Toyota V-6 Engine Production Boom – Fuel Efficient Tundra Package Coming

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Toyota will invest $150 million to increase V-6 production to 362,000 units. While many think Tacoma demand will take a lot of these engines, could we see a fuel-efficient package coming to the Tundra (ala Ram 1500)? Probably.

Toyota V-6 Engine Production Boom - Fuel Efficient Tundra Package Coming

Full-size trucks are making huge gains in MPG. Is the Toyota Tundra next?

The sad truth for most full-size trucks owners it that MPG stinks and has for a long time. That is a big reason why the Ram 1500 made big news with their 25 MPG (highway) estimates. Talking with a Ram representative, they are very proud of this achievement without many of the “gadgets” used by Ford and GM like turbochargers or cylinder deactivation. Most of the improvements in MPG came from aerodynamic improvements and improved powertrain efficiency. Although, adding the active grille shutters and air ride suspension probably didn’t hurt either.

Toyota showed off a lot of aerodynamic improvements from the aerofins to the tailgate on the 2014 Tundra. This has led to a lot of speculation as to just how much those improvements will transfer into MPG estimates. With those numbers still not available it is anybody’s guess, yet our guess is 1-2 MPG.

Our guess is that, just a guess. Could we see a 2014 Tundra 4.0L V-6 4×2 regular cab reach 24 MPG on the highway? Consider, the current model reaches 20 MPG and that when Ram released their numbers, they jumped up 25% more than previous models. A 25% increase means the Tundra could reach the 24 MPG or higher mark.

Historically, automakers have built these fuel efficient pickup packages only to see them be BIG sales duds. But, with the gasoline prices increasingly hitting $4/gallon, could these packages be a hit? That is a big question that will be answered this fall.

What do you think? Does it matter to you at all for Toyota to offer a fuel efficient Tundra package?

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  1. Mickey says:

    I’m not much on V6. Had a GM back in 77. Don’t ever want another one. For 25mpg I came close with my trip down to West Palm Beach. Over 400 mile trip I got 24.9mpg. I did only 55mph on I-95. Yes I had quite a few haters on the road while doing this. Most of this happen when I passed I-4 in Daytona when 3 lane interstate dropped to two lane. I can look at it another way being that in two payments my loan is paid off and will have plenty to spend on gas. I know the V6 can do what towing I need. It depends on whether I want a new truck and payment also. I just dropped $32k for a 6kW Solar power and Solar power Hot water heater. I’m starting to feel better watching the meter go backwards. FPL buys back the power I send them. Now my home improvement loan is the same amount my average power bill. Rather pay for investment over power company. My upcoming bill will be lower but my following bill should be under $15 the most. Able to watch through computer how much the solar panels are providing and how much I sold to FPL. My highest I seen was 5.98kW. The least amount I seen during the cloudy day was the meter standing still all day.

  2. Larry says:

    For most, a V8 is the only engine but, I have been driving a 3.0L V6 T100 for 18 years now. It is more then up to the task for modest loads and has always yielded 19 MPG empty. A handful of times, I have had to run it way over loaded. It just won’t pull grades at 50 but so what. The new V6 motors have much more HP and torque then my old motor. I like the option of a smaller V6. Now if only they match it with the option of the 6 speed manual transmission.

    The truth is that unless it’s a powerful V6 like in the new Ram 1500 the market will not even look at it. I might be the only one who would think it’s okay.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Without digging too deep, I would say the Ram 1500 with a V-6 is comparable on Torque and HP. Really, the advantage that the Ram has is in fuel economy numbers. This is related to having an 8-speed transmission and being a lighter weight.

      Currently, the new Tundra pickups come with a V-6 and a six-speed transmission. It is simply a heavier truck than the Ram and that is why fuel economy drops.

      Now, towing capacity and reliability, the Tundra beats the Ram hands down. It really is what you want. The market still hasn’t really determined if the Ram is up to task and the numbers say that Ram really isn’t selling that many more pickups than they did in 2011.

