Toyota To Get Cummins Diesel?

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First it was Ward’s Auto and AutoGuide that reported Toyota would be getting a Cummins motor, and now Car & Driver is saying the same:

Come 2016, the option list for the next-gen Tundra will include a Cummins 5.0-liter turbo diesel. That oil-burner is predicted to be rated at 300+ horsepower and, in true diesel form, more than 500 lb-ft of torque. This should make Nissan product planners sit up and mumble “rats,” as this appears to be the same engine being developed for the redesigned Titan, which debuts next year.

While there are still some reasons to wonder what Toyota is planning here (which I’ll get into below), odds are good the 2016 Tundra is a gettin’ a Cummins Diesel.

Why We Still Have Some Doubts About Diesel Tundra Rumors

First, please know that I had a source tell me Toyota was testing a Cummins-powered Tundra about the time the Wards Auto story broke. It’s 100% certain that Toyota has put a Cummins diesel in a Tundra and has done some testing. It’s also clear from the strong sales of the diesel Ram 1500 that there’s a market for a diesel-powered half-ton. Finally, there are emissions and fuel economy rules that strongly encourage Toyota to offer a diesel (or perhaps hybrid) Tundra.


  • Toyota has completely and totally maxed out production at the San Antonio plant. The only way they’re going to sell more trucks is to add production capacity somewhere in North America. Unless and until Toyota announces plans to increase truck production, there are reasons to doubt diesel rumors. Adding a diesel engine only aggravates the current capacity problem (especially with the new Tacoma debuting in the next year or so).
  • Tundra project engineer Mike Sweers (and others) is on record as dismissing the long-term viability of diesel under the coming fuel economy rules. After 2020, the picture for light-duty diesel trucks is very blurry, as the exhaust treatment systems become very expensive in order to stay compliant. This isn’t a problem for Ram and their baby diesel, as they’ll get to sell diesels for 5 or 6 years before the lights go out. But Toyota wouldn’t get to sell the diesel very long before emissions rules make it difficult to justify.
  • Toyota isn’t the kind of company to outsource engines. I’m struggling to think of an example of where Toyota brought in an outside engine to fill a need, except for the new Scion FR-S/Toyota 86, which uses a Subaur motor. It could be that Toyota is more open to this sort of thing now that Akio Toyoda is in charge, but who knows.

Could it be that the Cummins diesel is merely a “bridge” that helps Toyota maximize Tundra fuel economy until they release another powertrain that’s cleaner and greener? Perhaps. Toyota has long stated that they intend to offer a hybrid version of very vehicle in their lineup by 2020, and there’s also the emerging possibility of a fuel cell powered Tundra (which I will enumerate in detail sometime next month).

Nonetheless, these are some good reasons to doubt diesel rumors.

Tundra 5.7L engine

Toyota’s 5.7L V8 is 7 years old now, and Toyota engines don’t tend to live longer than 10 years without major improvements. The odds that we’ll see a new engine family – or a major improvement to the existing engines – by 2016 or 2017 are very high.

Is The 5.0L Diesel A 5.7L Replacement?

The Tundra 5.7L is getting old enough now to merit replacement. Toyota tends to replace engines every 10 years or so, and the 5.0L Cummins could easily take the place of the 5.7, providing heaps of power while offering better fuel economy.

And if the 5.7L is indeed going away, wouldn’t the 5.0L Lexus V8 with Atkinson variable displacement be a great choice? The new line-up for 2016 could look something like this:

  1. The aging 4.6L would be the “value” engine, offering decent performance for Tundra buyers who opt for a bare-bones truck
  2. A 5.0L variable displacement gas-powered V8 could offer best-in-class performance and solid fuel economy
  3. A 5.0L Cummins diesel would be a great choice for Toyota truck fans looking for serious pulling power, but who aren’t willing to buy a 3/4 ton truck for Ford, GM, or Ram

This is obviously speculation, but the variable displacement 5.0L V8 I’m talking about makes 467hp in the Lexus RC F, yet is still efficient enough to earn a 25mpg highway rating in that coupe (which weighs nearly as much as a Tundra at more than 4,000lbs). If the Lexus 5.0L V8 could be re-tuned for fuel economy and low-end torque, it would work great in a Tundra, and it might generate enough horsepower to win the coveted “most powerful engine available in a half-ton” title.


