You asked us to run the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra on the Ike Gauntlet™ again, and we did. In the previous world’s toughest towing test, I did not use Toyota’s Tow+ mode. Also, you wanted to see the transmission temperatures as the new Tundra is towing an 8,100 lbs trailer up and down this 7% grade. Here it is!
This is the world’s toughest towing test because it’s an 8-mile climb up the country’s steepest interstate highway to a maximum elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level. This is a 7% grade with a 60 MPH speed limit.
The all-new Tundra has a fully-boxed frame, new suspension (with a multi-link rear coil springs setup), new engine, new transmission, and new driving modes. This is a lot! The 3.5-liter (also referred to as 3.4-liter) twin-turbo gas V6 is rated at 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 10-speed automatic.
The Tundra has a Tow-haul mode (best for trailers up to 5,000 lbs), and a Tow+ mode (good for trailers over 5,000 lbs). This is what Toyota recommends. The previous Ike Gauntlet was run in Tow-haul mode. This time, we are using the Tow+ mode, which is supposed to be a little more aggressive. It adjusts the transmission shifting, accelerator pedal response, and steering feel.
Surprisingly, the Tow+ resulted in significantly worse downhill performance. On the downhill, we are counting brake applications between 61 MPG and 50 MPH. The speed limit is 60 MPH, so as soon as we see 61 MPH – we slow it down to 50 MPH.
We are using the exact same truck, the same driver, and the exact same trailer for both of these tests. The Tow+ mode resulted in 9 brake applications, the Tow-haul mode during a previous run resulted in 6 brake applications.
On the uphill, the Tundra accelerated very well 35-60 MPH. It took just about 14 seconds to do so on the on-ramp and while starting the climb. The Tundra still had PLENTY of power in reserve while climbing, and it still is the quietest truck cabin on the Ike Gauntlet (around 62 dB, while going 60 MPH up the mountain).
The truck completed the climb in a benchmark time of 8 minutes, and the trip meter showed an impressive 4.7 MPG. This is another surprise. The trip meter showed 4.3 MPG last time (just a few days prior). Perhaps, the truck got up to speed a little quicker and then settled into its groove? The Tow+ appears to be better for towing fuel efficiency – based on this test.
We used ScanGauge II to monitor the transmission temperature during this latest 2022 Tundra run. This is the same device we used to monitor the transmission in the previous generation 2021 Tundra V8. The 2022 Tundra has a transmission fluid heat exchanger/cooler as we show in this video. The 2021 Tundra does not have a transmission fluid cooler from the factory.
This time the 2022 Tundra’s transmission fluid reached a temperature of 231 F. Compare it to the previous 2021 Tundra transmission temperature of 246 F (which towing a trailer of very similar weight – 8,000 lbs). Also, we ran the 2021 Tundra on the mountain in November 2020 with similar ambient conditions to this December 2021 run.
Indeed, the 2022 Tundra is controlling its transmission temperature better than before. Could it still be better? Yes. Other trucks such as the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 showed lower transmission temperature on this mountain. While other trucks such as the new 2021 Ford F-150 do NOT have a transmission cooler.
Check out the video below for all of the raw and unedited details.