For years now, the Toyota Tundra has languished in the second tier of full-size pickup trucks on sale here in the United States. That's not for any lack of capability, mind you; it's largely just that American truck buyers are incredibly brand-loyal, making it hard to woo buyers to trade in their Fords, Chevys, GMCs and Rams no matter how dependable and reliable your truck may be.
In part, perhaps, as a result, Toyota hasn't exactly fast-tracked a new Tundra. The current model has been on sale for almost 14 years now with few changes — a timeframe in which by contrast, Ford has rolled out the 12th-, 13th- and 14th-generation versions of the F-Series. That's finally set to change later this year, when Toyota will roll out an all-new third-gen Tundra — and as it turns out, it may have an engine capable of humbling its foes.
That's the word from Motor Trend, through and interview with Toyota North America executive vice president of sales, Bob Carter. Carter informed MT that the new 2022 Tundra will pack two all-new powerplants: the standard one will be "a core powertrain that's substantially more powerful in terms of horsepower and torque than the current V8," according to Carter, while the optional one will reportedly employ new technology "that will blow you away."
"We have our concept and our own technology," Carter told MT. "We're in it to win it."
Enigmatic, sure — but not so much that we can't draw some reasonable assumptions. First off, if the standard setup makes more power and torque than the outgoing Tundra's 5.7-liter V8, that means it makes more than 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque — and Carter said it's "substantially" more powerful, which means we'd predict figures of at least, say, 400 horses and 420 lb-ft. Given all the rumors and reports that Toyota is moving away from its venerable V8 in the Land Cruiser in favor of turbo V6 power, we're guessing the 2022 Tundra will do the same.
What, then, of the optional powertrain? Well, if it's an option, it's presumably more powerful than the base engine. That could mean the twin-turbo V8 that Toyota may be working on, but that doesn't seem to fit the bill of a distinct concept or Toyota's "own technology." Toyota has been to known to dabble hydrogen powertrains, but the lack of infrastructure that stymies the Mirai means there wouldn't be much of a market for it.
No, if we had to guess about a way to make a more powerful truck that's distinctly Toyota, we'd have to guess hybrid. After all, the Prius is largely synonymous with the tech, and in recent years, Toyota has been on a quiet spree of spreading that tech across its lineup — the RAV4, the Highlander, the Sienna. And Ford's hybrid F-150 PowerBoost notwithstanding, hybrid trucks have yet to achieve much prominence — so Toyota could help play a role in defining the category.
How it might differ from the PowerBoost (or, say, the Ram 1500's mild-hybrid eTorque setup), well, that remains to be seen. But if Toyota can match or beat the F-150 hybrid's 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque, well, it'll be pretty damn exciting. We'll find out more closer to when the 2022 Tundra enters production in September.