Here’s Why Toyota Is Not Putting a Diesel Engine in the New 2022 Tundra

Toyota truck fans have been waiting 14 years for the third generation of the Tundra. Now it’s finally here: the new 2022 Toyota Tundra. You may be wondering if we will finally see a diesel Tundra. Sadly, even with the new generation there will be no Toyota Tundra diesel option. But wait. This is because Toyota insists its offering something even better.

New 2022 Toyota Tundra offers two engine options, neither is a diesel

The new 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup truck offers diesel engine like performance. | Toyota
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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Now that the 2022 Toyota Tundra release date is finally here, you can say goodbye to a Tundra with a V8 engine. That’s right, Toyota is doing away with the naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V8. This older engine had less power and worse fuel efficiency than the similarly-sized 5.7-liter HEMI. It is probably time for an upgrade, but Toyota’s new powerplant is a unique choice.

The Toyota Engine in every third-generation Tundra will be a twin-turbo V6. Its displacement is 3.44 liters, but Toyota advertises it as the 3.5L. Don’t let its small size fool you, like the Ford Raptor’s EcoBoost, the twin-turbo Toyota 3.5L makes big power.

The internal name for this engine is the V35A-FTS and Toyota has been using it in the Lexus LS 500 for years. In the full-size luxury sedan it makes 416 horsepower. For duty in Toyota’s largest truck, the engineers dialed in its turbos for maximum torque. The resulting engine makes just 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 100 lb-ft more than the outgoing Tundra V8.

So what’s the other engine option? Upmarket Toyota Tundras will feature the same V6 but with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission. Think a hybrid truck is sacreligious? Think again: When MotorTrend tested this iFORCE MAX option its reviewers were surprised by its “diesel-like” performance.

The Tundra’s hybrid drivetrain offers a flat “diesel-like” torque curve

There is no diesel engine available in the new 2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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The first iFORCE MAX equipped Tundra journalists got to test was the 2022 TRD Pro trim. The team at MotorTrend immediately took the truck off road and also tested its highway capabilities. Toyota told MotorTrend that it had shot for a “diesel-like” flat torque curve with its iFORCE MAX drivetrain. Still, the results shocked the journalists.

MotorTrend decided that the engine’s power is, “a perfect blend of brute force and civility.” The electric motor is tuned to eliminate any discernible turbo lag. The resulting truck, “pulls like a freight train,” whether off road or passing on the highway.

The iFORCE MAX improves the new 2022 Toyota Tundra’s performance

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Gasoline engines can be picky: they like to be spinning at a certain speed to make their maximum horsepower and torque. Diesel engines are a bit more obliging: many make substantial torque at low RPMs and continue to provide plenty of torque as they spin faster. This phenomenon is called a “flat” torque curve.

Electric motors make 100% of their potential torque at just 1 RPM. They continue to offer all of this torque no matter how fast they spin. This is a truly flat torque curve. Therefore, when Toyota targeted a diesel-like torque curve, its engineers paired a V6 with an electric motor.

This electric motor makes 100 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to get the new 2022 Toyota Tundra started and rolling up to 18 MPH. At that speed, the truck starts its internal combustion engine. Its electric motor continues to assist with acceleration until the V6’s turbochargers kick in. The result is a torquey drivetrain that never feels like a V6.

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