How the 2022 Toyota Tundra Went From 4 Suspensions to 6

2022 Toyota Tundra suspension

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

By Kelsey Mays

Half-ton pickup trucks are anything but single-spec, and so it goes with the redesigned Toyota Tundra. With coil or available air springs tucked outside the fully boxed frame — new features for 2022 — the Tundra now offers six suspension choices, up from the prior generation’s four. What’s the difference between all six, and how did Toyota get there? At a media preview in San Antonio for the redesigned Tundra, we caught up with Jay Sackett, Toyota’s executive program manager for the next-gen truck, and Stephen Provost, vehicle performance leader for the truck. Read on for a deep dive into each suspension, then head over to Cars.com for our full review.

Related: 2022 Toyota Tundra Review: Better Where It Counts

First, some context. The outgoing Tundra had four suspensions, with basic setup involving leaf springs in back, double wishbones in front and passive shocks all around. Beyond that, you could also choose between three packages from the automaker’s Toyota Racing Development arm: TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro.

2022 Toyota Tundra suspension detail

The redesigned Tundra gets a new platform courtesy of the globally redesigned Land Cruiser SUV. Though the Cruiser won’t come stateside, its platform does — and that means a fully boxed frame in the new Tundra. Its predecessor had a boxed frame under the cab but reinforced or open C-channels in the bed.

That setup “provided flexibility for carrying high loads on the truck,” Sackett said. “However, with our next-gen [Tundra], we developed a new platform to accommodate not only the pickup truck but the SUV, so our Land Cruiser in Japan co-developed the platform and frame. And really from an SUV standpoint, you need a rigid structure from front to back because you can’t have the back of the cabin moving differently from the front for body structure.”

Another big difference? Rear coil springs in place of the outgoing Tundra’s leaf springs. Coils are prized for ride comfort, though not towing and payload; that’s where the leafs used in most half-ton pickups (with the Ram 1500 a notable exception) remain prominent. Leafs are “great for vertical stability” but “don’t have a lot of great side-to-side stability,” Sackett said. Coils also made it easy to add the Tundra’s newly optional rear air springs — something the old Tundra’s leafs didn’t enable, though Sackett said some owners still tried to install them with alternate mounting points.

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2022 Toyota Tundra suspension detail

Atop that comes another option for 2022: adaptive shocks. Leaf springs don’t preclude them — the F-150, for example, pairs adaptive shocks with such hardware — but the shocks make for a second additional suspension configuration.

Here’s how the mechanicals for each suspension shake out. Note, the 2022 Tundra comes in six trim levels: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition and TRD Pro.

  • Base: Standard on the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum and 1794, the base setup includes double wishbones up front, newly developed but architecturally similar to the old Tundra. In back are outboard coil springs and multilink architecture — though still with a solid axle. Both axles have passive twin-tube shocks; the front suspension also has coil springs.
  • TRD Sport: Optional on the SR5, the TRD Sport Package gets a half-inch lower ride height and swaps in sport-tuned shocks and springs.
  • TRD Off-Road: Available on the SR5, Limited and 1794 Edition, the TRD Off-Road Package gets off-road suspension tuning with Bilstein shocks; it also adds unique skid plates and mud guards. Four-wheel-drive models get an electronic locking rear differential and terrain-selection controls, as well as Toyota’s Crawl Control, a system popularized in the Tacoma that can maintain selectable single-digit speeds off the beaten path. (Strange as it sounds, you can get a TRD Off-Road without 4WDe; at that, it’s mostly a cosmetic package.)
  • TRD Pro: A separate trim level entirely, the TRD Pro gets even beefier diameter Fox internal-bypass shocks (2.5 inches versus the 1.8 inches for the Bilsteins, Provost said) plus a 1.1-inch front suspension lift and a thicker front stabilizer bar that’s 20% stiffer. It also has high-strength covers for the engine, fuel tank and transfer case.
  • Air springs: Available on the SR5, Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition, rear air springs replace the coils. They can vary rear suspension height up to 2.5 inches, Sackett said, but you can’t pair them with any TRD package. All TRD models, including the TRD Pro, have coils.
  • Air springs and adaptive shocks: Available on the Platinum and 1794 are adaptive shocks, marketed as Toyota’s Adaptive Variable Suspension system. They replace the passive shocks but pair only with the air springs.

Sackett said all six suspension systems are available with either Tundra engine — a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 or, in the Tundra hybrid, the same engine plus an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission. The Tundra hybrid gets unique suspension tuning due to weight differences, but the “end result is to be the same” ride, Provost said. You can read more about how the various suspension layouts drive in our Tundra review on Cars.com.

2022 Toyota Tundra

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