Is the 2022 Toyota Tundra Actually a Heavy-Duty Pickup?

Toyota completely redesigned its Tundra for the 2022 model year. The result can tow almost 2,000 pounds than last year’s model, for a maximum towing capacity of 12,000 pounds. This means the Tundra can tow more than the heavy-duty Nissan Titan XD. You might think this makes the Tundra a heavy-duty truck too, but trucks are actually classified by their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), not their tow rating. Therefore, the 2022 Tundra is still a light-duty “half-ton” truck.

How much can the 2022 Toyota Tundra tow?

Toyota rolled out the all-new third generation of the Tundra for the 2023 model year. After completely re-engineering its full-size pickup truck, Toyota was able to bump its maximum towing capacity from 10,200 pounds to 12,000 pounds.

Red Toyota Tundra pickup truck towing an airstream camper trailer.
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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The biggest change Toyota made to the 2023 Tundra was tossing its old 5.7-liter V8 in favor of a new, turbocharged 3.44-liter V6 engine. Mid-year, Toyota will also release a hybrid version of this engine: the i-FORCE MAX.

Toyota’s hybrid powertrain uses an electric motor/generation between the motor and transmission for launches, regenerative braking, increasing torque while the turbochargers are spooling up, and smoothing out shifts. The result is a diesel-like flat torque curve. Want to know more? Read about the i-FORCE MAX.

The current Tundra with the highest towing capacity is the SR5 configured with 2WD and the Toyota Towing package. Toyota claims a 12,000 pound towing capacity for this truck. While the hybrid powertrain may excel at delivering enough torque to smoothly tow medium loads, its battery pack may add too much weight to the truck for it to out-tow the regular drivetrain.

What defines a heavy-duty pickup truck?

All “heavy-duty” pickup trucks (think F-250 or 2500, and larger) fit into the government’s Class 2b “Light Duty truck” category or a larger category. This is based on their Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR)–the combined weight of the truck and its maximum payload–being above 8,500 pounds.

Promo photo of a Nissan Titan XD towing a pontoon boat up a boat ramp.
2020 Nissan Titan XD | Nissan

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A light-duty (often called half-ton) full-size pickup truck may actually be able to tow more than certain heavy-duty pickup trucks. For example, Ford, General Motors, Ram, and Toyota all offer a half-ton truck configuration that can tow more than the heavy-duty Nissan Titan XD. The XD is simply a heavy truck with a relatively high payload capacity and a relatively low towing capacity.

This seeming overlap is just a byproduct of the classification system: truck classification is not decided by tow rating, but by GVWR. Learn more about the 3/4-ton Titan XD.

What is the 2022 Tundra’s payload capacity?

The all-new Toyota Tundra can haul between 1,575 pounds and 1,940 pounds. This is far from the highest payload capacity in the half-ton truck segment.

White Toyota Tundra TRD Pro pickup truck navigating a challenging off-road 4x4 trail.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

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To reduce the weight of its 2022 Tundra, Toyota created a fully-boxed frame and composite pickup truck bed. In addition, the new Tundra shares a chassis with the latest Land Cruiser. Its rear suspension, therefore, includes a solid axle and coil springs.

With available auto-leveling air suspension and a turbocharged engine, the new Tundra can tow with ease. In addition, it is a capable 4×4 pickup truck with a locking differential, trail cams, and off-road driver aid software available on most trim levels.

The Nissan Titan XD, on the other hand, is built to be a heavy-duty truck and offers a maximum payload capacity of 2,435 pounds. The engineers at Toyota obviously have other priorities than building a heavy-duty Tundra.

Next, read about the Tundra’s towing capacity vs the Detroit Three, or watch the new Tundra tow for yourself in the video below:

RELATED: Only 2 Half-Ton Pickup Trucks Can Tow More Than 13,000 Pounds