Endangered Species: When Will the V8 Pickup Truck Go the Way of The Dodo?
In 2024, you’ll have your choice of five V8-powered pickup trucks. By 2025, there will only be a couple left. The V8 pickup truck is not long for this world. So when will this icon finally go extinct?
- Toyota Tundra: Only available with a turbocharged V6
- Nissan Titan: Unavailable after the 2024 model year
- Ram 1500: Likely dropping its Hemi V8 for a turbocharged I6 in 2025
What truck has a V8 engine?
Most automakers are currently happy to sell you a full-size pickup truck with a V8 engine. The only exception is Toyota, which only offers its Tundra with a turbocharged V6. But you had better hurry; it looks like most V8 truck options will be gone by 2025.
The Nissan Titan has been a holdout; this automaker only offers its full-size pickup truck with a naturally aspirated 5.6-liter V8. But this strategy has not been working out for Nissan, and it just announced it is killing the half-ton Titan after the 2025 model year.
We will probably be forced to say goodbye to the V8-powered Ram at the same time. Chrysler built its first Hemi V8 in 1951, and you can still get a Hemi in the 2024 Ram 1500 or Ram’s heavy-duty trucks. But 2025 Ram 1500s powered by the 3.0-liter “Hurricane” I6 are taking test runs up and down Woodward Avenue in Detroit. And while Ford and GM build diesel V8s, the heavy-duty Ram’s diesel option is already a turbo I6, the Cummins 6.7-liter.
General Motors made headlines when it offered its half-ton Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks with a 2.7-liter turbocharged I4, and again when it made this the default base powerplant. This efficient and powerful engine is gaining momentum. But GM still also offers a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter V8 in its half-ton trucks.
While GM’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel I6 is the most efficient half-ton engine available, it isn’t cheap enough to be a V8 replacement. So unless the automaker rolls out a brand-new engine, we can expect its V8s to survive into the next generation of the Silverado/Sierra (due out in 2025).
Ford pioneered turbocharged truck engines with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost F-150 debuting in 2011. The automaker has continued offering its naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote V8 as an F-150 option. We won’t see the 15th-generation F-150 until 2027 or 2028, so we can expect the V8 to stay on the spec sheet for at least this long. But with more states legislating what dealerships can have displayed on the lot, the V8 may be exclusively a special order soon.
What will be the final pickup truck with a V8 engine?
The final V8 pickup truck available will be a Ford or General Motors (Chevy/GMC). By 2030, both automakers will probably go to exclusively turbocharged four and six-cylinders in their half-tons. But they may both keep their turbodiesel V8s for heavy-duty trucks, for a surprisingly long time.
By 2030, you may be unable to order any half-ton with a naturally aspirated V8 engine. That’s right, both the Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 and Ford F-150 may go to smaller turbocharged engines exclusively. Half-ton trucks are more heavily regulated than their heavy-duty counterparts. What is more, their MPG is an increasingly important selling point.
But heavy-duty diesel trucks may be around for a while. Well into the electrification revolution. Why? Because there isn’t yet a better widespread technology for trailering.
Diesel V8 trucks may be around for a while
Current electric vehicles have a limited range. Eight-hundred-volt DC fast-charging may make EV cars competitive with ICE cars. But EV trucks will lag behind. While a big battery can give them ample range, it also makes them slow to charge. Add in that trailering can slice an electric truck’s range in half, and EVs are currently an ineffective solution for long-distance towing. It’s doubtful that the Tesla semi truck can haul anything heavier than potato chips on a long haul.
Multiple automakers are working on a better battery chemistry. And this will be the key to electric towing fleets. But it still may be generations away.
Multiple companies are working on hydrogen fuel cell semi-trucks. But considering how many years most semi trucks stay on the road, converting the entire industry will take decades. Semi trucks will remain diesel for years, and trucks stops along with them. From a fuel perspective, a diesel pickup truck is future-proof.
So what about a regular pickup truck buyer interested in towing long distances? Their best choice may soon be a heavy-duty truck with a turbo diesel. This is a tried-and-true technology, and diesel truck stops will remain open for years. And if they choose a Ford or GM truck, chances are its diesel will be a V8.
While some European countries–and US states–are considering full combustion bans for 2035, other states are vetoing combustion bans. As long as there’s a market and combustion is allowed, Detroit will likely keep putting old engines in its latest trucks. There is a chance that, in some places, you’ll still be able to buy a pickup truck with a diesel V8 in 2040 and beyond.
Next, find out whether your kids will be allowed to restore internal combustion cars, or learn which automaker is engineering an all-new V8 in the video below: