WardsAuto reports that the next generation 2016 Toyota Tundra pickup will receive the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel for 2016, the same engine that will be powering the next Nissan Titan pickup, due for 2015. While Toyota had been working on a diesel engine with Hino, Toyota’s heavy-truck division, the economic crash of 2008 shelved the plans. With new found interest in light diesels and the new Ram EcoDiesel leading the way with favorable reviews and excellent fuel economy, Toyota looks to jump quickly into the light diesel truck market.
The new Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel is confirmed to produce 300 hp and 500 ft lb of torque in the Titan, so we can expect similar numbers for the Toyota. Not only does this engine produce more torque than any gas motor in a light duty pickup, but even tops the Ram EcoDiesel’s 420 ft lb, making it the
most powerful torquiest engine offered in any light duty pickup. This is a a strong move for Toyota and Nissan, possibly helping to bridge the gap between their half-ton pickups and Ford, GM and Ram’s heavier duty 3/4-ton pickups; an area where neither manufacturer currently offer a product.
Both Toyota and Nissan would like a larger chunk of the U.S. light truck market, which last year moved over six million trucks through dealer lots. For 2025, CAFE standards push for a fleet target of 54.5 MPG, making a fuel efficient diesel a necessity for Toyota. The Cummins is thought to a stop-gap for Toyota, as they reconsider their in-house diesel engine produced by their heavy-truck arm, Hino Trucks.
The 2008 economic crash was truly a game changer for light duty diesel engines, and we are just now beginning to see the effects.
Toyota had been working with Hino Trucks to produce a diesel engine for the Tundra, and had shown concepts of a 1-ton dually version of their then-new Tundra at the 2007 SEMA show. Plans for a heavy duty Tundra, along with the in-house diesel engine were shelved after the 2008 crash.
Ironically enough, the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel was originally destined for the Dodge Ram, and this will be the first time a Cummins motor has been sold in a pickup outside of the Ram. The engine was developed while Dodge and Nissan were planning to share a full-size truck chassis, but the ’09 bankruptcy sunk those plans, and Dodge was unhappy with the estimated fuel economy of the 5.0L Cummins. Nissan made the move to keep the engine.
Through Fiat ownership, who also owns VM Motori, the Ram 1500 received the 3.0L V6 turbodiesel instead of the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel. The VM Motori 3.0L V6 turbodiesel was also destined for another home, GM. The 3.0L V6 turbodiesel was originally planned for use in the European Cadillac CTS, though GM also shelved its light diesel plans during its ’09 bankruptcy. Fiat and GM were 50/50 partners on VM Motori until September 2013, when Fiat announced GM would sell the remaining 50%.
And that wasn’t the only diesel GM shelved. Some may remember the Duramax 4.5L V8 turbodiesel GM had been brewing for its light trucks. GM was an early proponent for a modern light duty diesel, but it too was a victim of the ’09 bankruptcy. With new pressure from Ram, Toyota, and Nissan, it’s thought GM may dust off the Duramax 4.5L turbodiesel and bring it to market.
Sources say Ford is working on a light duty diesel as well, planning for a 2018 arrival. With new pressure from its competitors, it will be interesting to see if Ford can join the crowd in time.
2015 looks to be an interesting year in light duty pickups. We will see how the new 3.0L EcoDiesel fairs in light truck use, and both Toyota and Nissan should be rolling out their examples. We can only hope the pressure puts GM and Ford to work getting their light diesels ready.
As long as the price on the diesel option remains reasonable, light diesels should do well in half-ton pickups. Diesels offer superior fuel economy to their gas counterparts in nearly all conditions, especially under load. The Ram EcoDiesel is showing incredible (for a pickup) real world fuel economy numbers, with our own Alex Dykes seeing 29 mpg highway, and 24.2 mpg average in his review of the 2013 Ram Ecodiesel. This, along with superior torque figures to their gas counterparts, would give the average buyer a very decent towing option for those who aren’t ready to step up to the heavy duty trucks, with higher prices and substantially noisier heavy duty diesels.
Here’s a little anecdotal story about the Tundra in the lead photo. It is owned by my friend, and is built to be a mobile work shop for a variety of traveling work: From disaster insurance adjustment, to contracted construction work, to race-support at Pikes Peak and other events. It’s a work truck, through and through, with tool storage and 110v power to run electric power tools off of. One of the major reasons he didn’t go with a heavier duty diesel truck is simply because of the noise, “Man, this thing has to idle all the time while I work. Nobody likes to listen to the CLACKCLACKCLACK of a diesel truck. I just needed something quiet, dependable, and with a long bed. I don’t need a big diesel.” And it works admirably, I spent about 2,000 miles in it during our 2013 run at Pikes Peak with Rally Ready Motorsports. The only real fault with the truck was its horrific fuel economy with the 4.7L V8: with the bed cap and a fair payload it returned less than 13.5 mpg on the highway with speeds averaging 70 mph.
Had a light duty option been offered earlier, it would have fit this role perfect. The light duty work truck deserves a good diesel option.