2022 Toyota Tundra vs. Ford F-150: Upstart Battles Old Hand

We like our comparison tests to come to definitive conclusions, but that didn’t happen with this one. Instead, in pitting the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra against the bestselling Ford F-150, it came down to weighing the details. For example: One of these pickup trucks has a better engine, the other a better transmission. One has a better-looking interior; the other offers better functionality. Even the back seat factors into the equation: One has a better seat, the other smarter floor storage. We did manage to pick a winner, but only by the slimmest of margins. If you were to purchase the truck we deemed the lesser of the two, we certainly wouldn’t say you bought the wrong one.

But enough preamble, let’s meet our players. For this particular test, we decided to sample workaday, lower-trim versions of these full-size trucks. Both featured crew cabs, short boxes, and four-wheel drive. Toyota sent along a 2022 Tundra Limited equipped with the TRD Off-Road package and a handful of other useful stand-alone options that added up to a $60,188 sticker. Ford supplied an F-150 XLT, the truck’s one-up-from-the-bottom trim, which was priced at $58,575 and fitted with two key options—Ford’s Max Trailer Tow package and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6. (The truck Ford sent was a 2021, but the 2022 F-150 is functionally identical.)

Tundra vs. F-150: A Closer Look, Outside and In

At first glance, the Ford F-150 is the slightly better-looking truck in our eyes. It appears relaxed and sure of itself, whereas the Tundra is styled like it has something to prove. Although we appreciate the creases in its sheetmetal, we can’t avert our gaze from the Tundra’s giant, gaping grille, which reminds us of a jet plane missing its nose cone. Out back, the Tundra’s vertical taillights don’t seem to be as integrated into the truck’s overall design. That said, when it comes to the details, the Toyota appears more modern, with sequential LED turn signals where the lower-spec Ford makes do with incandescent bulbs. It’s controversial to be sure, but the Tundra is definitely a product of the new decade, while the new-for-2021 F-150 could be 10 years old.

It’s a similar story inside. The Tundra’s interior is more modern in execution, with its massive 14.0-inch infotainment screen (optional), handsomely sculpted vents, and wide piano-key switches (a good idea lifted from General Motors). The F-150’s stereo, A/C, and steering wheel controls, with their dials and plastic buttons, look old-fashioned by comparison, but they’re arguably easier to use. The F-150’s interior has its share of cheap plastics, though the bulk of its dashboard appears to be built of higher-quality materials than the Tundra employs. Even the upholstery is a draw: Some of our testers thought the F-150’s two-tone cloth was way more attractive and comfortable than the Tundra’s faux leather. Others said Toyota’s Sof-Tex is more upscale and wondered what possessed Ford to put cloth seats in a $58,575 truck.

Both trucks feature giant center touchscreen infotainment interfaces, but the Toyota’s is gianter—and although that’s great for Apple CarPlay, we were surprised the Tundra only lets you display one system (audio, phone, navigation, settings) at a time, whereas the Ford will show, say, your tunes and a map simultaneously.

We found the back seats to be roomy in both the F-150 and the Tundra, with lots of legroom and easy access through big doors, and both offer two types of USB ports (A and C) and a 120-volt outlet. The Tundra has the (marginally) more comfortable seat, with a longer bottom cushion that provides better thigh support and a more relaxed backrest angle. But with the seat bottoms folded up, the F-150’s flat floor and fold-away storage bins (a $215 option) made it far more useful and flexible than the Tundra, which has a sizable transmission hump and hard, fixed plastic binnacles.

Tundra vs. F-150: The Drive

Both of our test trucks were powered by twin-turbo V-6 engines—a 3.5-liter unit for the F-150 and a 3.4 for the Tundra (though Toyota’s sales literature says otherwise). Note, however, that the EcoBoost engine is a $2,595 option in the Ford; standard power is a 3.3-liter non-turbo V-6 with half as much torque. The Toyota, meanwhile, gets twin-turbo power as standard. (Both the Tundra and F-150 are available with an optional hybrid powertrain, but only Ford offers a V-8.)

The F-150 provides a lot of go for the extra dough. Although its 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque bests the Toyota by only 11 hp and 21 lb-ft, the aluminum-bodied F-150 weighs a quarter-ton less than the Tundra. In addition, both come standard with a 3.31:1 rear axle, but our Ford test truck came with no-cost optional 3.55:1 gearing, which the Tundra doesn’t offer. All of the above gave the F-150 a serious speed advantage: We clocked the Ford from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is almost a full second quicker than the Tundra. And Ford’s EPA fuel economy numbers measure 1 mpg better in city, highway, and combined measurements. Out on the open road, the Ford felt like the more powerful truck, and it delivered slightly better fuel economy during our testing.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Ford’s powertrain is a far superior choice. The 2022 Tundra’s 10-speed automatic transmission proved to be the better actor, shifting up and down promptly and smoothly. On one narrow, hilly section of our test route, the Tundra knew intuitively which gear to pick; prodding the F-150’s accelerator on the same stretch resulted in a delay and a lurch while it tried to find the right ratio.

Tundra vs. F-150: Ride and Handling

The suspension is one area where Ford pulled definitively ahead. Neither of these pickup t
rucks will ever be mistaken for an old-school Lincoln Town Car, but the F-150 provided a smoother ride, while the Tundra felt jittery even over moderate bumps. When the pavement got slightly worse, the Tundra’s ride got a lot worse, deteriorating much more quickly than the F-150’s ride quality. This was somewhat surprising, given the Toyota’s rear coil springs and lower payload rating relative to the leaf-sprung Ford.

The Ford’s steering felt light and a bit numb, making the truck easy, if not exactly enjoyable, to maneuver. But it steered better than the Tundra, which felt less precise and wandered more on the highway. Both trucks have adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and although the Ford guided itself accurately, the Tundra had a harder time staying centered, an experience shared by its human drivers. Keep in mind that our test Tundra came with the $3,085 TRD Off-Road package featuring stiffer shocks and softer all-terrain tires. Without this package, the Toyota might well have had better ride and steering qualities.

Tundra vs. F-150: Getting Into Bed

Unlike the F-150, the Tundra doesn’t have a spray-in bedliner, but it doesn’t need one: The Tundra’s bed is a plastic composite, which is virtually indestructible. There’s nothing wrong with a metal bed like the Ford’s, but it’s eventually going to show the dents and scars of hard use. That won’t be the case with the Tundra. Both trucks have tie-downs in the bed walls; the Ford’s are fixed, while the Tundra offers both fixed and movable points.

Our Tundra test truck had a $385 power package that included 400-watt outlets in the bed and a Qi wireless phone charger in the cab, which our F-150 lacked. Ford offers 400-watt plugs for $290, but our truck came instead with the $995 ProPower Onboard package capable of 2,000 watts. The Toyota also had a retractable tailgate step, but evetesn with it deployed, our shorter testers faced a steep climb into the bed. Speaking of steep, that little step costs a whopping $399. Unlike the Toyota, our F-150 didn’t come with any tailgate assistance features as equipped. Ford does offer a quality tailgate step of its own for the F-150, but it’s only included as part of the $695 power tailgate package, which was missing from our truck. (Perhaps it was a good thing given what we discovered in our last full-size pickup comparison.)

Tundra vs. F-150: Towing and Hauling

In terms of truck capabilities, Ford is the clear winner. Our Tundra, as equipped, had a maximum payload of 1,740 pounds and a towing capacity of 11,120 pounds. The Ford, meanwhile, offered a 2,100-pound payload capacity and, with its Max Trailering package, a towing capacity of 13,900 pounds. But even with a lesser trailering package, the F-150 would still out-tow the Tundra by 180 pounds. Capacity and skill are separate things, though. We’ve always found the F-150 to be a stable towing platform, and the Tundra proved just as competent at hauling our high-profile two-horse trailer.

We’re big fans of Ford’s optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, and we were eager to try Toyota’s version, called Straight Path Assist. The key difference between the two is that the F-150 allows the driver to steer the trailer in reverse with a dial on the dashboard, but the Tundra only keeps the trailer going straight. With Straight Path Assist, once you get the trailer pointed where you want it, you can let go of the wheel and the Tundra will steer itself in an attempt to keep the trailer going in the same direction. The Tundra did a pretty good job of keeping the trailer going straight, but really, that’s only half the battle—getting the trailer pointed in the right direction is the real struggle for novice trailer-backers. Ford’s system (as well as Ram’s Trailer Reverse Steering) alleviates 95 percent of the anxiety of backing up a trailer; the Toyota, maybe 50 percent. We’re baffled as to why Toyota didn’t build a complete trailer-backing solution.

Let’s Pick a Winner Already!

We suspected from our first test loop that this was going to be a close competition, and we weren’t disappointed. Toyota clearly benchmarked the bestselling F-150 when developing its new Tundra, and it followed very closely in the Ford’s tire tracks.

