Why It Matters That Toyota’s New Truck Motor Won a Wards Automotive Award

Truck motors are not efficient. They are, though, powerful and stout, and truck buyers like tried-and-true versions of engines they know because they put them through a lot. So, many were skeptical when Toyota ditched its trusted V8 engines and instead put the new i-FORCE MAX engine, which is a complicated twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid component in the new Tundra. But, the new engine has been named one of Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems of 2022.

Why does the Wards award matter?

A CAD drawing of the i-FORCE MAX powertrain
Toyota’s i-FORCE MAX powertrain | Toyota

Truck buyers ask a lot of their engines, and big power is only part of it. Chevy, Ford and Dodge have been using the same basic engines for years in gas and diesel versions because buyers trust them. Those engines, however, are being constantly updated, like Ram’s hybrid system, but they rarely change the names or anything significant. Long live the Hemi, right?

So, when Toyota launched the i-FORCE MAX V6 engine, it’s understandable that many would be skeptical. The new award could help ease many people’s minds about the new engine. Ward’s awards are well respected in the industry and recognize engineering prowess.

The Tundra is now the most-powerful Toyota

The Tundra’s i-FORCE MAX engine makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft of torque in the full-sized Tundra truck. The top engine in the Supra, Toyota’s sports car, makes a comparatively paltry 382 horsepower. That big power in the i-FORCE MAX isn’t just powerful, it gets better gas mileage than V8s. The Tundra gets 20 mpg in the city, and 24 mpg on the highway. It also allows the truck to tow 11,450 pounds.

The i-FORCE MAX could be in more vehicles

Black Toyota Sequoia Limited hybrid SUV parked on a dirt road with an Airstream trailer, trees visible in the background.
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

The i-FORCE MAX is now the upgraded engine in the Tundra, where its power makes sense. It’s now the standard motor in the 2023 Sequoia full-sized SUV. Toyota is planning a new version of the Tacoma mid-sized truck, and some are speculating that the new engine could find its way into that truck, too. But, it’s a large motor that may not make sense for Toyota’s smaller trucks or SUVs.

What other engines did Wards recognize?

The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup’s design cues blend bold and futuristic elements. All the while, the shape remains instantly recognizable for an all-electric future.
2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup | GMC

Wards doesn’t focus on just truck motors or gas motors. Instead, this year the reviewers recognized a wide variety of new powerplants for a variety of reasons.

This year’s other nine award winners include:
Acura Integra A-Spec – 1.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cyl.
 Ford F-150 Lightning – Electric Propulsion System
 GMC Hummer EV – Electric Propulsion System
 Hyundai IONIQ 5 – Electric Propulsion System
Lucid Air – Electric Propulsion System
Mercedes-Benz AMG EQS – Electric Propulsion System
Nissan Rogue – 1.5L Variable-Compression Turbocharged DOHC 3-Cyl.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe – 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cyl. PHEV
Stellantis Jeep Grand Wagoneer – 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6

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