The 5.0L V8 in the Lexus RC F makes 467hp, yet somehow manages to get 25mpg on the highway. Considering the RC F weighs more than 4,000lbs, there’s reason to believe a 5.0L powered Tundra would get decent fuel economy.

What’s more, a 420hp (or so) 5.0L Tundra V8 could probably hold the the “most powerful engine” title for years, as Ford, GM, and Ram all seem to have punted horsepower in favor of fuel economy.

Summing Up

It seems likely that Toyota will be adding the 5.0L diesel to the 2016 Tundra, but we’ll wait for confirmation before we book it.

The question is, will this new diesel compliment the aging 5.7L V8, or will it help to replace it? And if the 5.7L V8 is being replaced, will it be the 5.0L Lexus V8? Finally, what transmission options will be available? New engines usually debut with new transmissions. Website

Whatever the future holds, it’s important to remember that:

  • The 5.0L Cummins isn’t going to be cheap. It will be an option that runs a few thousand dollars.
  • The current 5.7L V8 and 6 speed transmission are rock solid in terms of reliability. They’re not flashy or exciting, but they’ll last forever.

As exciting as the possibility of a diesel Tundra or new high horsepower V8 might be, reliability and durability are the main reasons to buy a Toyota. There’s plenty of reason to get a new truck now, rather than waiting to see what happens.

Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. LJC says:

    Putting a Cummins in a Tundra would be a big mistake. Toyota would have no control over the future of the engine and it would blur the distinction between a Nissan and Tundra. Also, adding a Cummins to a Titan or Tundra is going to cost more like $5500. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the diesel Titan will be delayed cuz that truck needs a lot of upgrades to handle a diesel.

    Toyota should listen to me and go with Hino. Hino has a great reputation and has won awards for their product line.

    A Hino diesel should be optioned for both the Tacoma and Tundra, 4 cylinder (180 HP/320TQ) and 6 cylinder (270 HP/ 500 TQ) respectively. Having Hino produce two engines would reduce development costs as well and would give Toyota more control on the future of the engine. The existing Tundra could handle the diesel I spec’d for it–I wonder if the Tundra-Cummins mule on the road is a merely a test of the existing drivetrain? Also, they could cross market (Toyota->Hino, Hino->Toyota).

    A Hino diesel powered Taco or Tundra would make a statement as well, that Toyota is playing hardball with light duty trucks.

    I think this would be the tipping point for Toyota trucks and would squash just about every ignorant Tundra/Taco basher out there.

    Powered By Hino, had a nice ring to it…

    • Larry says:

      The US is the only country on earth demand UREA injection and canister particulate filters. Hino engines are not likely ready to be built in this configuration. It was a big deal for RAM to get the 3.0 diesel V6 configured for the US market and they are having some trouble with components which had to be added to the exhaust. They also had access to the engine being part of Fiat. No doubt the Hino is a fine engine but not for this market and the demands being placed by the FEDs on diesel are going to get worse. Cummins has already done this work because it’s in the US market and had no choice.

      If I was building diesel engines and selling around the world I would tell the US to get stuffed. Especially if I had to go up against Cummins which has already done the R&D and is also the best engine builder. Taking on Cummins in the US market would be a losing deal.

      Diesel in the USA for anything other then very heaving freight hauling will not be cost effective. On my last fill up I paid 60 cents over 85 Octane gas for diesel and the Cummins in a RAM 3/4 ton is a 7000 dollar option. It will never payoff.

      For the 1/2 ton market, Ford is in the cat birds seat. If the new aluminum F150 is solid and the engine lineup is durable they are going to have a big lead. That is a big IF, by the way.

      • LJC says:

        There’s a reason for UREA injection and canister particulate filters: they clean up the rank diesel exhaust. So, I’m glad the government is forcing cleaner diesel emissions. I just wish they would place more direct pressure on the oil companies to produce cleaner fuel. It amazes me that motor oil can be made out of natural gas, why not produce a cleaner diesel fuel from NG?

