1 Full-Size Pickup Truck Has Killed All Its Gas-Guzzling, Naturally-Aspirated Engines

Pickup truck manufacturers are experimenting with efficient turbocharged engines and even hybrid powertrains. Most trucks still also offer traditional, gas-guzzling, naturally-aspirated V8s. But Toyota has tossed the Tundra’s old V8 powerplant in favor of a new twin-turbocharged V6 for the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

The 2021 Toyota Tundra’s V8 was outdated

Promo photo of a brown Tundra pickup truck with new V6 i-FORCE engine.
2022 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition | Toyota

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Toyota sold its second-generation Tundra pickup truck from 2007 through 2021. The automaker refreshed the truck in 2014, but by 2021, the Tundra was lagging behind the rest of the half-ton pickup segment.

By 2021, the only engine Toyota offered in the Tundra was a 5.7-liter V8. This powerplant gave up both power and fuel mileage to Ram’s similarly sized 5.7-liter HEMI V8.

By 2021, Ram had been equipping every 1500 with an eight-speed automatic. Ford and Chevrolet had pioneered a ten-speed automatic for their full-size pickup trucks. But Toyota was still pairing the Tundra’s V8 with a six-speed automatic.

When MotorTrend reviewed the 2021 Tundra, the publication was not impressed. It said the Tundra suffered from “dated technology” and an “inefficient engine” that resulted in “antiquated driving dynamics.”

Toyota is only offering the 2022 Tundra with an all-new V6

San Antonio factory workers assembling a Toyota Tundra V6 engine.
Tundra engine assembly | Toyota

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For the Tundra’s 2022 redesign, Toyota made a dramatic change. As it redesigned its full-size pickup truck from the ground up it decided to delete its V8 engine option altogether. It replaced the naturally-aspirated powerplant with a twin-turbocharged V6.

The new i-FORCE engine is a 3.44-liter V6 that has been proving its mettle in a Lexus coupe for four years. Every 2022 Tundra will feature some version of the same engine.

The entry-level Tundra SR has a detuned V6 that makes 348 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. Every other mid-trim Tundra comes with a V6 tuned for 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. This improves on the outgoing V8’s 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. And a premium hybrid engine makes even more power.

Not only has Toyota improved the Tundra’s output, but it has boosted its fuel efficiency as well. A 2WD 2021 Tundra only got 13 city/17 highway mpg (15 combined). The 2WD Tundra for 2022 gets 18 city/24 highway mpg (20 combined).

Toyota offers a hybrid version of its turbo V6

Mesquite brown 1794 Edition Toyota pickup truck parked in front of a barn for a publicity photo, trees visible in the background.
2022 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition | Toyota

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Toyota also engineered an all-new premium hybrid engine option for its 2022 Tundra. This i-FORCE MAX powerplant will be available mid-year. It incorporates a powerful motor/generator between the truck’s V6 and ten-speed automatic. This unit is capable of regenerative braking, as well as contributing up to 184 lb-ft of torque.

According to MotorTrend, the engineers at Toyota were particular about how and when the i-FORCE MAX’s electric motor would give the Tundra a boost. It is capable of launching the truck from a standstill, while the V6 starts up. It also continues to assist the engine until the turbochargers kick in. Finally, it can smooth out the transmission’s shifts for seamless acceleration.

You can adjust the amount of regenerative braking an i-FORCE MAX Tundra exerts. In addition, driving modes such as TOW/HAUL tune the amount of help the electric motor gives the traditional powertrain. The resulting truck is rated for 20 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined).

You can add the i-FORCE MAX hybrid on most Tundra trim levels. Toyota also includes it as standard equipment on the TRD Pro and Capstone trims.

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