Is A Used 5.7-Liter Tundra as Good as Ram’s 5.7-Liter Hemi?
Ever noticed that both Ram and Toyota offered a half-ton truck with a 5.7-liter V8 for years? So which engine is the better deal? At one point, the Toyota Tundra’s 5.7 had slightly better mpg and power output. But over its 20-year lifespan, Ram has upgraded its 5.7-liter Hemi V8 to outperform any Tundra. Here’s the breakdown by year.
Is the Ram or Toyota 5.7-liter V8 more efficient?
Ram resurrected its “Hemi” nameplate for the 2003 model year. At first, this 5.7-liter V8 was not especially fuel efficient. According to FuelEconomy.gov, the EPA rated it at 13 mpg around town, 17 on the highway, and 14 combined. And that was for a 2WD model. That meant it wasn’t much better than the carbureted V8s of yesteryear.
In 2007, Toyota launched an all-new V8, its own 5.7-liter, called the i-FORCE. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Tundra’s V8 could get 18 mpg on the highway, 14 in the city, and earned 16 combined (2WD). At first, Toyota offered several Tundra engine options. But Toyota truck fans loved the 5.7 so much, that by 2021 it was the only engine available in the Tundra.
While Toyota ran its 5.7 mostly unchanged for 15 years (its mpg actually decreased as the truck got heavier), Ram increased its 5.7-liter Hemi’s mpg over the engine’s 20-year run. The main mechanical difference was the eight-speed ZF transmission Ram began to offer in 2013. This allowed the same truck to get 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway for 17 combined, launching it ahead of the Tundra.
But Ram did not stop there. The automaker then engineered multi-cylinder deactivation so the V8 could run on four cylinders on the highway. Finally, it pioneered a mild-hybrid (eTorque) system to smooth out the truck’s start/stop function. The result is a 2023 Ram 1500 that can get 18 city/23 highway mpg (20 combined).
Is Ram or Toyota’s 5.7-liter V8 more powerful?
When Ram first launched its 5.7-liter Gen-3 Hemi V8 in 2003, the engine made just 345 horsepower and 375 lb-f of torque. In 2007, Toyota outdid this with its own 5.7-liter which makes 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. In 2009, Ram saw and raised the Toyota’s output by bumping the Hemi to 390 horsepower and 407 lb-ft.
If you are shopping for a powerful Ram 1500 V8, you’ll want to opt for a 2009 or later truck. The only power increase since 2009 has been when Ram swapped to an electric power steering pump and claimed 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. The other major drivetrain upgrade is the eight-speed automatic which was available in 2013 and became standard later.
Interestingly, both Toyota and Ram offer a top-trim supercharged version of their V8s. The Ram’s is the famous “Hellcat” engine engineered by Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT). This is a ground-up redesign (its displacement is 6.2) with a factory-installed supercharger, rated for 700+ horsepower in the Ram 1500 TRX.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) engineered its own supercharger kit for the 5.7-liter Hemi. It is a dealer-installed option that predated the Hellcat by five years. Because it’s a dealer kit, you could order it in any Tundra. The regular cab/short bed supercharged Tundra with a TRD lowering kit was the world’s fastest full-size truck for years.
Should you get a Toyota Tundra or Ram 1500 V8?
This may be a matter of preference. The Tundra’s 5.7-liter V8 boasted slightly better numbers than the Hemi until Ram’s 2009 upgrade. But if you are looking at a nearly-new truck, know that Ram seriously upgraded its V8.
See how the two engines stack up in the table below:
|Tundra 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8||Ram 1500 5.7-liter Hemi V8|
|Torque||401 lb-ft||375 lb-ft (2003-2008)|
407 lb-ft (2009-2012)
410 lb-ft (2013-present)
|Original MPG||14 city/18 highway (16 combined) – 2007 2WD||13 city/17 highway (14 combined) – 2003 2WD|
|Recent MPG||13 city/17 highway (15 combined) – 2021 2WD||18 city/23 highway (20 combined) – 2023 2WD|
|Max tow rating||10,200 lbs (2021)||12,750 lbs (2023)|
Next, find out how the first 200k mile fifth-gen Ram is holding up or learn more about how the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 has changed over the years in the video below: