I don’t need to tell you that pickups are bigger and more shouty about being big than they’ve ever been. The trucks are not OK and haven’t been for a while now. With the reveal of the 2022 Tundra, Toyota’s full-size has become that teensy bit more jacked, to match the ‘roid rage of its contemporaries in the field.
One of the interesting byproducts of the continued emphasis in the truck grille is the progressive, shall we say, creativity that goes into the inserts. We’re used to seeing grilles differentiated in finish and color based on trim, or maybe a special, exclusive design for the performance mud-runner version. But these days, the face of a new pickup can vary quite a bit depending on how much you spend.
Taking the new Tundra as an example, we can see a range of potential mugs up and down the various packages. Here’s the slotted grille on a Limited, for one:
It’s very late-aughts Ford, isn’t it? Back when they were affixing Gillette blades to the front of every Fusion and Flex. But this is probably the most traditional or boring Tundra grille; we haven’t even really started yet. Next is the front of the SR5 TRD, where things begin to get slightly complicated:
My issue with this one is that there’s a bit much going on, because the hexagonal pattern that comprises the bottom three fourths of the grille leads to a harsh juxtaposition against the bar with just another rectangle inside of it, underneath the ovular Toyota logo. These shapes don’t really work together at all, but I assume aesthetic consistency wasn’t a major concern during the Tundra’s design process. Or at least it wasn’t as crucial as striking fear.
Perhaps Toyota made it deliberately messy to bug potential buyers into stepping up to the TRD Pro model, which features largely the same grille but swaps that insignia out for more appropriate TOYOTA badging underlined with an integrated LED lightbar:
The final Tundra grille is the most upscale, and it’s reserved for the top-of-the-line Platinum version, as such, it’s all metal-and-chrome-look, with intricate apertures that stop just short of triggering my trypophobia. I don’t hate it — even though it looks like it could shred the world’s biggest block of Colby-Jack — and it plays well off the jewel-like LEDs on the bumper:
These are the grilles you can look forward to dominating the view through your car’s rear window, particularly if you own a small hatchback and sit six feet lower to the ground than most other motorists. I’d tell you to study and remember them, but you’re going to become real familiar with them all real soon, like it or not.