But in the end, the Ford managed to stay out front, if only by a bumper length or two. The F-150 is the better and more comfortable truck to drive (though a Tundra with the non-TRD suspension might be able to close that gap). The Ford’s interior is marginally nicer and easier to use, and the F-150’s back seat, though not quite as comfortable as the Toyota’s, offers more flexibility for carrying other-than-human cargo. We like the Tundra’s tough composite bed, but the Ford carries a lot more cargo. Both trucks are competent tow vehicles, but the Ford has more capacity and a better trailer-backing system. And although the Tundra has more modern styling details, the F-150 has a look we think will age better—indeed, it already seems to be doing so.

Toyota fans might be disappointed to learn that the new Tundra generation is short of class-leading; in our estimation, that title still belongs to the Ram 1500. But in the full-size pickup field, where breaking into the Chevy-Ford-Ram triumvirate is a near-impossible task, playing follow the leader is perhaps the smartest move—and the 2022 Toyota Tundra is definitely following the Ford F-150 very, very closely.

Second Place: 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited

  • Powerful twin-turbo engine comes standard
  • Durable composite bed
  • Comfortable back seat
  • Bumpy ride with TRD package
  • Half-baked trailer-backing system
  • Giant center screen not used to its best advantage

First Place: 2
021 Ford F-150 XLT

  • Comfortable, if not exactly thrilling, to drive
  • Broad choice of powertrains and axle ratios
  • High payload and towing capacity when properly equipped
  • Uncomfortable back seat
  • Rough-shifting transmission
  • Cloth seats and incandescent bulbs? In a $60K truck?
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2021 Ford F-150 XLT 4×4 Specifications 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited TRD Offroad 4×4 Specifications
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD
ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V-6, alum block/heads Twin-turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V-6, alum block/heads
DISPLACEMENT 3,497 cc/213.4 cu in 3,445 cc/210.2 cu in
POWER (SAE NET) 400 hp @ 6,000 rpm 389 hp @ 5,200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 500 lb-ft @ 3,100 rpm 479 lb-ft @ 2,400 rpm
REDLINE 6,250 rpm 5,800 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 13.4 lb/hp 15.0 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.55:1/2.26:1/2.64:1 3.31:1/2.02:1/2.64:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 17.4:1 16.9:1
BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 13.8-in vented disc 13.9-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc
WHEELS 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES 275/60R20 115T Pirelli Scorpion ATR (M+S) 265/60R20 112H Falken Wildpeak A/T AT3WA (M+S)
WHEELBASE 145.1 in 145.7 in
TRACK, F/R 67.9/68.3 in 68.4/68.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.7 x 79.9 x 77.2 in 233.6 x 80.2 x 78.0 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 9.4 in 9.4 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 24.6/25.4 deg 21.0/24.0 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 47.8 ft 48.6 ft
CURB WEIGHT (DIST F/R) 5,345 lb (58/42%) 5,820 lb (57/43%)
HEADROOM, F/R 40.8/40.4 in 41.0/38.5 in
LEGROOM, F/R 43.9/43.6 in 41.2/41.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 66.7/66.0 in 65.0/62.4 in
PICKUP BOX L x W x H 78.9 x 65.2 x 21.4 in 65.6 x 58.7 x 20.9 in
CARGO BOX VOLUME 62.3 cu ft 48.8 cu ft
CARGO LIFT-OVER HEIGHT 35.0 in 34.6 in
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 2,100 lb 1,740 lb
TOWING CAPACITY 13,900 lb 11,120 lb
0-30 1.8 sec 2.0 sec
0-40 2.9 3.3
0-50 4.0 4.6
0-60 5.3 6.2
0-70 6.9 8.1
0-80 8.9 10.3
0-90 11.2 13.1
0-100 13.9 16.2
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.6 3.2
QUARTER MILE 13.9 sec @ 99.9 mph 14.7 sec @ 95.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 126 ft 135 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.76 g (avg) 0.72 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.0 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) 28.5 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,450 rpm* 1,700 rpm
BASE PRICE $45,850 $56,680
PRICE AS TESTED $59,520 $60,188
AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 2 yrs/25,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 36.0 gal 32.2 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 18/23/20 mpg 17/22/19 mpg
EPA RANGE, COMB 720 mi 612 mi
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular
*Truck will not select 10th gear at 60; 1,800 in eighth is the natural powertrain condition at this speed.