CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. — Toyota just rolled out the second half of its 2022 Tundra full-size pickup trucks that promise to make the market sit up and take notice.
The first Tundra in the lineup was the iForce. It was a twin-turbo V6 that made 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. We test drove that truck in San Antonio, Texas.
We came here to test-drive the iForce Max. Toyota has taken that same 3.5-liter V6 engine and bumped it up to 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. It too was mated a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Tundra is all new. It had a new high-strength steel box, aluminum reinforced composite bed, and a fully redesigned multi-link rear suspension replaced the leaf springs of the previous model. The improvements give the Tundra iForce Max a towing capacity of 12,000 lbs. and a payload capacity of 1,940 lbs.
Of course, the new Tundra came with a new interior that was more car-like, including a panoramic roof, heated and cooled front seats, rear sunshade, and a heated steering wheel.
The truck had towing aids, off-road enhancements and an all-new multimedia system that featured wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and over-the-air updates. Two different four-way layouts are available along with three bed lengths: 5.5 feet, 6.5 feet and 8.1 feet.
The iForce Max is a hybrid. It relies on the same twin-turbo V6 platform but features a motor generator with a clutch located within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission.
The motor generator is built in-line to provide additional power that is transferred via the transmission, while the engine start-up, EV driving, electric assist and energy regeneration are solely done via the parallel hybrid components.
Toyota said using the Sport or Sport+ settings under Drive Mode Select, iForce Max makes use of the electric motor’s almost instant responsiveness. Although the electric motor does the bulk of the work at lower speeds, once above 18 mph, the gasoline engine is constantly in operation for excellent performance in the mid- and high-speed range. When in tow/haul mode, the iForce Max system is constantly in operation to provide acceleration and torque for towing needs.
The Toyota Tundra is a lot of truck. We discovered that cruising down Highway 1 near Monterey. It growled down the road. The bulging hood made us feel that there was a lot under it and stepping on the accelerator confirmed it.
Toyota Tundra iForce Max pricing starts at $35,950 and tops out at $73,530. It goes on sale this spring.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.