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Front Page - Friday, February 11, 2022

Behind the Wheel: Ford F-150 leaves Tundra out in the cold

Ford’s F-150 has been the bestselling truck in America for more than four decades and it will likely continue that trend in 2022. But there’s another full-size truck that’s also garnering a lot of attention, the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

After many years on the market without a significant update, the Tundra finally has received a complete redesign with new engines and features. Is it enough to topple the tried-and-true F-150? The experts at Edmunds compare the 2022 F-150 and 2022 Tundra to find out.

Engines, fuel economy

The heart of any pickup truck is its powertrain, and the F-150 has many to offer. It starts off with a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine. Or you can choose from two turbocharged V6s, a V8 and a range-topping hybrid powertrain that pairs a turbocharged V6 to a hybrid system for 430 horsepower.

Fuel economy also should be considered given the recent rise in fuel prices. Depending on the engine and configuration the F-150 ranges from an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in combined city/highway driving to a high of 25 mpg combined with the hybrid.

Toyota goes for a simpler approach by fitting most Tundras with a 389-horsepower turbocharged V6. A hybrid powertrain is available on the Tundra’s higher trim levels. It features a turbocharged V6 paired with an electric motor and generates 437 horsepower. The EPA has not yet released fuel economy estimates for the hybrid, but the base engine gets 19-20 mpg combined.

The Tundra’s two-engine lineup undoubtedly makes shopping easier, and Edmunds has found even the base engine offers comparable acceleration to the F-150’s turbocharged V6 lineup. Ultimately, shoppers get more purchase flexibility from the F-150.

Winner: F-150

Towing capacity, payload

Toyota again keeps it simple by making the majority of Tundra configurations able to tow around 11,000 pounds when properly equipped. That’s competitive for a light-duty, full-size truck and enough to pull a typical small or medium-size trailer.

The towing capacity spread for F-150 is greater because Ford offers more configurations and available axle ratios that can help enhance towing. You’ll need to do more research to get the towing muscle you need, but ultimately the F-150 offers a class-leading 14,000 pounds maximum compared to the Tundra’s 12,000-pound max.

Both trucks offer technology features to ease the hassle of backing up with a hooked-up trailer. We’ve compared them and found the F-150’s to be a little more helpful.

Winner: F-150

Driving, comfort

Trucks aren’t known for handling prowess, but both feel nimble thanks to their light and accurate steering. Both trucks also have strong braking performance, ample power at low and highway speeds and smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmissions.

Neither ride as well as the Ram 1500, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t comfortable. The F-150 and Tundra are similar in their smooth and compliant rides for a full-size truck. Each also does a good job of blocking out outside noise.

You’ll find plenty of space inside the crew-cab versions of both trucks. When it comes to seats, the Tundra’s are comfortable, and so are the F-150’s. Ford does offer a couple of extra seating options – front seats that recline almost flat and massaging seats – but they’re not enough to create separation in this category.

Winner: Tie

Features, trims, value

Excluding the specialized Raptor, the Ford F-150 comes in seven trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, Tremor, King Ranch, Platinum and the range-topping Limited. The base XL trim starts at $30,985 including destination and comes equipped with the base non-turbo V6 and a nice list of standard features but nothing out of the ordinary.

The Toyota Tundra has six trim levels: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition and TRD Pro. The base SR trim starts higher at $37,645 but comes with more standard features, including a bundle of several advanced driver aids and the more powerful turbocharged V6 engine.

When comparing the more popular midlevel F-150 Lariat and Tundra Limited trims, the starting prices are about the same, but the Tundra still has its more powerful engine and a larger 14-inch touch screen versus the F-150’s 12-inch unit.

However, the F-150’s top Limited trim offers tech and comfort features not found in the Tundra including the Pro Power Onboard system that can power small appliances and power tools.

Overall value is a near parity here, but the F-150’s extra cool features do count for something.

Winner: F-150

Edmunds says

The Ford F-150 is the winner in this truck head-to-head by way of its additional engine options, wider array of comfort and tech features and more price points to choose from. Although the Tundra doesn’t excel in any major category, it’s a great all-around truck that will make many owners happy.

Michael Cantu is a contributor at Edmunds. Follow Michael on Instagram