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Vehicle comparison highlights for Rivian versus Toyota Tundra:

  • Tech-forward Rivian offers quad-motor drive and hydraulic damping
  • Multiple drive modes and underbody cameras make for the most capable TRD Pro Tundra yet
  • Rivian’s overlanding range is limited, interior unfit for rugged use

The 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will be a legendary off-roader in a long line of legendary off-roaders. The environmentally friendly Toyota hybrid combustion drivetrain makes Ford Raptor power, at a fraction of the price. But this culmination of Toyota 4×4 tech may have arrived too late; The age of the electric truck is here, with the Rivian R1T leading the way. Every tech-forward Rivian pickup boasts quad-motor drive and hydraulic damping. The result is a capable, smooth, off-road machine. But is the new Rivian too posh for overlanding?

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro2022 Rivian R1T
Price Range$51,000+ (estimated)$67,500+
Engine OptionsiForce MAX (twin-turbo V6 hybrid system) Four electric engines
Horsepower 437835
Torque583 lb-ft908 lb-ft
Transmission10-speed automaticN/A
Drive Type4WD with Multi-Terrain SelectQuad-Motor drive with torque vectoring
Suspensioncoil spring air suspension, height adjustableadjustable air with hydraulic damping
Tow Rating11,000 pounds (estimated)11,000 pounds
Payload Capacity1,600 pounds1,760 pounds
Range554 miles (estimated)314-400 miles

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

This is a promo photo of the environmentally friendly 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro hybrid pickup | Hybrid
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro | Toyota
  • Pros: Ford Raptor power from a hybrid drivetrain
  • Cons: Outdated internal combustion-based engine

The third generation of the Toyota Tundra debuts for the 2022 model year. Firstly, it rides on Toyota’s Next Generation Architecture chassis, shedding weight with a composite bed and fully boxed frame. Secondly, out is the old naturally-aspirated V8. In its place, a twin-turbo V6 makes more power and offers better fuel efficiency. Consequently, the 2WD Tundra can tow 12,000 pounds. In addition, the Tundra TRD Pro comes standard with a 100+ horsepower electric motor sandwiched between its V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine offers regenerative braking to charge the nickel battery under the rear seat.

Off-road performance is improved by underbody cameras. In addition, the new TRD Pro offers a Multi-Terrain Select mode so the driver has precise control while navigating trails, rocks, snow, or sand. The result may be the most capable Tundra TRD Pro yet. The only issue with this cutting-edge hybrid is that it is still internal-combustion-powered. Its newest contender promises to usher in the age of the electric truck.

2022 Rivian R1T

Promo photo of 2022 Rivian R1T electric truck 4x4 off-roading. | Rivian
Pre-production 2022 Rivian R1T | Rivian
  • Pros: The first electric pickup to market, offers Quad-Motor drive
  • Cons: Range and interior not fit for long-distance overlanding

While other automakers perfect the internal combustion, the Rivian startup is changing the conversation completely. Rivian’s technology-forward approach to automaking sets it apart, even in the EV space. For example, the Rivian R1T is the only electric pickup available–at any price point–with a motor for each wheel. As a result, this electric 4×4 can instantly put torque to whichever wheel can use it. Despite all its capability, EV range anxiety may be an even bigger issue off-road than on-road. In addition, critics point out that the Rivian’s sleek interior and infotainment system are ill-suited to any rugged outdoor use.

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro off-road performance

This is a promo photo of the hybrid 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro 4x4 truck | Hybrid
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro | Toyota

For the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Toyota Racing Development has perfected several favorite Toyota off-roading technologies. In addition, the 2022 full-size truck receives some off-road capability once reserved for the Tacoma. The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro has a traditional 2Hi/4Hi/4Lo transfer case (as opposed to AWD), the driver actuates by pushing a button. In addition, the truck comes with a locking rear differential. Next to the transfer case are buttons to select special off-roading modes.

The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro boasts nine inches of ground clearance. In addition, the package comes with aluminum skid plates and underbody cameras. When the transfer case is engaged, and the truck is going less than 10 MPH, the main screen shows the driver the terrain directly in front of the truck.

Toyota’s off-road driver aid software leads the industry

Toyota Crawl Control keeps the truck moving forward, at low speeds, without the driver touching the gas. The Toyota Tundra algorithm can control the accelerator with a sort of low-speed cruise control. In addition, the system senses slipping wheels and slows them with the ABS braking.

Similar to “Crawl Control” is Toyota’s Downhill Assist Control (DAC). The driver uses the center consol knob to select a speed between 3 MPH and 18 MPH. Then the system takes over, controlling both accelerator, and the brakes at each wheel (separately). The result: the truck slowly descends steep hills on its own while the driver can focus on choosing their path.

Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system was previously only available on the Tacoma and 4Runner. 2022 is the first year Tundra with available MTS. MTS is standard on the TRD Pro. When the driver activates MTS they can pick between Rock, Mud, Sand, and Auto driving modes. The MTS system acts much like a locking differential: if a wheel loses traction and begins to spin, the truck’s ABS system slows it down.

2022 Rivian R1T off-road performance: torque-vectoring magic

Rivian loaned two of its pre-production R1T trucks to the MotorTrend review team. The editors at MotorTrend took the opportunity to break a record by completing the first EV overland expedition across the Trans-America Trail. The multi-week trip gave the team ample opportunity to rate the R1T’s off-road abilities.

The MotorTrend reviewers keyed in on two major areas where the Rivian’s technology benefits performance. Firstly, they noticed the R1T’s Quad-Motor drive. Quad-Motor means the Rivian’s drivetrain includes an electric engine at each wheel. This allows something called torque-vectoring. An onboard algorithm instantly adjusts power output, putting torque to the wheel that can use it the most. While on-road, torque-vectoring gives the R1T the performance of a sports sedan. But while off-road, it functions much like Toyota’s MTS, preventing power from going to a spinning wheel.

The second thing the MotorTrend reviewers noticed was the hydraulic damping elements of the R1T suspension. The Rivian R1T adjustable air suspension system can lower the truck to 7.9 inches above the road or raise it to 14.4 inches of ground clearance. Some adjustable height suspension feels flimsy when maxed out. But the Rivian suspension features hydraulic damping elements that adjust along with the ride height, maintaining the ride quality.

According to MotorTrend, the Rivian R1T is a capable and refined off-roader that “drives over whatever you point it at.”

Which is the best environmentally-friendly pickup for you?

Will the 2022 Rivian R1T electric truck dethrone the 2022 Toyota TRD Pro? | Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Rivian offers the first electric truck on the market | Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The technology-forward Rivian R1T off-roads with ease. Its quad-motor drive and adjustable-height suspension are technologies ahead of their time. But its base range is 314 miles, with a $10,000 400-mile battery available. Range anxiety is a real issue on the road, but even worse off-road. In addition, MotorTrend pointed out the dashboard touchscreen controls Rivian’s every feature; With muddy hands, adjusting your fan speed is impossible. While the R1T might be overland-ready, it does not seem engineered for rugged use. The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro, on the other hand, perfects reliable off-road technology. With a bed full of gas cans, it is ready for an expedition almost anywhere. Using ABS to modulate its torque may not be as cool as Quad-Motor drive, it is currently just as effective. Overall, the Toyota proves the more capable of the two off-roaders.


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