There has been a lot of hoopla about Toyota’s new fuel-efficient Tundra. The automaker tossed its naturally-aspirated V8 in favor of a twin-turbocharged V6, similar to Ford’s EcoBoost. Toyota also promised even better fuel mileage from a mid-2022 gasoline/electric hybrid version of the truck. But in the end, the numbers aren’t as impressive as some buyers expected from the Prius manufacturer. Here’s how the Tundra compares to Ram’s most efficient drivetrains.
The Toyota Tundra hybrid gets 22 mpg (combined fuel efficiency)
Toyota has badged its hybrid Tundra drivetrain as the i-FORCE MAX. This truck features a powerful electric motor/generator sandwiched between its twin-turbocharged V6 and ten-speed automatic transmission.
Whenever you stomp the brakes, this electric motor/generator unit switches on and helps the traditional brakes to slow the truck down. As the generator slows the truck, it also charges up a nickel battery that’s tucked under the Tundra’s seat.
When you start out again, this electric motor/generator launches the truck off the line. It actually accelerates all the way up to 18 mph before the truck fires up its gasoline engine.
The electric motor also fires up to smooth out shifts. And in tow/haul mode it can help the gasoline engine all the time. The result is 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque total. That’s more power and improved fuel efficiency over the outgoing V8.
But it seems that the Tundra hybrid is tuned for power rather than efficiency. According to Auto News, the 2WD i-FORCE MAX Tundra hybrid only received an efficiency rating of 20 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined). The 4WD version plummets to 18 city/24 highway mpg (20 combined).
The Ram 1500 mild hybrid also gets 22 mpg (combined)
The entry-level Ram 1500 is a hybrid that actually ties the top-trim Toyota Tundra’s mpg. This base-spec Ram engine is not even turbocharged. In addition, it does not offer a full hybrid drivetrain. That said, the efficient Ram does not come close to the Tundra’s power and towing capacity.
With its 2019 redesign, Ram introduced the eTorque mild hybrid system for its V6 and V8 engines. This system is a new electric motor that combines the functions of the engine’s starter and alternator. It augments the Ram’s start/stop technology by launching the truck from a standstill while the gasoline engine starts up. Like the Toyota hybrid, the Ram is capable of some regenerative braking as well.
Every Ram 1500 with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 also features eTorque. While the i-FORCE MAX is a $3400 option only available on upper-trim Tundra’s, Ram’s eTorque system comes in its base model trucks. If you opt for the Ram with the 5.7L HEMI V8, you can also upgrade this V8 with eTorque for $1,450.
A 2WD, V6 Ram 1500 maintains a fuel efficiency rating of 20 city/25 highway mpg (22 combined). The 2WD version gets 19 city/24 highway mpg (21 combined). The Ram 1500 with the V6 only makes 305 horsepower and 296 lb-ft of torque.
Overall, it’s impressive that the Ram 1500 can match the high-end Toyota Tundra hybrid’s mpg at a much lower price point. But again, the Tundra hybrid makes much more power than the Ram.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gets 26 mpg (combined)
If you are searching for a fuel-sipping half-ton truck, consider going diesel. While diesel engines have long been a popular option in heavy-duty trucks, smaller turbocharged diesels are becoming a popular option in half-ton pickups.
Since 2014, Ram has offered the 1500 with its EcoDiesel engine. It is a turbocharged V6 that displaces 3.0L. It is not to be confused with the 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel engine offered in Ram’s heavy-duty trucks.
In a 2WD Ram 1500, the EcoDiesel gets 22 city/32 highway (26 mpg). Going 4WD hurts your highway driving efficiency the most: 21 city/29 highway (24 mpg). Ram’s base-trim 1500 HFE pushes this highway efficiency up to 33 mpg.
Ram’s EcoDiesel engine option does cost $4,995 more than its eTorque V6 engine. But because Ram offers a diesel in even the cheapest trim levels of its 1500, you can get one a lot cheaper than you can get a Tundra i-FORCE MAX.
In addition, a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with a max towing package can pull up to 12,560 pounds. That’s a touch more than even the stoutest Toyota (12,000 pounds). That said, the Tundra i-FORCE MAX will probably accelerate quicker than the diesel Ram.
If you are interested in half-ton truck with an efficient diesel engine, also check out the Ford F-140 with the 3.0L turbocharged PowerStroke V6 or the Chevy Silverado with its 3.0L Duramax. Toyota offers no diesel options in the Tundra.