What Is It?
The Tundra is Toyota’s longtime player in the extremely competitive full-size pickup truck segment. Although its sales numbers may not compete at the same level as domestic truck builders (Ford, General Motors, Ram), the Tundra has held its own in the U.S. pickup game for more than 20 years. Now Tundra is all new from the ground up with bold styling, a stronger chassis and new powertrains. To deepen the brand’s pickup bench, Toyota adds the luxurious Capstone edition to the Tundra lineup. After spending several days with the top-tier 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone, we would certainly consider it an all-star.
Toyota provided us with a 2022 Tundra Capstone I-FORCE MAX 4 x 4 painted in a stunning Wind Chill Pearl. As the top-level trim of the Tundra line, the Capstone has a hybrid engine and 4-wheel drive as standard equipment, so it already comes loaded with just about every feature — the only factory options available are a towing package and air suspension. Total MSRP for this truck lists at $77,339. Competitors to the Tundra Capstone include the Ford F-150 Limited, GMC Sierra Denali, Ram 1500 Limited and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country.
The new Tundra already has a bold exterior when compared to the previous version, but the Capstone brings a unique high-end look to the lineup with a distinctive grille, chrome trim accents and the largest wheels ever offered on the model — 22-inch chrome rims. Both LED headlights with signature LED running lights flank the large grille, and we like the fog lights integrated slightly below the grille at the top of the bumper. The bulging hood adds to the powerful look. The Tundra Capstone is available exclusively as a 4-door CrewMax with a 5.5-foot bed.
The Toyota Tundra Capstone certainly stands out in the Tundra lineup, although inside the large cabin is where the upgrades really shine. Seats are trimmed in semi-aniline leather in a black-and-white two-tone configuration — the same color treatment is found on doors and the dashboard. Dark American Walnut and satin chrome trim add to the high-end vibe. (The backlit Capstone badging facing the front passenger is a nice touch.) For easier access to the cabin, the Tundra Capstone comes with power-retracting running boards as standard equipment.
The big cabin of this high-end Tundra gets a big display screen to match — the 14-inch touchscreen display is both clear and easy to read. We like the permanent quick-navigation selections that live on the left side of the display. The system can also be accessed via voice by saying “Hey Toyota.” Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a high-end JBL Premium Audio system, are standard on the Capstone, as is a wireless phone charger. Adding to the high-tech environs are a 12.3-inch digital driver display as well as a 10-inch full-color head-up display.
The big front seats are not only attractive but offer great support and are commendably comfortable, even after long stints behind the wheel. The semi-aniline leather is soft and adds a lot to the overall ambience and thus the Tundra Capstone experience.
Passengers sitting in the back seat of the Tundra will certainly not complain about a lack of space; three adults can easily fit, thanks to a flat floor as well as plenty of headroom and legroom. Rear seats are heated and ventilated for additional comfort. Multiple USB ports as well as a standard household 110-volt outlet provide power to keep devices charged.
Slightly Less Storage
Hybrid-powered Tundras lose a bit of storage in the rear seat. The non-hybrid has storage bins beneath the rear seats, accessible by flipping up the seat bottoms. The hybrid stores batteries in this location, so instead of bins there is simply a shelf. Even with the batteries taking up space, the cabin retains an impressive amount of space for loading cargo as necessary.
The Toyota Tundra Capstone has one of our favorite features: a power bed step. When the tailgate is lowered, a step unfolds automatically at the left rear corner of the truck. The step is precisely placed for any easy climb into the bed without the need to kneel on the tailgate which can often be wet or dirty. When the tailgate closes the step automatically retracts.
Under the Hood
A 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine powers the Tundra Capstone, teamed with an electric motor to produce a total 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the road via a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. With this setup the Tundra Capstone I-FORCE MAX (the name given to the hybrid powertrain) can tow up to 10,340 pounds or haul 1,485 pounds. The Toyota Tundra Capstone is not a plug-in hybrid system, so there aren’t any scenarios where the truck will run solely in EV mode.
According to the U.S. EPA, the Tundra Capstone with the I-FORCE MAX engine is rated at 19 mpg city / 22 mpg hwy / 20 mpg combined. These numbers aren’t bad for a large 4-wheel-drive pickup; however, during our drive the best we were able to achieve in predominantly city driving was around 15 mpg.
On the Road
It may be a big full-size pickup, yet the Toyota Tundra Capstone is easy to drive. The ride remains comfortable even when roads get rough, exhibiting none of the jouncing that can occur when driving an empty pickup. The interior stays quiet, and with the truck’s big, comfortable seats and high-end audio system it’s not a bad choice for a road trip — fuel economy excepted.
Hybrid drive systems can be employed for improved fuel economy or better performance. Toyota leaned toward the latter when developing the Tundra, so while fuel economy may not be what one might expect, performance is outstanding. Pressing hard on the right pedal delivers strong acceleration accompanied by a satisfying, powerful-sounding exhaust note — surprising for a V6 hybrid.
Although it’s highly unlikely that the Tundra will ever be able to properly compete with American-brand pickups, the big truck has come a long way. The new Capstone edition brings a high level of luxury and equipment without subtracting utility. We expected the hybrid powertrain to deliver better fuel economy, although on the flipside it certainly doesn’t skimp on power. For those seeking a stylish full-size pickup with all the bells and whistles, the Tundra Capstone is definitely worthy of consideration.
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