There are only two fully-hybrid full-size pickup trucks available in 2023: Ford’s F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota’s Tundra i-FORCE MAX. Though these trucks actually boast very similar powertrains and power outputs, the Ford PowerBoost boasts much better fuel mileage. It also has a better record for reliability.
The Ford F-150 PowerBoost vs Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX: similar on paper
The interesting thing about comparing Ford’s PowerBoost and Toyota’s i-FORCE MAX hybrids is just how similar the stats of the two powertrains are. Ford debuted its PowerBoost drivetrain for the F-150’s 14th generation. This powertrain leveraged the tried-and-true 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6. But it sandwiched a 221 lb-ft electric motor/generator between the gasoline engine and ten-speed automatic transmission. The resulting hybrid truck can make 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque.
Toyota introduced its i-FORCE MAX hybrid for the third generation of its full-size Tundra pickup truck. Every second-generation Tundra will have some tune of the same 3.4-liter turbocharged V6 and ten-speed Aisin automatic transmission. The top-trim i-FORCE MAX adds an electric motor/generator for an output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque.
The Ford F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX offer very different fuel economy
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX has a nickel metal hydride battery tucked under its rear seat. The Ford F-150 i-FORCE MAX, however, has a lithium-ion battery installed beneath its bed. The Li-ion battery can charge and discharge faster.
In addition, the i-FORCE MAX electric motor/generator makes just 184 lb-ft of torque, but is tuned to increase the truck’s top-end. The PowerBoost’s electric motor/generator is rated at 221 lb-ft of torque, but is tuned to smooth out shifts and provide maximum regenerative braking.
As a result, the F-150 hybrid gets much better fuel mileage–according to the EPA’s FuelEconomy.com. The 4WD Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX gets 19 city/22 highway MPG (20 combined). Choosing a 2WD truck improves this to 20 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined). The 4WD 2023 Ford F-150 PowerBoost earned 23 city/23 highway MPG (23 combined). Ordering the 2WD version bumps these numbers up to 25 across the board.
The Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX hasn’t had a chance to prove its reliability
Toyota began building its i-FORCE MAX Tundra drivetrain during the second half of 2022. The oldest hybrid Toyota pickup trucks have only been on the road for a few months. It leverages an internal combustion engine from Lexus sports cars, but the rest of its hybrid powertrain is as-yet untested. This is one of the reasons J.D. Power gave the 2023 Toyota Tundra a 70/100 for predicted reliability–across all powertrains. This is one of the worst scores in the truck’s history.
A small number of the very first 2022 Toyota Tundra suffered from malfunctions when the turbocharger’s waste gate failed to relieve excess pressure as it should. Toyota immediately recalled and dismantled these trucks to find and implement a solution.
The 2023 Ford F-150, on the other hand, earned an incredible 86/100 for predicted reliability. This includes its combined scores for every powertrain option, but reflects much better on its flagship PowerBoost drivetrain.
Though hybrid vehicles have many more moving parts than traditional, combustion-only vehicles, they are proving to be some of the most reliable around. The hybrid Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry, for example, both earned a place on the list of the most reliable 10-year-old used sedans.
How can a hybrid be reliable? Well as the electric motor/generator assists with braking–through its regenerative braking process–it actually preserves the vehicle’s traditional brake components. In addition, it helps with acceleration and saves the gasoline engine from the wear of stop/go driving. Though hybrids eventually need a battery replacement, Toyota has proven it can engineer batteries that usually last as long as the powertrain’s other major components.
Next, read whether the Hybrid Ford F-150 is a smart buy or watch a PowerBoost vs i-FORCE MAX drag race in the video below: