The new 2022 Toyota Tundra has captivated its fan base and intrigued others with a new approach that’s welcomed in offering a twin-turbo V6 powertrain or a more-powerful iForce MAX hybrid setup on its two top-trims, the TRD Pro and the Tundra Capstone that I had a week to check out.
In an effort to tackle the luxury aspect of the pickup truck in America, Toyota sets out to offer the unique Capstone trim for the redesigned Tundra. Pitting the new Tundra Capstone against the top trims of the Ford F-150 Limited, RAM 1500 Limited, and even the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, some many not be totally convinced that Toyota has brought the goods to trump competition when you consider the premium that you pay for the new Tundra Capstone that starts at $75,225 including the destination charge.
The new 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone only comes in one configuration as a 4×4 crew-cab with a 5.5-foot bed. Powering the Tundra Capstone is the iForce MAX hybrid setup, which features the 3.5-liter (technically rounded down to a 3.4-liter) twin-turbo V6 engine that works with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission with a total system power output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. The power feels substantial, especially in the mid-range where you should have no fault towing up to the max 10,340 pounds or hauling as much as 1,485 pounds for its max payload.
The Tundra Capstone drives a bit more refined than the Tundra Platinum that I reviewed several months back. Although, I attribute some of that refinement to the Capstone trim having more power through its hybrid powertrain over the Tundra Platinum making do with just the twin-turbo V6 engine with 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque.
The hybrid drivetrain is mostly seamless in its transition from the gas engine to the electric motor. The electric motor does take over the propulsion duties but only when you’re not accelerating much as there’s a lot of weight to move around. The system does well for firing up the gas engine when it’s needed without delay and the brakes feel mostly natural for the regen and bite point for the large friction brakes.
Overall, the Tundra Capstone lives up to the luxury-theme being the most luxurious Tundra that has ever graced us. Vehicle control and driver confidence is good in the Tundra Capstone. Driving dynamics still feel rugged as the large 22-inch wheels and tires seem to stiffen up the ride quality a bit and the rear height-adjustable air suspension jounces with an extra reverberation that feels like it upsets the rear when going over larger undulations or rises in the road. Such a characteristic feels out of place for the Capstone’s goal. Otherwise, the Tundra Capstone feels mostly smooth out on the highway with the only other issue I find is the front end tends to have a bit more motion than I would like in its normal and comfort drive modes, which set the adaptive dampers in more relaxed rebound setting. In the Sport S+ drive mode, the dampers feel just right where the body motions of the Tundra Capstone seem to be kept more in check to limit additional unwanted body motions.
I would have liked to see a transfer case that had an automatic all-wheel-drive mode for driving on pavement instead of settling for the two-wheel-drive mode or a full-on four-high and four-low reserved for off-roading only. Most of the Tundra’s competition offers such in their 4×4 models.
From its complete redesign for the 2022 model year, the Toyota Tundra already received many welcomed updates and improvements. The cabin of the new Tundra exhibits a welcoming space with a decent balance of hard plastics and soft-touch surfaces. The Tundra Capstone, being the luxury-themed trim for the new truck, highlights its luxury-theme with added soft-touch areas and many contrasting colors. The overall appeal looks the part of a luxury-themed truck but retains its rugged nature with many hard surfaces.
There are plenty of tech and luxury-themed attributes that set the Capstone trim apart from the rest of the Tundra lineup. The white and black leather-trimmed seats in the new Tundra Capstone are large and comfy with unique contrasting that get heating and ventilation for the front and rear outboard seats. There are also manual sunshades for the rear door windows, a large panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, walnut trim with ambient LED lighting below, a new large 14-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 10-inch color heads-up display, and an illuminated Capstone logo on the passenger side wood trim.
The new infotainment unit in the Tundra, which is normally standard with an 8-inch touchscreen, is a new 14-inch unit in the Capstone trim that brings us the latest Toyota Audio Multimedia system that uses the voice prompt integration that allows the wake word “Hey Toyota” to prompt voice input functions. The system is rather simplistic in its initial design where the large screen real estate is oddly used for just one feature at a time instead of allowing a split screen. Some may like the simple approach and the connectivity of the system feeding its navigation from a cloud-based service that requires the setup of a user profile to truly customize the full array of features and options. The system proves to be responsive and has a short learning curve all with the integration of wireless or USB-connected Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The wireless phone charger is nicely integrated below the array of physical controls for the automatic dual-zone climate system and several vehicle function toggles.
There’s plentiful space in the cabin where the rear seat is almost like a large sofa. Toyota retains its unique full roll-down power rear window. Under the rear seats, there isn’t any additional storage as the area is taken up by the hybrid battery pack in the Tundra Capstone trim.
As a hybrid, the Toyota Tundra Capstone does return respectable fuel economy numbers in the real world, especially if you’re conscious about your throttle inputs paying attention to the clever power meter that can be displayed in the digital gauge cluster or via the color heads-up display. Toyota has done well to provide such a power meter on their hybrid vehicles to reference where you may apply the right amount of throttle to limit gas engine use and take advantage of the reserved battery power.
EPA estimates for the 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone come in at 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.
I noticed a steady 19.2 mpg and as high as 21 mpg in the city taking full advantage of using as much of the battery power as I could without upsetting vehicles behind me. On the highway, I did hit the 22 mpg EPA figure for a while but started to see a slow decline to about 20.9 mpg when all was said and done traveling just above the posted 70 mph speed limit for about 60 miles.
Toyota brings the latest iteration of the Safety Sense suite of active safety features, which combines a rather consistent use of the dynamic radar cruise control system and lane tracing assist functions to assist with steering. There are many other expected active safety features included, such as blind-spot monitors, lane departure warning and mitigation, a trailer back guidance system, and a 360-degree camera system with many helpful angle views including a live bed view that can be pulled up at any time. The digital rearview mirror is also a welcomed feature providing a live high-resolution view from a camera mounted on the power-opening tailgate. Update: The 2022 Toyota Tundra is the only 2022 pickup truck to receive the Top Safety Pick+ Award from from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
There’s a healthy price to pay for the new Toyota Tundra in its top Capstone trim starting at $75,225. The new Tundra Capstone comes as it is with no factory options available, only a long list of accessories and dealer-installed add-ons. The pricing may be a bit of a shocker for some, but hopefully having the expected reliability of a Toyota Tundra coupled with the near-Lexus-like luxury approach to a truck will help justify the premium.