        Other auto manufactures have diesels on US roads; there’s no mechanical reason why Hino could not do the same.

        Cummins is not the best engine builder; if they were then they would not have produced the 53 block and would not have waited so long to reimburse crack block owners a measly $1000 for an $8000 plus repair. They’ve also had problems with some fuel injection units as well. I do agree the Cummins engine is a good engine, but it doesn’t mean challenging them is a lost cause.

        A diesel engine can be configured to deliver a compromise; improved fuel economy and some heavy hauling, so it can be a viable option if developed for the right use. Using a $7000 engine option for light duty use will not payoff, as you have noted. One reason why it’s such an expensive option is it is being sold twice. Cummins is selling the engine to RAM who is selling the engine to the consumer. When RAM put the Fiat diesel in the RAM half ton, the markup from the engine producer is not as high, thus lowering the overall cost for the consumer. A Toyota/Hino engine and truck relationship could do the same.

        I don’t agree with Ford’s decision in using aluminum—I think Mulally, who has since departed Ford, had a lot to do with that. As pointed out, there are many unanswered questions, the most prominent of them being the increased cost of insurance. First, there are the repairs. There is limited availability of parts, repair facilities and skill set. The only option is to go to the dealer, which means no competition! Also, rural areas have a tough enough time finding competent engine technicians; training body techs and outfitting a repair facility to handle aluminum repairs is going to be expensive. Second, aluminum fires are more dangerous; the only safe way they can be put out is through the use of chemical extinguishers. The increased danger of an aluminum fire is going to increase the cost to insure a vehicle whose body parts are comprised of it. Read the information on this page When consumers are blind sided with the overlooked costs of using aluminum body panels the truth about aluminum’s real cost will come to light. Going with more high strength steel to reduce a vehicle’s weight is the better way to go.

        When I completed the engine option choice survey for Toyota, the dizzying array of engine questions did include six cylinder diesels.

        What’s interesting about this speculative engine relationship is the Hino option has been virtually non-existent, which to me seems odd.

        • Larry says:

          I’m okay with the UREA injection to keep NO2 under control. I’m not in favor of the particulate filter. Modern high pressure fuel injection is just not that bad. Injecting diesel into the filter to burn it clean seems like a bad idea to me.

          What we need most is smaller diesels with the potential for high millage and long term durability. That will do the most to keep emissions down. I don’t like the V6 chain driven cam system. Cummins makes a 3.9 4 cylinder push rod engine and it’s rock solid. 265 foot pounds of torque and people won’t buy it because they think it’s under powered. Nonsense, it would make a perfect long life engine for a 1/2 ton truck. What is really craze is that Ford and RAM have moved to 6.7L engines with 800 foot pounds which are in the hands of people who drive them to the office every day. Talk about pumping money down a hole in the ground and wasting fuel.

          They require complex stuff on a 50 MPG small diesel car but a person can laugh at it and buy a 12 MPG monster 6.7 diesel to drive to the store for beer and cigarettes.

          • LJC says:

            Right on with the reasonably sized diesel engine! I’m a believer that a 4 cylinder diesel in a mid size truck will be a hit in the 1/2 ton world. It’ll get close to if not twice the mileage as a V8 gasser half ton. The truck to watch is GM’s Colorado/Canyon with the 2.8 Isuzu diesel. Nissan claims they’ll be using a Cummins, but this is going to be one expensive truck.

  2. Brian says:

    I heard the new diesel might be a CAT

    • LJC says:

      CAT does not do light trucks, only truly medium duty and heavy duty trucks.

      Toyota doesn’t need Cummins or CAT; Nissan needs Cummins to save the Titan and bolster the Frontier.

      There is absolutely no need for Toyota to be promiscuous with their engine line up, none at all.

      Toyota already has as an established relationship with Hino (see and they should exploit it. No other light truck maker has such a relationship; this puts Toyota in a unique position.

      I like the sounds of Powered By Hino…

    • Haulnass says:

      Cat is no longer producing heavy diesels for on road use,they stopped in 2011 due to gov. exhaust reg’s and the potential billions in R&D ! The new “CAT”trucks are an international and they ran out of credits with there air recharge system(JUNK)now cummins engine are going into a percentage of the international’s.As for other theories on the Hino engine which is Toyota by the way they do have an existing J05D (4-cylinder), J07E (5-cylinder) since 2005 these have been available and have the Tundra transmission behind them.My 2 cents stick with gasoline engine as this whole diesel BS is not as reliable as it was before all these sensors and reburners.

  3. Randy says:

    Lots of good info here; basically boiling down to: What will Toyota do?

    Your comment regarding the current 5.7L V8 “they’ll last forever” is very true. For me that means I am perfectly content to let all the dust settle and let the new powertrains be perfected. My 2014 Tundra will last many more years so I am in no hurry to change anything.

    It also means that if someone is wants to buy a truck to “last” and get them through all the powertrain storms offered by the other truck makers; then Tundra is a solid choice. But you may only have one or two years tops to get one?

    Buyers in the market today have a choice; a proven product or an experimental product.

  4. Hemi lol says:

    Heres to hoping that the cummins shows up OR out of nowhere Toyota pulls out an in-house diesel. Also, i love the idea of the 5.0L OR why not offer the 5.7 with direct injection and Adkinson cycle switching capability. the 5.7 is capable of SO MUCH MORE while still being reliable. i suppose we’ll see soon.

  5. Zach says:

    Toyota does not see a market in the states for diesel. Toyota produces diesel landcruisers in other markets. So they already had the platform for the tundra. I even have talked to a Toyota corporate employee about a diesel tundra. He said Cummins built a diesel tundra and toyota was not interested.

  6. Clint says:

    The Tundra/Tacoma have the most antiquated engine lineup in the industry. My 2006 4Runner I got rid of years ago had basically the same 4.0 V6 as the current offering. Seriously, there is something called Direct Injection that adds instant HP and improved mileage…or how about MDS???

    No way I would buy a Toyota truck until they get with the times.

    • Larry says:

      Yes, the Toyota engines have not changed much and that’s whats good about them. They go and go and go and go. After all these years the in-line 4 is still as tough as anything ever made. So what’s wrong with an engine that runs for hundreds of thousands of miles? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      I will take an older Toyota V6 over any V6 built by Ford, GM or Chrysler why, because it won’t cost me anything to keep it running. Direct injection might build more power but the first rebuild on an Ecoboost motor and 5000 dollars will fly right out of my account, no thanks.

      I will agree that it’s time for direct injection and I’m sure it’s on the way. One thing I am sure of is that when Toyota finally updates their engine line it will be right.

  7. Brian says:

    Toyota didn’t just source an engine for the FR-S from Subaru… the entire car is designed and built by Subaru (based on the Impreza), and sold in all-but-indentical form as the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, and Subaru BRZ; only the transmission and fuel injection system are from Toyota, because Subaru doesn’t have appropriate components on their shelf. In this case, Subaru (which is partially owned by Toyota) is acting as a lower-volume producer for Toyota.

    Hino is a Toyota subsidiary (with established North American operations), and thus an even better source than Subaru.

    A Cummins in a Toyota would be a quite different situation; however, with development for North American emissions regulations done, there is logic in using a Cummins engine.

    Toyota builds lots of direct-injection engines; they just have not chosen to use technology in their North American trucks – or indeed any Toyota-branded vehicle in North America.

    The only logic I can see in offering a diesel in the Tundra without expanding production capacity is to yield a higher margin on the limited number of units. I don’t know if that could justify the development cost of an engine, or if a high enough priced could even be charged to reach that higher margin.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Yes, yes and yes. We agree and have been saying for a long time – production capacity is a big limiter in them offering diesels as well as more options.


  8. Shamr jackson says:

    I think they should replace IT now days people want a reliable and effeshent car most people dont care how much it cost. Why? well look at the f 150 and the sliverado those are both expensive but their good trucks

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