New full-size pickup truck

The 2022 Toyota Tundra is worth the wait

The Tundra is all-new for 2022.

Toyota

Toyota is proud of the makeover of its full-sized truck—and should be. This Japanese automaker with its American headquarters in Plano, Texas is building the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra at its assembly plant in San Antonio, TX, and has remade the pickup for an American market that has a vociferous appetite for full-size trucks. This segment of the market is so competitive and the Tundra "redo" is so significant that Toyota invited a large cadre of the automotive press to a "deep dive" first to learn more from its designers, engineers, marketers and other truck experts before the recently-held drive program and tour of its factory in San Antonio.

2022 Toyota TundraThe Tundra gets two new powertrains and a load of new tech. Toyota

The third-generation pickup has been redesigned from the ground up in Toyota's California design studio, in Michigan's engineering and technical facility and at the company's Arizona proving grounds. "We took a fresh, transformational approach to our truck development and had to rethink many things we'd previously done," said Mike Sweers, Senior Vice President, Product Development Office, and F1 Platform Chief Engineer. "Not only did we improve the performance and enhance the capability of this new Tundra, at the same time, we were certain to retain the strong quality, durability and reliability for which Toyota trucks are known."

The new truck comes in 2WD and 4WD variants: in both 4-door Double cab and Crewmax body styles; and with the option of 5.5-foot , 6.5-foot or 8.1-foot bed lengths. Six grade levels include SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro. It has an updated fully-boxed steel-ladder frame, an aluminum composite bed and a new multilink suspension with rear coil springs. Towing capacity has been bumped to 12,000 pounds, with a max payload of 1,940 lbs. Pricing starts at under $38,000.

The remake brings a blend of more muscular, rugged and sleek-lined styling on the exterior with a cabin that has been crafted with a "Technical Muscle" motif: A horizontal design theme integrates the instrument panel and center stack. Trims materials and appointments vary depending on grade however all are more premium. An available 14-inch touchscreen highlights the all-new Audio Multimedia system that comes with many updates and a cloud-based navigation system. Among the new is WiFi Connect offers 4G connectivity for up to 10 devices. A 12.3-inch gauge cluster display is available. Also updated is Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 that is standard on all trims; it now includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection in low light. Among other safety features are automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic high beams with new blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert and more optional safety features.

2022 Toyota TundraThe truck's interior is now more upscale and modern than before. Toyota

The new Tundra comes with a choice of two twin-turbo V-6 engines; the base engine delivers more power (389) and torque (479) than the previous-generation's 5.7-liter V-8. Optional is an i-Force Max- twin-turbo V-6 (437 hp./583 lb.-ft. of torque), set up with a motor generator between the engine and the transmission to boost power, as well as parallel hybrid components that provide start-up, EV motoring, electric assist and energy regeneration. Both engines are shifted through a 10-speed automatic. Estimated EPA fuel economy for the 3.5-liter, V-6 non-hybrid is 18/23/20 (2WD) and 17/22/19 (4WD) city/highway/combined; hybrid numbers have not been announced.

I drove the old model from San Antonio to the Hill Country, where I jumped aboard the new Tundra models on a collection of on-and -off-road loops to illuminate the upgrades and to illustrate the 2022 truck's upgraded towing and 4WD prowess. There is a long list of big differences, however. Of note are the truck's ergonomics (improved seat track, seatbelt adjustability and visibility), more power on tap with both powertrains, ride comfort and cabin quietness, and a higher level of technology, safety, towing capability and off-road competence, while the new chassis and suspension improve ride comfort.

An off-road course allowed us to try out the TRD Pro package that has been fitted with new 2.5-inch diameter FOX internal bypass shocks that add stalwart toughness for harsh terrain and bring a 1.1-inch front lift. Also new are a TRD Pro front stabilizer bar, red painted suspension parts, a TRD aluminum front skid plate and additional underbody protection, plus unique all-terrain Falken tires.

2022 Toyota TundraLarge displays and bold interior colors are available. Toyota

Tundra's new air suspension system, available on some grades, cushions the ride and features automatic and manual leveling functions, with High, Low and Normal heights. The High setting aids with slow-speed off-road driving under 18 mph and optimizes damping to help with roll rigidity. Low height brings an ease for loading and unloading, and returns to Normal height once the truck exceeds speeds of 8 mph. The pickup's Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system also adjusts the damping force based for different road conditions, such as large potholes, bumps, and small rocks.

The new Tundra also benefits from a number of tow/haul upgrades, such as the new heated extending and folding trailer tow mirrors with integrated blind spot monitor and LED trailering lights that aid in night-time and low-visibility backup, a collection of cameras, and the Trailer Back Guidance system with Straight Path Assist. All features take some of the "white-knuckle" stress out of towing. I pulled trailers of different weights and lengths and appreciated the increased throttle response with the standard Tow/Haul mode to accommodate light to moderate towing needs, such as small box trailers, utility trailers or small boats; the throttle response is more aggressive for towing larger trailers like RVs, larger box trailers or larger boats. New cameras project multiple exterior angles (front, rear and side as well as a top-down view with the Panoramic View Monitor) be viewed from the 14-inch touchscreen or an optional rearview mirror camera accessory. Views also include the rear truck bed to check on cargo, and a rear split-view to check on the sides and hitch.

2022 Toyota TundraSome trims get air suspension with adjustable ride heights. Toyota

Impressive are the two different tow/haul modes (regular tow haul and tow haul +) that change parameters when towing less 5,000 or more than 5,000 pounds; electronics will help regulate the transmission from shifting frequently and searching for the right gear.

Of note:

The RD Pro versions will be available only with the hybrid powertrain that is an option on Limited, Platinum and 1794 trims.

The TRD Off-Road Package is available on SR5, Limited and 1794 trims; the package adds TRD wheels (18-inch on SR5 and 20-inch on Limited, 1974), TRD grille, TRD off-road suspension, skid plates, mud guards and TRD leather shift knob.

TRD Off-Road Package models with 4WD will get an electronic rear differential lock, Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control.

The TRD Sport Package is available on 4X2 or 4X4 SR5 models in both the Crewmax and Double Cab, adding 20-inch TRD wheels, TRD grille, TRD lowered sport suspension and a TRD leather shift knob.

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The ZR2 is a beefy off-road pickup.

Chevrolet

Chevrolet has added a beefed-up version of its half-ton pickup to the 2022 Silverado lineup that has more capability and comfort for towing and hauling loads, traveling to hard jobs over a variety of road surfaces and a better 4WD game for backcountry travel. I recently joined the Bow-Tie brand for a 200-mile-long evaluation of the first-ever Chevy ZR2. Our day-long test drive took us from the popular desert playground of Palm Springs, located in a verdant valley surrounded by 5,000 to 10,000-foot mountains, to swaths of nearby desert. There, we traveled along a collection of dirt trails in Joshua Tree National Forest and on a 4WD mining trail to abandoned gold mines, with rugged topography that allowed us to try out the truck’s updated hardware that has been engineered to bring an ease of operation and safety for motoring over tough and technical terrain.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2The ZR2 gets several exclusive touches that set it apart from a standard Silverado.Chevrolet

Chevy has made some significant changes to the 2022 Silverado lineup from outside to in and has added Super Cruise, a hands-free drive mode that we were able to try out on local highways in the Palm Springs environs, as we also checked out different trim levels and new technologies. Updates of note are new interior styling, freshened materials and premium trims; a new dashboard and digital displays with a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with Google’s Maps, Assistant and Play Store as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay); and an electronic shifter mounted to the center console. However, our primary task was to focus on the all-new ZR2 that has been set up with a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine, rides on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires, boasts a new suspension with Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and has electronic-locking front and rear differentials. Elements of the ZR2 and this moniker have been used previously on a special edition of Chevy’s compact truck.

