughout the engine’s powerband. Combined with the Tundra’s standard 10-speed automatic transmission, this drivetrain endows the truck with rapid acceleration, exceptional towing capacity (up to 12,000 pounds), and a strong payload rating (up to 1,940 pounds). The iForce Max even offers a V8-like rumble we weren’t expecting. However, this hybrid drivetrain’s focus on torque seems to have impacted fuel efficiency. Toyota expects EPA ratings of 20 city mpg, 24 highway mpg and 22 mixed mpg for two-wheel-drive Tundras, even though hybrids typically get better city (versus highway) mpg ratings.

Because every Capstone version of the Tundra is configured as a CrewMax 4×4 truck, they get slightly lower mpg ratings of 19 city, 22 highway and 21 mpg mixed. The Tundra’s CrewMax cab features four full-sized doors and two rows of roomy seats, along with either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed (Capstone only comes with the shorter bed length). Other standard Capstone items include body-colored grille and bumper trim contrasted with chrome inserts and a mesh grille. Capstone is also the first Tundra to feature 22-inch wheels, in dark chrome, plus power-deployable running boards as standard equipment.

Sliding inside the new Capstone trim reveals a truly plush cabin swathed in black-and-white semi-aniline leather and walnut wood interior trim. A panoramic sunroof, acoustic side glass, a 14-inch central touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10-inch full color head-up display are also standard on the Capstone trim. Buyers can add a few options, including the Tundra’s adaptive variable (active) suspension and its load-leveling rear air suspension. But off-road enthusiasts will want to skip the Capstone trim, which can’t be had with a locking rear differential or the Tundra’s “Crawl Control” technology that modulates speed when scaling obstacles. Buyers seeking those features, plus maximum luxury, will want to go with a 1794 Tundra.

Toyota expects the Capstone trim to represent 5 percent of total Tundra sales, which makes it a tiny fraction of the model line. But as the domestic automakers have discovered, profit margin on these premium trims can be substantial, and the halo effect of offering such a high-end pickup benefits the entire line. For buyers seeking a more affordable version of that powerful new iForce Max hybrid drivetrain, a Tundra 4×2 Limited Crewmax model starts at just $53,995 (including destination charge).