Now entering its third generation, the 2022 Toyota Tundra joins the Ram 1500 and the new Ford F-150 Raptor in ditching its rear leaf springs and suspending its live rear axle with links and coil or air springs. The new truck’s three-wheelbase, ladder-frame chassis (one more length than in 2021 to support a choice of bed lengths with each cab design) will now support six distinctly different suspension systems, including three developed by Toyota Racing Development (TRD). Here’s the rundown on these six suspension systems.
All 2022 Toyota Tundra models get a fully boxed frame that’s 10 percent lighter but 20 percent more rigid, thanks to the use of “Dejima” laser-welded tailored blanks that make the frame rails thicker in the places where strength is needed and thinner in the places where it’s not. All Tundras get steel front coil springs, and they all share an identical solid rear anti-roll bar. Base models use single-rate front and rear coil springs and Tokico-brand twin-tube shock absorbers. The spring and damping rates are tailored to suit the equipment level and mass of the given truck. Brakes don’t vary at all between suspension setups, and depending on model and options, all Tundras get 8.0-inch-wide wheels measuring 18 or 20 inches in diameter.
Base Suspension With Rear Air Springs
The base suspension can be upgraded with Toyota’s “Load-leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension” package on the SR5 and Limited models. In addition to load leveling, the Aisin system offers the option of manually lowering the rear of the truck by 1.2 inches to ease loading or while attaching a trailer. It can also be raised by 1.6 inches to improve the departure angle or clear an obstacle. Why not offer air springs all around as Ram does? Toyota determined that the primary benefit of four-wheel air suspension was the ability to lower the truck at highway speeds for improved aerodynamics and fuel economy. But there are only so many development dollars to go around, and because hybrids are a core Toyota brand attribute, the expense was invested in the i-Force Max hybrid powertrain instead.
Available only on SR5 models—RWD or 4WD—the TRD Sport package fits unique single-rate coil springs all around to lower the truck by 0.5 inch. The base suspension’s Tokico twin-tube shocks are replaced by Bilstein monotubes tuned to optimize body control in dynamic maneuvers on pavement. So don’t pick this variant if the “sport” you’re interested in involves Baja running. The SR5 TRD Sport gets 265/60 tires on 8.0-by-20-inch wheels but shares its anti-roll bars with all other Tundras, save the TRD Pro.
SR5, Limited, and 1794 models can be optimized for more aggressive trail running by ordering the TRD Off-Road package. Like the TRD Sport, it gets Bilstein monotube shocks with a larger 1.8-inch diameter (as compared with 1.3 inches on the twin-tube shocks) that allows them to flow much more fluid during the sharpest impacts while remaining cooler, even without external reservoirs. They are tuned to prioritize keeping the body level during high-speed off-road running.
Pursuant to that same goal, the front coil springs are upgraded to a dual-rate design that stiffens up about 30 percent in the last 30 percent of front suspension travel to prevent bottoming out. In keeping with Toyota’s pre-runner tradition, the TRD Off-Road package can be ordered on rear-drive SR5 or Limited models. The package also comes bundled with Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) when ordered on 4WD models. This includes Crawl Control (a sort of off-road cruise control) and Downhill Assist Control. All TRD Off-Road models also get badging, skidplates, mud guards, and a TRD leather-wrapped shift knob.
Adaptive Variable Suspension
Customers desiring the creamiest, best-controlled on-road ride will want to order a Platinum or 1794 model equipped with the optional Advance package. This includes the load-leveling rear air suspension, adaptive dampers, and a 10.0-inch color head-up display. The damping system is akin to those of the same name used on Lexus products and on the Toyota Avalon sedan. It features dampers developed by Hitachi and Aisin that feature solenoid-controlled valves that vary the damping by moving a piston in and out to change the size of orifices the shock absorber oil flows through. Damping can be revised as fast as every 20 milliseconds in response to myriad sensors, including several monitoring g forces at each corner.
At the top of the lineup is the off-road-optimized Tundra TRD Pro, a stand-alone model variant that gets unique, red-painted dual-rate front coil-over springs that raise the front of the truck 1.1 inches to provide even more travel before the springs stiffen up in the last inches of jounce. The shocks get a major upgrade to Fox internal-bypass remote-reservoir units with 2.5-inch-diameter monotube bodies. These big shocks stay way cooler when storming through the desert. The most visible suspension upgrade is a big hollow front anti-roll bar, also painted red, that’s about 20 percent stiffer than the standard solid bar.
Knobby P285/65 (33-inch tall) Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires are wrapped around 8.0-by-18-inch forged black BBS wheels that increase the front and rear tracks by an inch. Be aware that modified steering rack stops required for the bigger tires add almost a foot to the TRD Pro’s curb-to-curb turning circle diameter (now 49.8 feet), and fender flares to cover the rubber widen the body by 1.4 inches, to 81.6 total. (That’s not enough to require clearance lights, but Toyota includes them anyway to emulate Raptors and TRXs.) There’s a big aluminum front skidplate plus “Xply Armor” high-strength protection for the engine, fuel tank, and transfer case.
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