Forget the stupidly priced Capstone. This is the Tundra you want
Words and photos by Mitchell Weitzman
2022 Toyota Tundra Platinum review by The Road Beat
What is it?
Platinum might be one of the most valuable precious metals in the world, but the Platinum Tundra is now mid-grade when it comes to pricing in Toyota's new Tundra lineup. This is the second Toyota Tundra I've tested (after the range-topping Capstone) and easily the better of the bunch. It has all the luxury you could want from a truck, and on par with the Capstone, but it costs $10,000 less. There are a few features (that you don't need) that it forgoes, but it's overall the best new Tundra you can buy. If you want a Tundra, that is; competition is fierce.
Toyota's new Tundra drives impressively for a vehicle of such magnitude. Although it's technically a light-duty truck on paper, it's the size of older heavy-duty diesels. Despite that, the steering is accurate and not completely dead. Highway cruising is no problem with almost no wandering, and the ride quality smooths out at speed (can be choppy over bumps at slow velocities). Turn it into some turns aggressively, like the Eureka Rd freeway exit in Roseville, and grip might not be high with the tires giving a deliverance-style squeal, but the balance isn't completely out of whack for a giant pickup truck. Consider me impressed. Throw some Pilot Super Sports on there and let's see what it can really do!
The cabin is fashioned from lots of cushy leather wrapping the seats with many pleasing soft touch points. A giant screen dominates the view ahead, though there are some sharp and cheap plastics still randomly spread out that disappoint and contrast the velvety hide. The screen is simple enough to use, but I don't particularly like the graphics and the colors can be harsh at times. Space inside reflects the exterior dimensions: huge; Passengers in the rear seats looked like they were in the back of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class instead. As far as comfort, nobody had complaints.
Unlike the Capstone, this did not have the optional hybrid V6, being 3.4-liter twin-turbo with no outside assistance. And, as expected, it's clearly the superior engine option. Output might be down, producing 389 horsepower and 479 foot=-pounds of torque. The hybrid, conversely, makes 437horses and 583 torques. You'd think there'd be a big difference, right? Nope. 0-60 MPH is only a couple tenths slower at 6 seconds (vs 5.8), and in the real world, there is literally no difference. I was so disappointed with the hybrid Tundra because it never gave any immediate shove, instead falling victim to turbo lag and an unaggressive transmission. Well, the lag is still there, but it's no worse. And I somehow averaged 17 MPG, which is 1 MPG better than the hybrid. Huh? Yeah, the hybrid 'MAX' engine option is not worth it, especially when costs over $3,000 more. Yikes. The V6 is very smooth at least, too.
Where it lags
This is a cheaper truck than a Capstone, but it's still expensive at an eye-watering $65,419. Yes, other rivals can be more expensive, but comparable trims can also be less. $65,000 can buy you the amazing Ram 1500 Laramie, the best driving truck on sale today and with a gorgeous interior. Plus, V8. It's really, really difficult to top today's Ram 1500s for value when they also happen to be the best driving truck in the class and also have gorgeous interiors. The Tundra Platinum's price does undercut that of premium GMC Sierras and Ford F-150s at least, which really goes to show how damn expensive trucks are these days.
The storage cubby remains awkward to open and close, and below the screen are a row of buttons and switches, the top half being up/down rockers, and below are hard buttons. It's confusing because at first it seems up would be for the top label, and down for the bottom label. Why have two completely different operation-styles for such clustered buttons? I also found myself adjusting the volume knob countless times instead of the temperature that I meant; the layout is slightly, er, dumbfounding. And none of these feel particularly nice to use, not great in a vehicle this expensive. The built-in touchscreen has navigation, but it requires a subscription to use? Taking a page from BMW, Toyota. Luckily, you can use your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in its place.
Throttle response from a dead stop is considerably poor as well. I found the Tundra constantly lurching when pulling away because the first bits of pedal travel result in nothing momentarily, and then it decides to randomly surge once it clears its conscience. Other turbocharged cars have displayed this recently and it’s a real problem - it makes smooth driving difficult! Why can't a new vehicle have a smooth and linear throttle response? I shouldn't have to "wait for it," that's just bad engineering.
Despite achieving improved gas mileage over the outgoing V8 model, other rival pickups can achieve the same efficiency with their V8s as this can. Given the choice of a turbo V6 or a V8 in a pickup truck, I'd want the V8, and it's hard arguing against the sweet-singing 6.2L V8 that GM offers in the Sierra and Silverado. And the towing capacity in this Tundra might be similarly, marginally improved over the old, it doesn't top domestic rivals, with tow capacities around 1,000 pounds less. According to Toyota, this configuration can pull 10,890, which is mighty, but there are mightier.
A middle of the road truck
By all accounts, the new Tundra is a significant upgrade over the old model. The cabin represents a huge upgrade, it drives nice and it's comfortable, and the economy is only bad now instead of torrentially dreadful. However, it doesn't lead the crowded truck pack in any one segment, just catching up rather than trend-setting. The old Tundra had an ace up its sleeve in that it was considerably cheaper than domestic trucks as the years went on. That is not the case anymore, with pricing that can be painful at times for a product that has too many compromises. It's not a bad truck, it's just that others are so so good now. Still, this remains the top Tundra for now.
2022 Toyota Tundra Platinum CrewMax 4x4
As-tested price: $65,419
Pros: Improved interior; performance and MPG match the expensive hybrid option
Cons: Expensive; not class-leading in any one area
Verdict: The best Tundra, but not the best light-duty truck