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2022 Toyota Tundra: Should you go hybrid or non-hybrid?

2022 Toyota Tundra: Should you go hybrid or non-hybrid?
Autos
Wind, road, and engine noise is substantially reduced (although the composite boxes on our early, pre-production trucks did rattle a bit). Visibility is as good as before. Electric power steering is not as talkative as the hydraulic in the outgoing truck, but there’s nothing to complain about, the weighting skewed slightly to the lighter side with very good directional control and response. Some might not even notice the difference. The creased hood allows for easier placement of the front fenders on the road. The power-folding rear window is as welcome as it ever was. The Tundra, like both generations of Tundras before, simply feels excellent to drive.

But back to the engines. Press the start key in the hybrid Pro and nothing happens other than a light on the dash declaring it “Ready.” We are too. Touch the aluminum pedal gently and the truck rolls without gasoline, the 1.87-kWh battery feeding a 48-hp motor. The only sound is a slight angelic hum to alert pedestrians. Applying more throttle lights the engine almost unnoticeably. Those who adore the aural delights of the V8 will not be immediately seduced by the serenade from the new V6, which simply can’t match the deep throat of eight pistons, especially at full throttle. The pitch is higher, the heft a little more hollow. Although it’s not disagreeable, it’s just not a V8.

Especially when you punch it. But with 583 lb-ft, much of it instantaneous electric power that storms the hill as early as 2,700 rpm while the turbos are spooling up, the power to launch is enough to impress Richard Branson. The hybrid engine, driving a 4.92 first gear axle ratio and 3.26 second, successfully picks up the 6,010-pound TRD Pro and darts it into whatever space it is pointed. It continues with a long and steady pull of impressive power right into the upper gears when the speed limit has long been surpassed. The truck feels plenty faster than the V8, although we don’t have figures yet to say by how much. Sound aside, the V6 is an utterly impressive feat and very much at home in the new truck.

Of course, the turbo V6 is not quite as silky smooth as the outgoing V8 either, but it would be like splitting hairs to figure out how much less. And the 10-speed automatic is clearly a winner when compared to the old six, with no noticeable hunting for gears or confusion of where it should be and when. In sum, the hybrid is not the sum of all fears V8 fans thought it might be. It is progress, it is better, faster, and sharper. It is clearly superior in terms of performance. It might even have soul.

Thus, we were expecting the standard, non-hybrid twin turbo V6 to be much less exciting compared to its hybrid-backed brother. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
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