In addition to its functional features, the new Silverado ZR2 stands apart from its stablemates by a collection of unique design cues, including a distinctive front end with a new black hood insert; a large-sized grille with a hollowed-out ‘flow-tie’ emblem for increased air flow and integrated lighting; wheel moldings, ZR2 badges, unique 18-inch wheels and an exclusive Jet Black/Graystone leather-trimmed interior matched with an appealing dark trim. Overall, the truck looks slightly aggressive and fit. The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 competes with other full-sized desert-running and off-road trucks from Ford and Ram. It’s only offered with a crew-cab body style and either the short- or standard-length cargo boxes with an optional Multi-Flex Tailgate. On sale now, it starts at $67,600 (plus $1,695 destination and delivery)

Chevy’s flagship off-road pickup can tow 8,900 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch and haul up to 1,440 pounds of payload, with more comfortable ride as a result of the spool-valved dampers and specially-tuned springs that bring increased wheel travel when compared to the Trail Boss trim, for instance. This also translates to improved control and greater safety on the road, which we found impressive during our highway driving. The truck has a number of new standard safety features, as well.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2The off-road can tow up to 8,900 pounds and haul up to 1,440 pounds.Chevrolet

Added to Chevy’s in-house testing of the truck in everyday driving and extremes, we learned that the new pickup has been put to the test over the past three years by Chad Hall, who is a highly-respected off-roader and noted desert racer. The production truck and Hall’s prototype race truck share most of the major chassis and drivetrain components, including the robust ladder-type frame; the 420-horsepower V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission; transfer case; front and rear differentials; plus the front and transfer case skid plates, says Chevy. (See below for more info on Hall’s racing success in this truck.)

We sampled a number of the truck’s technologies during our day-long drive, checking the boxes for both high-speed desert-running and slow-speed rock crawling. Overall, there was good power on tap with plenty of torque to move the half-ton’s 5,800-pound mass, smooth shifts from the 10-speed transmission, good brakes to slow our momentum when needed, and a comfortable ride- even over rugged roads and washboard.

I was excited to experience the ZR2’s talents on some isolated backcountry roads including the Old Dale and Black Eagle Mine Roads 4WD trail, where posted signage warned “Proceed at your own risk: Deep sand and rocks-- stranded drivers have died from heat exposure on park roads.” Truth is, this is just the kind of picturesque and formidable place that 4WD enthusiasts love to explore with a truck that can take you there—and bring you back safely.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2Chev updated the Silverado's interior with better tech and upscale luxury features.Chevrolet

What makes the ZR2 with its rear leaf-spring set-up abona-fide off-roader? In front are tow hooks and a skid plate underneath the high-mounted steel front bumper, with a 31.8-degree approach angle. Other numbers of note are the: 23.4 breakover angle; 23.3 departure angle; 11.2 inches of ground clearance; with 9.84 inches of suspension travel in front and 10.62 inches in the rear. Its width is 81.2 inches, which helps compared to some of its competitors, as it is more “parkable” in many garages and we found it maneuvered well when navigating through narrow sections of rock. Engineers have also repositioned the dual exhaust for added protection.

One of the truck’s top cool new features is the selectable Terrain Mode that allows for one-pedal driving; this cruise-control-like technology is particularly useful for motoring over rocks and up and down steep slopes. To engage, we locked the ZR2 into 4WD Low, set first gear and let the engineering do the driving, using the throttle to increase speed and the brake to decrease speed, when needed. A forward-facing camera provides visibility to the front and sides, as well as to the back which is another great feature for navigating technical terrain.

*Fuel economy estimates sit at 14 mpg in the city, 17 on the highway and 15 combined. the 24-gallon ZR2’s 360-mile range.

**FAST FACT: Chad Hall Racing also helped test the Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-road technologies in competition — and is still going strong with them. The Colorado ZR2 has been racing since 2017 in the Best in The Desert series and is the only truck in its class to have finished every race entered. It has accumulated more than 22,500 miles of racing experience.

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New minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.

Honda

The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

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