      Fuel economy sounds nice in full-size trucks and draws customers in, but true truck buyers could care less.


      • Anonymous says:


        I think you are right in that truck buyers don’t seem to care much about how much they spend on fuel. To me that is a very foolish view of things, money is a tool which has many uses and is way to valuable to pump out a tail pipe.

        While businesses have the ability to expense off fuel as an operating cost, it’s still foolish not to conserve fuel and keep costs down. I have 2 neighbors with monster Ford F350 diesels which pull big 5th wheels. One told me he gets 11 MPG if he keeps the speed under 75 MPH. I would still need to calculate that myself to believe it. My guess is that he is looking at the digital read out and the thing is getting 9 pulling that kind of load when figuring real world start and stop, passing etc. It seems that many can not longer divide miles by gallons or perhaps they never could. Not much chance of me ever spending 50,000 on a truck even though I have the cash to do it.

        One thing for sure is that many people do not understand what is being mandated on their light trucks. Because of the Feds I doubt a 1/2 ton truck will be of much use in 15 years when considering the cost.

        I for one think people are way too hung up on 350 HP and 350 LBs of torque. The modern V6 has the power for 90 percent of what most of us need. There aren’t all that many people who need to tow 5000 pounds let alone above 10,000. The only time my small V6 is in issue even when towing my boat is on long grades and that only lasts a few minutes. It’s not worth the cost of the 10 MPG gas motor for those few times. I really like the F250 suspension but no way will I buy a 6.2 liter gas motor.

        Another issue. I do almost all the service work on my trucks. Timing belts/water pumps/ everything I can. I have rebuilt many engines over the years. While I no longer do clutches I have done many. Trying to get to a spark plug on these big V8s is a mess. They can’t even put the oil filter in a place which is easy to deal with. I have seen the new RAM v6 setup. Service will not be too bad. Serviceability to me is a top issue and truck reviewers never even mention it. Have you or anyone every read a truck review where the author comments about how bad it will be to replace the plug or oil filter. All we read about is how pretty the truck is and how now the dash is laid out. Like I have said in the past, the 1/2 ton truck is the modern day Chevy Impala. People don’t even think about it’s ability to do real work.

        Americans are walking on thin ice with all this stuff. Most won’t even change their own oil or filters any more. They are pouring borrowed money down holes and out tail pipes. My view is buy the truck I need not the truck I want. I really need 4 cylinder Tacoma but I too want a bit more.

        I say bring on the non-turbo V6 with 250 ft/lb and i will live with going 50 up the long grades. Better yet bring on the 3.0L V6 diesel like Ram is doing next year. It won’t be fast but should pull 1/2 tons truck loads just fine.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:


          Good points as always. I would say you definitely represent a sub-set the buyer’s market that isn’t always taken into consideration by truck makers. Yet, I’m listening and asking those questions!

          On another note, you bring up an interesting point on truck reviews. I am just now working out the logistics of getting a 2013 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax as a press vehicle for a review. We are really stoked as it will be our first press vehicle and really shows the growth in the site. Here is my question though: What do you want to see in a truck review? I might create a new post asking this question. Let me know.


          • Larry says:


            I will always look at trucks as work tools.

            While I understand most want luxury and look for that stuff in reviews, I want to see technical stuff.

            I want to know how well service points are laid out. Plug access, oil filter, hoses etc. The 2007 Subaru Impreza has the oil filter under the engine and it’s a pain to get to it. The newer engines have the oil filter right on top of the engine. Talk about the obvious solution. To change the oil filter on my T100 I have to drop the front skid plate before I can reach it. This is just bad design and we shouldn’t find out about it after we get the truck home.

            Look at the F250 diesel. Has there been 1 review which mentions that major engine work requires that the cab has to be lifted off the truck? That alone would prevent me from even considering an F series diesel. Talk about stupid and it’s the job of a buyer to know about this stuff before they shell out 50,000. Pages and pages on how nice the front seat is and how pretty the grill is.

