Toyota shocked the automotive world by killing its full-size Tundra pickup trucks‘ V8 engine option for the 2023 model year. The automaker devoted its energy to creating an efficient and powerful twin-turbocharged V6 instead. The new premium powertrain is a hybrid that achieves a “diesel-like” flat torque curve. That said, this complicated Tundra hybrid gives up several mpg to the Detroit Three’s dependable turbodiesel drivetrains.
The hybrid Toyota Tundra offers a ‘diesel-like’ torque curve
Diesel engines are a favorite powerplant of many pickup truck drivers. This is partly because diesels offer bountiful low rpm torque. This low-end torque results in a “flat” torque curve which gives a diesel truck its unique driving characteristics.
Toyota targeted a “diesel-like” flat torque curve when it engineered its new hybrid Tundra powertrain: the i-FORCE MAX. To accomplish this, the automaker installed an electric motor between the truck’s V6 and ten-speed. This motor makes 184 lb-ft of torque from zero rpm. It can launch the truck and rapidly propel it up to 18 mph while the V6 starts up.
Once the hybrid Tundra’s gasoline V6 is running, its electric motor continues to assist with acceleration until its turbochargers build pressure. At this point the electric motor smooths out the transmission’s shifts and recharges its 48-volt battery whenever you tap the brakes.
The i-FORCE MAX option makes the Tundra efficient in stop/go traffic
The regenerative braking function of the hybrid Tundra’s i-FORCE MAX adds a couple of mpg to its city fuel efficiency and one or two mpg to its combined fuel efficiency. It does not help the truck much on the highway.
The 4WD Tundra equipped with a hybrid earned an EPA rating of 19 city/22 highway mpg (20 combined). You can see the traditional Tundra and hybrid Tundra’s fuel mileage compared in the table below:
|2WD Toyota Tundra (non-hybrid)||4WD Toyota Tundra (non-hybrid)||2WD Toyota Tundra (hybrid)||4WD Toyota Tundra (hybrid)|
|City Fuel Efficiency||18 mpg||17 mpg||20 mpg||19 mpg|
|Highway Fuel Efficiency||23 mpg||22 mpg||24 mpg||22 mpg|
|Combined Fuel Efficiency||20 mpg||19 mpg||22 mpg||20 mpg|
The 2022 Toyota Tundra hybrid is not as fuel efficient as Detroit’s diesel trucks
Toyota successfully achieved diesel-like performance with its hybrid Tundra pickup truck–according to MotorTrend. The automaker even increased the Tundra’s towing capacity by nearly 2,000 pounds. The 2022 Tundra’s maximum tow rating still trails the Detroit Three’s maximum half-ton tow ratings by a hair, but it is a competitive 12,000 pounds.
Bet even though the Toyota Tundra’s hybrid engine option may be a diesel competitor in performance and towing, it can’t touch the fuel efficiency of Detroit’s turbodiesels. See how the EPA fuel economy rating of the i-FORCE MAX hybrid stacks up to diesel-powered half-ton trucks in the table below:
|4WD Ford F-150 diesel (2021)||4WD Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel||4WD Ram 1500 diesel||4WD Toyota Tundra hybrid|
|Engine||Powerstroke 3.0-liter V6||Duramax 3.0-liter I6||EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V6||i-FORCE MAX 3.4-liter V6 gasoline hybrid|
|City Fuel Efficiency||20 mpg||22 mpg||21 mpg||19 mpg|
|Highway Fuel Efficiency||27 mpg||26 mpg||29 mpg||22 mpg|
|Combined Fuel Efficiency||23 mpg||24 mpg||24 mpg||20 mpg|
Next, find out how much money you can save when you spring for the Toyota Tundra hybrid or see Ram and Chevy’s half-ton diesel trucks go head-to-head in the video below: