Toyota has won a reputation for building the world’s most reliable trucks. The 2021 Toyota Tundra received Consumer Reports’ top predicted reliability score: 5/5. But for the Tundra’s third generation, Toyota tossed time-tested technologies to pursue fuel efficiency and a smoother ride. The resulting 2022 Toyota Tundra received a 3/5 predicted reliability score. What’s going on here?
2021 Toyota Tundra reliability
The 2021 Toyota Tundra was the last year of the truck’s second generation. Toyota first introduced the second-generation Tundra in 2006.
By 2021, the automaker only offered the pickup truck with its naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8. Toyota also installed a six-speed automatic. The truck also featured full-frame construction and rode on leaf springs in the rear.
Mechanically, the 2021 Toyota Tundra lagged behind every other full-size pickup truck. Its V8 gave up both power and fuel efficiency to the similarly-sized HEMI V8. All its competitors had upgraded to eight-speed gearboxes, some leaping ahead to 10 speeds.
But Toyota had been tweaking the second-generation Tundra for seventeen years. The result? Toyota had ironed out the truck’s every wrinkle and was building one of the most reliable pickup trucks on the road.
According to Consumer Reports, the Tundra saw minor reliability hiccups in 2017 and 2019. But overall, the second-generation Tundra received glowing reviews. The consumer watch group gave the 2021 Toyota Tundra a perfect 5/5 predicted reliability score. Compare that with the F-150’s 2/5 or the Chevy Silverado’s 1/5. The 2021 Tundra was at the head of the pack.
2022 Toyota Tundra reliability
For its 2022 redesign, Toyota chucked the Tundra’s trusty V8. Every 2022 Tundra will come with a turbocharged, 3.44-liter 389 horsepower V6. The engine is similar in displacement and output to the Ford EcoBoost. In the summer of 2022, Toyota will roll out the top-trim i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain in an attempt to keep pace with Ford’s Powerboost.
Toyota also moved the truck to an all-new fully-boxed frame and composite bed to save weight. It rides on coil springs in the rear, like the Ram 1500. Toyota redesigned the Tundra’s body and gave the 2022 truck an aggressive new grille.
Stories of problems with the 2022 Toyota Tundra are already piling up. Many of these are benign build quality issues. Reports include a misaligned body panel, a misaligned bumper, poorly seating window weather stripping, a poorly sealed windshield, a rear seat that doesn’t latch in place, aggressive automatic braking, and odd warning lights.
One major issue several owners faced was a randomly locking/unlocking driver’s side door. Toyota engineers actually traveled to dealerships to study affected trucks and have rolled out a supposed solution.
Multiple owners report issues with the turbocharged V6 engine. It seems the wastegate, engineered to regulate pressure inside the turbocharger, is malfunctioning. This could cause wild fluctuations in the pressure inside the turbocharger and wear the component out rapidly. Toyota is currently investigating this issue.
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So what’s going on with the new 2022 Toyota Tundra? Did Consumer Reports know something we didn’t when the publication dropped the truck’s predicted reliability rating from “Great” to “Average?”
Consumer Reports reveals that when it crunches all its vehicle data, it finds the most reliable cars are often the last model year of a given generation. The first year of any vehicle usually has some issues to work out. This may be the entire reason Consumer Reports dropped the predicted reliability score. This is also why recalls were invented, and Toyota appears to be taking its responsibility seriously.
One way Toyota has maintained such stellar reliability ratings is by lagging behind its competitors technologically. We have to assume Toyota believed it could make Ram-like suspension and PowerBoost-like engines reliable. Otherwise, the automaker would have never risked its reputation on these technologies.
But if you are looking for a tried-and-true drivetrain, JD Power continues to rank gently-used Toyota Tundras as one of the most reliable trucks you can buy. Want to know more about the new model’s reliability? See the 2022 Tundra’s first real-world road trip test.