            Zero to 60 times? For a truck that’s about the last thing I want to know.

            Since the auto trans is standard, how well does it work on grade. Does is start hunting for gears which, means the torque converter is unlocked half the time or more. I have a feel most who write reviews don’t know what a torque converter is.

            What is the speed of a turbo fan under load when the engine is running at 5000 RPM. How is the thing cooled, how do they get the heat out of the thing. Do the bearing get oil.

            If I go with an EcoBoost turbo type motor does the increased pressure mean I need higher octane fuel?

            The first time I looked under the hood of an F250 with that monster diesel my though was, you have got to be kidding me. How would I ever change a glow plug on that thing and it shouldn’t have any in the first place. It should have a pre-heater like the Cummins does.

            I really don’t care about fancy photos of the trucks. I want photos of the engine internals, the crank, cam setup(chain/belt). Cam shafts determine almost all of the performance characteristics of an engine. I want to know how the cams are phased. Are the cams phasers hydraulic or electric. If the engine has cylinder deactivation, how has it been done? Do the cam lobes have different lift and duration profiles on the cylinders which get phased out. The GM engines have split cams (cam in cam as they call it). The reviews need photos and explanations.

            On 4WD systems I want to know how the front axel is disengaged. After all these years, it’s ridiculous how many systems get hung up. Most of the big Fords have auto/lock hubs. Not auto/free but auto/lock. If the system fails and they often do you can lock them manually, talk about stupid. If people made and effort to know how this worked they wouldn’t buy a lot of this stuff because they would understand that it’s a repair bill waiting to happen.

            Does the drive line bind up when in 4WD low lock when trying to back a boat down a boat ramp when I have to maneuver around other trucks?

            My number one issue is cost of ownership and I want to know what items will help keep costs down.

            I know it’s a stretch but, I would like to see pointers to manufactures web sites with animation on how the differentials work. I doubt 1 out of 25 truck owners knows how an open differential works let alone a limited slip device.

            Knowing how these items works help us in making the determination if they will last or if the will fail.

            I could go on for hours but you get the idea.

            Less fluff and more knowledge.

        • Mickey says:

          Not always a foolish thing for wasting gas. Americans are in a hurry to go nowhere. When Gen II came out you had two engine setups. Small v8 with a 5 speed or 5.7 with 6 speed tranny. Then look at mpg’s. Funny the 5.7 got 3 mpg more than the smaller v8. So I went the 5.7 to have best of both worlds then. Back then my sticker has 20mpg on the hwy. I get 20-22mpg on hwy. Even got 24.9mpg on a 400+ mile trip to West Palm Beach and back to Jax. It’s the way people tend to drive. For that mpg I did 55mph on I-95 South. As for the plugs, it wasn’t an issue. Only one you had to use a longer extension to reach the plug. It took me 20 minutes to do all 8 plugs. I do change my own oil using synthetic as well as rotate my tires at the same time. I can’t say I like the way Toyota uses an element vice filter. I do at times go easy then again at times I move in this truck. I’m easy on the truck as per things I changed. I get over 60k miles on tires per set. I’m on my 3rd set. Even changing brake pads were fairly easy. It took me longer because I painted my discs for the second time to the same color as my truck. I changed them at 130k miles. I changed plugs at 135k miles. I changed radiator fluid at 100k miles. Changed serpentine belt for the second time. Replace all 4 shocks with OEM shocks at 150k miles. Just replaced both AIP pumps at 158k miles. Just turned over 160k miles on the 07 CM. I do travel a lot in my truck vice my wife’s 07 Prius Hybrid. Why? Because of the room I have in this truck. Yes we do take trips in her Prius is why she is at 130k miles. When it comes to a truck I won’t compromise. Then again I just installed a 6kW solar panel system on the house with a solar hot water heater. In a couple of months I will have my well done also. I will be off the grid for electric but not the water. So I do save when I want to. I also believe in my comfort and also being able to enjoy with out the worries going up a hill/mtn going slower because the engine can’t do the job.

