Which Is More Reliable: Ford’s F-150 PowerBoost or Toyota’s Tundra i-FORCE MAX?
The only fully-hybrid, full-size trucks available in 2023 are Ford’s F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota’s Tundra i-FORCE MAX. Many people are curious about how reliable these hybrid pickup trucks will prove to be. Ford has had several more model years to work out any mechanical issues with its PowerBoost. But Toyota’s Prius proves that hybrids can require even less maintenance than traditional vehicles. Here’s how they stack up.
The new third-generation Toyota Tundra suffered some reliability hiccups
Toyota released the third generation of its full-size Tundra pickup truck for the 2022 model year. Immediately, reports of reliability issues began to pile up.
Some owners experienced glitches with the premium infotainment screen option. A couple found their transfer case wouldn’t shift into 4WD. And several Tundra owners even reported a full-on engine failure that left their truck in limp mode.
Toyota reported that this issue was a malfunctioning turbocharger wastegate failing to release excess pressure. To make matters worse, sourcing a replacement part took weeks at first. But the automaker has found a new manufacturer for the wastegate, with better quality control. Toyota is also repairing any malfunctioning trucks free of charge.
The Toyota Tundra performs well considering supply-chain issues
Automotive journalist Ben Hardy pointed out that Toyota is attempting to source every component of a brand-new vehicle during a global supply-chain crisis. While other automakers are crippled by these issues, the Tundra “is a really well-built truck.”
Hardy did admit that the hybrid i-FORCE MAX Toyota Tundra has only been on the road a few months so that powertrain’s reliability still remains to be seen.
Hardy concluded, “Everyone’s having manufacturing issues right now. But it seems like Toyota’s been able to have things pretty well buttoned down.” He said of the wastegate issue, “It sounds like it was a one-time thing, essentially…And that’s better than you know what can be said about Ford’s twin-turbo V6 right now.”
You can watch the rest of his review in the video below:
The Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid has had time to prove itself
Ford released its first hybrid pickup truck–the F-150 PowerBoost–for the 2021 model year. This means that many of these trucks have been on the road for a long time. Andre Smirnov, Editor at The Fast Lane Truck, was actually able to drive an F-150 PowerBoost as his personal truck, then drive it daily.
After 15 months, Smirnov reported no issues with the truck’s turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 and PowerBoost hybrid system. He said, “This truck was never out of service..it never left me in need of another vehicle.” But he did admit, “It is a brand new truck, so it should do that.”
When he had his oil changed, he sent the old oil to a laboratory for analysis. The experts found only “typical” wear to the engine.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 can suffer misfires
Smirnov’s Ford F-150 PowerBoost oil test results were a relief because his truck threw a “Check Engine” light three times. All three times the code read “misfire,” it was an especially cold day in Colorado, and he had just fueled up. Also, the code always disappeared when Smirnov restarted the truck. He is still not sure exactly what happened but is not concerned.
For his job, Smirnov did a ton of towing, off-roading, and even charging electric cars. He even once used the Ford F-150’s inverter to power a house.
In the summer, he experienced a very different issue from the warning light: while pulling 10,000 pounds over Ike’s Gauntlet (one of the steepest passes around), the F-150 PowerBoost began to overheat. But it worked as designed, putting the truck in limp mode for a couple of miles, cooling the engine down, and then resuming towing at full power.
Because of his heavy use, Smirnov found the F-150 PowerBoost only returned a lifetime average of 21.3 MPG during its first 14 months. That’s a significant drop from the EPA and Ford’s promise of 23 MPG combined. But while towing it managed 12.8-13 MPG, which was better than Smirnov predicted.
Overall, Smirnov says he would buy it again. But he warns that drivers who don’t do much stop/go driving might not recoup the price of the hybrid powertrain upgrade. You can Smirnov’s full 14-month review of his Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid pickup truck in the video below:
Hybrid vehicles may need less maintenance
When UsedCars.com ranked the 10 most reliable decade-old sedans, two Toyota hybrids actually landed on its list: The Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry hybrid. You might think that with more moving parts, gas/electric hybrid vehicles would be less reliable. But data is demonstrating the exact opposite.
A hybrid vehicle’s electric motor/generator improves its MPG through regenerative braking. When you tap the brake pedal, this unit turns into a generator, slowing the car, charging its high-voltage battery, and preserving its regular brake components. Then when you hit the gas, this unit turns into a motor and launches the vehicle. This saves the internal combustion engine from the considerable wear of stop/go driving, helping it to last longer without maintenance.
While the Ford F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX have both suffered from slight, first-generation hiccups. But they both may someday prove to run longer without maintenance than their traditional counterparts.
Next, find out which of these two hybrid trucks gets the best fuel mileage.