Sales for RVs, boats and powersports like ATVs have gone through the roof this past year. The why of it is simple – folks have a severe case of cabin fever and they just want out. These toys all support getting them out into the outdoor lifestyle. Of course, these purchases need to be moved out into the country somehow, which means sales for trucks, SUVs and crossovers are amping up in lockstep. This is good for the economy, but unfortunately those who hunger for fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, canoeing and powersports adventures have been frustrated by the ongoing auto industry shortages (such as vehicle micro-chips) that have dealer lots looking very empty. Still, despite these manufacturing and supply chain difficulties, the auto industry is surging ahead with new technologies and designs. In fact, the 2022 model year promises to be a high-water mark for vehicle introductions and new tech – electric propulsion in particular.
Here’s what you can expect to see for trucks and SUVs in the coming year.
- Toyota is bringing a new Tundra to market with a new engine.
- Compact pickups are back! Just look at the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz – and the Honda Ridgeline is updated.
- Nissan has finally undated it’s mid-size Frontier – 17 years after the last generational intro.
- Ford has beaten everyone to punch by introducing the F-150 Lightning. That’s right – all-electric.
- The new Bronco is here – watch out Jeep!
- Subaru unveils the Wilderness and it’s wild!
- Hybrid electric? Ford has one of those too.
- Big SUVs are popular and GM and Nissan are responding.
It’s been seven years since the Tundra was updated, so anticipation is high. The interior design and electronics should be updated, but the big news is that the thirsty 5.7L V8 is being retired. The likely replacement is the 3.5L V6, twin-turbo currently found in the Lexus. First drives will happen in November.
Hyundai Santa Cruz
This small truck that Hyundai calls a “Sport Adventure Vehicle” is bringing back the compact truck market. It will tow 5,000 lb, has four doors and a 5-ft bed when the tailgate is down. It’s well optioned up and has AWD modes. It’s on sale now.
Hot on the heels of its Santa Cruz, Ford has released a new compact pickup. Resurrecting a name from the 70s’ – the new Maverick compact pickup’s design is partly based on the current Escape model. Maverick comes as a five-passenger, four-door pickup only. It will be powered by a 2.5L hybrid that promises good fuel economy. It will also feature electronic AWD with drive modes like Mud/Rut and Sand, as well as Hill Descent Control.
This mid-sizer was last updated 2005. After a long 17 years waiting for an update, industry watchers and fans alike are expecting a lot from this 2022 model. We know it’s getting a new 3.8L direct injection V6 that makes 310hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic. The 4WD package comes with a high/low transfer case and will offer specific off-road packages. The new Frontier comes as either a King Cab (short wb) or a Crew Cab (long wb) with either a 5 or 6-ft bed. First drives are in October.
For 2022, the Ridgelines’ track is 20mm wider, giving it a more planted stance. It’s look and interior have been updated along with the electronics. However, what hasn’t changed is the powertrain. The new Ridgeline comes with the same 3.5L engine with the 9-speed transmission. This truck has car-like features and all-wheel drive. The all new Ridgeline trims will also feature 18-inch wheels.
Late 2021 arrivals are the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Both became larger, more capable and more connected. The key change to the architecture of both the Tahoe and the Yukon is the new independent rear suspension. GM also added magnetic ride control and air ride adaptive suspension. Inside there are more connected features like a standard 10-inch centre mounted touchscreen and an 8-inch diagonal instrument cluster display. Of course, they have 4G wi-fi. Engine choices include the 5.3L or the Duramax 3L inline-6 diesel. The 6.2L V8, rated at 420hp, comes standard on High Country. The Max Trailering Package includes a high-capacity radiator and cooling fan, an integrated trailer brake controller and a Hitch Guidance system with Hitch View feature.
The 2022 Pathfinder is a ground-up revamp, starting with a new face. Nissan’s Pathfinder also has a wider stance with blister fenders and a blunt, strong nose. Its power comes from the 3.5L V6 and all-new 9-speed automatic. Its AWD version is exclusively sold in Canada. Nissan’s off-road let’s the driver choose a traction mode from the 7-position drive and terrain mode selector. The new Pathfinder has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 lb.
This is another late arrival this year and it’s only just arriving at dealerships. The original Bronco debuted in 1966 as a small utility off-roader that was billed, for the first time ever, as a “sport utility vehicle” and this year it’s making a comeback. The 2022 Ford Bronco is a two-door convertible off-roader closely resembling a Jeep Wrangler. Ford is also offering a four-door version of the Bronco; again, taking a page from the Jeep book that proved a four-door SUV will sell well, if not better than a hard-core two-door model. Both Bronco two-and four-door models will provide an open-air experience. Two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system – left and right front sections and a rear section. Bronco, by the numbers, will have 11.6-inch ground clearance, a 29-degree break over angle, 37.2-degree departure angle and water fording capability of up to 33.5 inches. Two engines are available including the base 2.3L EcoBoost and the 2.7L EcoBoost V6. Ford says, new Bronco owners can choose from a lineup of more than 200 factory-backed accessories for maximum personalization.
Powertrain and Technical Updates
Ford has revealed the F-150 Lighting; a powerhouse that delivers 563hp and 775 lb-ft of torque pushed through dual in-board electric motors. It will come standard with 4WD. Built with a standard F-150 frame and body, it will support a max 2,000 lb payload and up to 10,000 lb of towing. A unique feature is the Ford Intelligent Backup Power, which can turn the truck into a power source for your home. With the ability to offload 9.6 kW of power it can serve the average home for three days in the event of a blackout. The standard-range battery claims 370 km of estimated range and an extended-range battery is targeting 483 km of range. Arriving in Spring 2022, F-150 Lightning will be available in four series and two battery options.
Another first for Ford this year is their fully hybrid engine based on the 3.5L EcoBoost. It’s called PowerBoost and is now available in the F-150. It offers a combined range of approximately 1,100 km on a single tank of gas.
Off-road packages are being adopted by cross-over builders like Subaru. It’s adding capability to its Forester and calling it the Wilderness. They claim it’s the most ruggedly built Forester ever and it comes with dual-function X-MODE system and all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch black painted wheels. It gains extra-tough body cladding and roof rails with increased static load capacity. There are also underbody skid plates and increased suspension height. Inside, the all-weather rubber floormats are easy to keep clean.