          • Mickey says:

            First was for anonymous.
            Larry you don’t climb underneath a new truck before buying it? I read about all I can then like you I look in the engine compt then climb underneath to see anything else. That’s how I knew of the closed tranny with no dipstick. Same as my wife’s Prius closed tranny no dipstick. Fortunately my truck didn’t come with one. Plus the one Toyota has really doesn’t impress me at all. 1 out of 25 Larry? You now have 2. Oh by the way I went through General Motors mechanics school back in 77. Did mechanics at a chevy dealer for 6 months and quit doing mechanics because new job paid more and had better benefits. Like you I would like to see more also. I get what is given and you can ask for more but it hardly happens.

          • Mickey says:

            Sorry Larry I forgot to put in skid plate so it would make sense when I stated fortunately my truck didn’t come with one. Sorry.

          • Larry says:


            Your first comment is a good one. Yes, I do crawl under these trucks. I only by a car or truck infrequently. I use a car to run around and a truck for work. So having 2 sets of wheels help to make each last longer and trucks have become too expensive to waste on daily talks. It’s cheaper to grind up Subarus then big trucks.

            I keep up with technology so when it is time to buy, I know what is going on. The basics of the piston engine are still the same only a few parts and alloys are changing. I go to dealer lots on Sunday when they are closed so I can get under the trucks and see what is up. Last time I looked at an F150,,,,,, I tried to rotate the front shafts by hand to see if they were unlocked at the wheel. I could not budge them. The CV joints might just have been too tight since it was new. I am hard line on this subject. Front differentials/ shafts and CV joints should never be in motion on dry road. But before I ever buy a truck, I will know how that front end works even if I have to get the dealer to put it on a lift. I’m sure dealers hate me as much as I hate them.

            Another job I hate and forgot to mention is pulling a starter motor, those things are almost always hard to get to. I have never looked to see how big a starter is which will fire a 7L 20:1 compression diesel F250. My last toyota starter had to be rebuilt at 130,000 and even on a small V6 is was difficult to reach. Kind of normal so I don’t really consider it a repair. Not sure how many know it but some models of the new ram shut down the engine at stop in city driving. It fires the starter when the driver takes their foot off the brake. How long will that starter last and,,,,,,, think about how many time it will start and stop in traffic jam conditions. Does it work when stopped on a steep hill, I wonder or does it have a sensor to shut down that system on steep hills. It’s not like an idling motor consume that much fuel. If I could not buy a truck with out that I would find a way to disconnect that on day 1.

            Some times development finds the right solution and evolution should stop. The shape of a basic high wing plane has not changed in 75 years. It’s efficient and doesn’t need to be changed and in flight visual appeal has no merit. The auto industry and buyers should take a note from aviation and more attention needs to be paid to operation and less to visual appeal. When the manual disengagement hub was invented they had it right. Ever since some nerd at AMC came up with quadra-trak and all manufactures followed with their automatic front differential systems we have been stuck with temperamental systems which work when they feel like it. If it’s not broken don’t fix it.

            I drive a lot of really bad dirt roads. Some damaged by wash out but, I have never needed limited slip differentials. I just don’t go into places which can really kill a truck. Many years ago I took my old 1970 Bronco to the Maze in Canyonlands NP. I won’t do that ever again but, I wonder what the right rig is for real slow crawling. I have not looked at the FJ. As for off road use with a big 6000 – 8000 pound truck, it needs to stay on a reasonably solid surface. Out on the Salt Flats, if you brake trough the crust before it has had a chance to dry out, you will be there until a winch can pull you out from a safe place. Sink a 7000 pound 3/4 ton truck down onto the frame and there isn’t a differential of any kind that is going to help you and I have seen more then one truck and SUV waiting to be pulled out at what I would assume was a substantial fee.

            I will gladly take one of those small simple V6 setups with only 300 HP where I can see things under the hood.

  3. Jim says:

    That old boy (Larry?) nailed it! Plugs, oil filter, owner serviceability, easy to fix! I ain’t hauling nary 10k lb trailer, but need the thing to do what I want and be tough.

  4. AD says:

    I can’t see how their is going to be a V6 boom for the Tundra maybe the other platforms that share that engine. As this would require tech that could be shared with the other 2 engines that Toyota actually moves in the Tundra. I mean what would be in this package? The current V6 Tundra has a 5-speed auto, low axle ratio compared to competition, highest ride height and is the largest and heaviest displacement without fuel economy saving tech such as direct injection, start/stop, grille shutters or cylinder deactivation. Since GM’s EcoTec3 Engines share the same architecture they all have the same tech as the Tundra’s 3 engines share the same architecture.

    Most importantly be careful what you ask for because if they make those kind of changes you know we will no longer have iforce engines and will start having eforce engines as Toyota is going stick eco somewhere in the title see 3.5L V6 Ecoboost, 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and EcoTec3. Trust me you don’t want that and neither do I.

  5. Larry says:

    The trend is clear. The market has already split between industrial and consumer type trucks. The 8000 pound number will determine how the truck must be setup.

    While I don’t like idea of twin turbos and high RPM gas motors in trucks for heavy work, Ford is on to something. The FEDs are pushing some big milages requirements at the light truck market in the next 10 years. These numbers are not achievable in the context of an 8000 pound 3/4 ton truck. Even the 1/2 ton trucks will not be able to see 30 MPG with gas motors if they weigh in at 6500 pounds. You could put a 4 cylinder 1.5 motor in these trucks with high gears and they will still will not get 30 MPG on the highway. The only answer will be 8 speed transmissions with small diesel engines. To get to 30 MPG with gas motors the engine/trans weight must go down by using a smaller motor and we will need to see more aluminum and carbon in the construction. With gas motors they are not going to reach 30 MPG unless they get the weight down to 4000 pounds, even then it will be difficult. Will it still be a truck which can do anything? I don’t know but, the FEDs have laid down the law and now their is no way out unless we move up to 8000 pound trucks. Now the really big question, with the big 3 plus Toyota be able to build such a truck at a price the mass market will be able to buy?

    I really can’t imagine what a 1/2 ton truck will be in 20 years. There is good chance I will only live another live 20 – 30 years at most. So my next truck will be my last and I will need to time my entry into the market before the concept of the light truck has been destroyed or be faced with telling the FEDs to get stuffed, buy a 3/4 ton F250, RAM 2500 or GM 2500 and waste fuel on more truck then I need. On thing for sure I won’t buy something just because that’s what the FEDs mandate. I will find an old trucks and waste fuel before that happens.

    Like all the other manufactures Toyota knows all this and there is no doubt development is underway to achieve what will be required. They don’t really have a choice.

    Now, with respect to the issue of turbos, Ford did the smartest thing possible. They built a V6 which will cruise around at 23-24 MPG when people are on the freeway and don’t move their foot on the gas pedal. So they can claim to meet the numbers required by the FEDs even though we all know that anyone who has a turbo is going to kick it in and these trucks are not going to do better then 19-20 at most.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      The only thing I disagree a bit with you on is that automakers like the Big 3 played a role in developing these numbers. Were they hard balled a bit to get these numbers, sure, BUT they did give input and could have caused a HUGE stink if they didn’t like it. So, it is really then the FEDS+Automakers that are building trucks with more FE.


  6. Mickey says:

    Larry I agree with you. I for one don’t have a 4×4. Never had one and probably never will. Like you I won’t take my truck where it will get stuck. I hardly off road. To be exact with this truck I did it 3x at state run park. I’m not into 4×4 so I really don’t have any knowledge how they work. Just like front wheel drive. I never own one till this 07 Prius. I always had rear wheel driven cars. One thing I’m debating is trading the truck maybe for a Toyota Venza. Now that’s all wheel driven and I definitely have homework to do. My only need for a truck is towing the boat and my boat is light. The Venza can do the job. It will also be my daily driver as is the truck I have now.

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