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Toyota shocked the truck world when it announced that it would build every third-generation Tundra pickup truck with a V6 engine. The 2022 truck’s premium powertrain is not a V8, but a powerful new i-FORCE MAX hybrid. So can upgrading to this expensive engine actually save you money in the long run?

Buying the i-FORCE MAX Tundra will not save you money on the highway

A white Toyota Tundra TRD Pro driving over rocks while navigating an off-road trail in the woods.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro (hybrid) | Toyota

Upgrading your Toyota Tundra to an i-FORCE MAX equipped hybrid is not cheap. Firstly, you must pay at least $47,550 for a 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited or higher trim level. Then you must configure your truck with the larger CrewMax cab so Toyota has room to install the hybrid battery under the rear seat. This will run you at least $49,600. Finally, you have to shell out an additional $3400 for the hybrid upgrade, for a tidy starting MSRP of $3400.

After spending all of this money, you might be shocked to hear that you won’t improve your highway fuel efficiency over a 2022 Tundra SR5 that starts at $41,455. The EPA awarded both the non-hybrid and hybrid 4WD Tundra a highway fuel efficiency rating of 22 mpg.

The hybrid engine improves the Toyota Tundra’s fuel mileage around town

Promo photo of a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro parked in the middle of a desert.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro (hybrid) | Toyota

Because the hybrid Toyota Tundra has to lug around heavy batteries, it is not especially fuel-efficient on the highway. But driving around town in stop/go traffic the advanced powertrain can really shine.

The i-FORCE MAX Tundra powertrain includes an electric motor/generator sandwiched between the truck’s twin-turbocharged V6 and ten-speed automatic. When you tap your brakes, this unit helps slow the truck and recharges the 48-volt battery underneath the back seat. Then when you accelerate, the electric motor launches the truck while the V6 engine starts up. It continues to smooth out shifts and contribute power until the turbochargers kick in.

For this reason, hybrid pickup trucks deliver an exceptionally flat torque curve and improve fuel efficiency in stop/go driving configurations. Check out the EPA fuel ratings of the Tundra in the table below:

2WD Toyota Tundra (non-hybrid)4WD Toyota Tundra (non-hybrid)2WD Toyota Tundra (hybrid)4WD Toyota Tundra (hybrid)
City Fuel Efficiency18 mpg17 mpg20 mpg19 mpg
Highway Fuel Efficiency23 mpg22 mpg24 mpg22 mpg
Combined Fuel Efficiency20 mpg19 mpg22 mpg20 mpg

Is the hybrid Toyota Tundra worth it?

If you are already buying a 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited, Platinum, or 1794 Edition, and do over 1,000 miles of stop/go driving a year, then upgrading to the hybrid Tundra might be a good financial choice. Otherwise, you are unlikely to make your money back.

The premium interior of a Toyota Tundra pickup truck, a city visible outside its windshield.
2022 Toyota Tundra interior | Toyota

Upgrading to a hybrid Toyota Tundra will cost you $3400–if you are already purchasing a Limited, Platinum, or 1794 Edition trim level. For this price, you do not improve your highway mpg much, but you do add about 2 mpg to your city fuel mileage–according to the EPA.

Put another way, for every 100 miles of stop/go city driving you do, you will save about half a gallon of gasoline. Depending on where you live, this means you’ll save $2-$3 on fuel for every 100 miles of stop/go driving you would do anyway. Therefore, to save $3400 you would need to complete at least 1,100 miles of stop/go driving.

If you were not going to spring for a Tundra Limited before you began to consider a hybrid truck, remember that you can get into an entry-level Tundra for $35,950. That is $17,050 less than the cheapest i-FORCE MAX Tundra. You would need to complete at least 5,600 miles of stop/go driving to pay for the difference between the cheapest hybrid Tundra and the cheapest regular Tundra.

Are you still intrigued by the new i-FORCE MAX engine? See it tested in the video below:


The New Light-Duty Toyota Tundra Can Tow More Than the Heavy-Duty Nissan Titan XD