The All-new Toyota Tundra Owes Much of Its Improved Performance to an All-New Transmission

Toyota completely redesigned its full-size Tundra pickup for the 2022 model year. The automaker made headlines when it tossed its naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8 and only offered its third-generation Tundra with a twin-turbocharged V6. But Toyota also swapped the old truck’s six-speed automatic transmission for a cutting-edge 10-speed unit, which is responsible for much of the truck’s performance improvements.

Do Toyota Tundras have transmission problems?

Toyota launched the second generation Tundra pickup truck for the 2007 model year, and the new truck did suffer several serious transmission issues. But the automaker sought to address all of these through recalls or redesigns by 2008.

Two San Antonio factory workers assemble the hybrid Toyota Tundra pickup truck's 10-speed automatic transmission.
2022 Toyota Tundra transmission | Toyota

According to ItStillRuns.com, the second generation Tundra experienced such bad transmission issues that it put a dent in the automaker’s stellar reputation for reliability. The 2007 Tundra introduced an all-new six-speed automatic which obviously needed some fine tuning.

The first issue many second-generation Tundra buyers experienced was the transmission’s tendency to “rumble-strip.” The torque converter in the first year of the six-speed sometimes failed to disengage during a shift, forcing the transmission to oscilate rapidly between two gears. The result was–you guessed it–bumpy as driving over a rumble strip.

To make matters worse, Toyota’s supplier had failed to properly heat-treat the propeller shaft joint of the automatic transmission in many 4WD trucks. Affected trucks might break free from their driveshaft when pulling a heavy load.

Finally, Toyota had failed to get the transmission fluid levels correct on enough of its 2007 Tundra’s that it actually issued a bulletin to owners to double-check their transmission fluid levels. Tundras with very low automatic transmission fluid levels actually hesitated during shifts, then lurched into gear abruptly.

What kind of transmission is in the 2023 Toyota Tundra?

One major upgrade from the second-generation Tundra to the third generation was tossing the old six-speed automatic transmission for a new 10-speed unit manufactured by Aisin.

A white 4WD Toyota Tundra pickup truck drives through mud, kicking up dirt with mountains visible in the background.
Toyota Tundra TRD Pro | Toyota

The automatic transmission in the 2022 and 2023 Toyota Tundra is the Aisin AWR10L65, also known as teh 10-speed “Direct Shift-10A.” Paired with the new 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6, this 10-speed transmission makes for one of the most capable Tundras yet.

A properly equipped 2WD Toyota Tundra can tow up to 12,000 pounds. That’s a full ton more than the early six-speed Tundras. MotorTrend also found that the new truck can reach 60 MPH in just 6.2 seconds.

The improved transmission also contributes to much better fuel economy. A 4WD second-generation Tundra only got 13 city/17 highway MPG (14 combined). A 2WD version did a little better with a 13 city/17 highway MPG (15 combined) rating. But the new Tundra blows them both out of the water. The 4WD truck gets 17 city/23 highway MPG (19 combined) and the 2WD earned 18 city/24 highway MPG (20 combined)–according to the EPA.

Though Aisin has been Toyota’s longtime Tundra transmission supplier, the new 10-speed is not exhibiting any of the issues that plagued the old six-speed. Aisin also makes heavy duty transmissions Ram offers in its Cummins-powered trucks–rated to tow up to 31,000 pounds.

Does the Toyota Tundra have a hybrid transmission?

If you opt for the new Tundra’s i-FORCE MAX powertrain, Toyoat pairs the 3.4-liter V6 with a hybrid transmission. This 10-speed automatic incorporates an electric motor/generator that makes an additional 184 lb-ft of torque.

A brown Toyota Tundra drives past a brick building on an American main street.
Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition | Toyota

Toyota claims it tuned the i-FORCE MAX for power, not efficiency. So it’s unsurprising to hear that the hybrid truck makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. What may be surprising is the truck’s driving characteristics.

The automaker claimed it was shooting for a “diesel-like” flat torque curve. Reviewers claim that it achieved this. When you tap the hybrid Tundra’s accelerator, the electric motor in its transmission launches it off the line and accelerates smoothly up to 18 MPH. At this point, the V6 fires up, but the electric motor keeps pushing until the motor’s turbochargers have built up boost.

Next, read about the new Toyota Tundra’s turbocharger failures or see the new Tundra transmission S-Mode reviewed in the video below:

Learn more about the new Tundra transmission’s towing capacity in this final video:

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