Like most automakers (and companies in general here in 2021), Toyota USA has an official YouTube page. It functions mostly like you would expect — alerting Toyota buyers about new sales events and giving exciting walkarounds of, say, the new Sienna minivan. (Which, to be fair, is a damn good minivan.) But there was one post last week that was curious, to say the least: Toyota posted an "Engines: 101" explainer about diesel engines.
What's so weird about Toyota talking about diesel?
The Toyota USA site posting about diesel engines is odd because, well, Toyota does not sell any diesel-powered vehicle in the United States right now. Doing so, naturally, incites some speculation, unless we believe Toyota is dropping tangential knowledge bombs on the masses purely for our edification.
That speculation, at least for now, centers on the new Toyota Tundra pickup. It's due to launch very soon, and Toyota has been dropping teasers ahead of the reveal. Plus, out of all the vehicles Toyota currently sells here, a full-size truck may be the best use case for a diesel engine as its primary benefits are better fuel efficiency than gasoline and putting out a tremendous amount of torque. (Ram and GM both offer diesel engine options for their full-size trucks, and Ford did until just recently.)
Besides, the new J300 Toyota Land Cruiser just launched with a 3.3-liter diesel that delivers 304 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That engine would presumably work on the Tundra's platform — though Toyota would have to get its emissions cleared for America.
On the other hand, Tundra teasers have clearly pointed to Toyota offering a hybrid powertrain in the Tundra. Ford just axed its 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel from the F-150 lineup because the fuel efficiency and torque from the hybrid made the less popular diesel redundant. And sales numbers may not justify Toyota having at least three engine options for the Tundra.
Is the diesel speculation related to the 4Runner or Tacoma?
Which begs the question — if Toyota is planning an oil-burning model for the US, could it be the 4Runner or Tacoma getting the diesel? Toyota looked like it might be teasing a diesel 4Runner back in 2019, after all. On paper, a diesel could add torque to enhance off-roading and present a more fuel-efficient option for both an SUV and a midsize pickup that dearly need it. Adding a new diesel option is one of the few big things Toyota could do to help the aging models fend off competition from the new Bronco and Wrangler until the new generations launch. And adding a diesel engine has certainly helped boost the overlanding appeal of the Chevy Colorado ZR2.
Or, hey, maybe Toyota USA just really wants to enhance our understanding of diesel engines.