2022 Toyota Tundra Diesel Release Date – The current Toyota Tundra impressed us enough to earn the MotorTrend Truck of the Year award…in 2008. Since then, the Japanese automaker has merely put coats of lipstick on its aging pickup while rivals such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, and Ram 1500 received at least one full-on redesign. In other words, the Tundra’s been left in the dust. However, Toyota finally is doing something about it.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra is due to ride on the company’s latest truck chassis. Reportedly coined Toyota New Global Architecture-F (or TNGA-F), the Tundra’s body-on-frame underpinnings ought to benefit from greater use of high-strength steel and other weight-saving materials. Like the Ram 1500, we anticipate the next-gen Tundra will adopt coil springs—in place of the current truck’s leaf springs—to go with its live rear axle. Such a setup will surely improve the truck’s ride quality. Likewise, we expect the lither 2022 Tundra to notably improve upon the outgoing model’s maximum 1,730-pound payload and 10,200-pound towing figures. Of course, it will have to, with more-modern light-duty competitors offering capacities that far outstrip those dated numbers.
Say goodbye to the Tundra’s V-8 engines, because Toyota’s big pickup will reportedly enter the world with a V-6-only powertrain lineup. Look for higher-end Tundra variants to utilize a variant of the 416-hp 3.4-liter unit found under the hood of the Lexus LS500. Lesser Tundras will likely employ the naturally aspirated 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine of the Tacoma (possibly massaged to produce more than 300 horses).
Given Toyota’s hybrid history, the brand may offer the 2022 Tundra with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain option, putting it on the vanguard in a segment that is just now warming up to electrification. Such a setup will allow the Toyota truck to properly compete with the 2021 Ford F-150 and its available hybrid powertrain.
Despite its relatively radical mechanical changes, the 2022 Toyota Tundra is anticipated to evolve upon the styling of today’s truck. That’s no bad thing, as the current Tundra has finally grown into its skin—the original version looked like a four-wheeled fish of some sort—and comes across as innocuous enough, if not fully handsome. Still, look for the big Toyota truck to sport a brasher front-end design incorporating a large grille and tall hood, providing the new Tundra with a flashier mug.
Inside, the new Tundra will welcome Toyota’s latest Entune infotainment technology. This includes an available 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a large head-up display unit. Toyota’s full Safety Sense suite of goodies are sure to be available, too, including automatic braking, advanced radar cruise control, automatic lane centering and lane-keep assist, and much more.
Earlier this year a Toyota trademark application for the name iForce Max fueled speculation of a twin-turbo gasoline V-6 for the next Tundra, with output of 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet or better. Given that Lexus already has a twin-turbo gasoline V-6 and iForce is a known Toyota truck engine moniker it seemed reasonable, and given Toyota’s hybrid experience, ekeing out a few extra pound-feet would be easy.
However, a patent application filed in December last year leads me in a different direction: a ducted fuel-injection diesel.
I’ll say right now it does not mention the words “diesel” or “Tundra,” and “gas” appears used only as the state and not short for gasoline. I’m also not an engineer and only make a habit of tearing down engines after I or friends wear them out or blow them up.
The documents reference a “compressed self-ignition type internal combustion engine” but this could apply to a diesel-cycle engine or an HCCI (homogenous charge compression ignition) engine that runs on gasoline or diesel. The documents frequently mention a “glow plug” but these appear to be pieces used to heat fuel rather than air as they do in a conventional diesel. I can find no indication there is or is not a spark plug or a conventional glow plug in the accompanying line drawings, and the only materials named are an aluminum head with some chromium steel hardening points. The drawings show a couple of arrangements, one with ducts fitted to the chamber side of the cylinder head (and depending on assembly this could be part of the injector inserted from the chamber side) and one that depicts ducts inside the head in the roof of the chamber.
In one section the fuel is injected at a compressed charge, more indicative of a diesel wherein combustion begins when fuel is added, rather than an HCCI gasoline engine where fuel is injected during the intake stroke and combusts spontaneously when compression drives temperature and density high enough. However, HCCI has been tested on diesels in the past so it’s possible Toyota has figured out a way to make that feasible over a broader speed and load range.
The text frequently mentions “suppression of smoke.” Smoke most frequently applies to diesel engines — and really rich-tune hot rods, but that doesn’t guarantee a diesel and particulate matter doesn’t either: Some gasoline-powered cars in Europe have particulate traps, the majority of them direct injection.
What really makes me think this is a diesel is work done at the Sandia National Laboratories by Charles Mueller and associates, who found that better mixing the fuel and air before the point of ignition would make a cleaner, more complete, leaner and cooler burn, lowering NOx and soot. For one analogy consider your propane torch, which has a fitting on the end of the pipe (ironically mimicking a modern diesel exhaust tip) to better mix the air and fuel and make that nice, clean blue flame, against the smoky orange flame when you first light an oxy-acetylene torch.
My reading of the patent document makes me think it’s for diesel engines, but I’ve been wrong before. And there is no guarantee ducted fuel injection will arrive on any Toyota engine in the next couple of years, nor that it would show up in a Tundra. But think how many diesel engines Toyota sells around the world and that ducted fuel injection could likely be implemented at the same or lower cost than typical diesel after-treatment systems, and amortization comes quickly.
We also reached out to several off-the-record engineers who said a variety of things.
One of them mentioned it might be a Homogeneous charge compression ignition aka the Mazda SkyActiv X engine — which achieved a 15% improvement over their other gasoline engines. HCCI engines work by using compression to ignite the air and fuel mixture, just like in a diesel. Normally in a gas engine, you use a spark plug for the ignition.
This has long been considered the “unicorn” of engine design and many manufacturers have spent decades trying to perfect it.
Why would Toyota copy Mazda? Toyota and Mazda have some history of working together. Currently, they are working on jointly building vehicles in a plant in Alabama and Toyota owns a small stake in Mazda (very typical for Toyota to take an ownership stake with companies it is working with). This leads one to think if Toyota owns part of Mazda, is working to build vehicles with Mazda, then why not also take a look at their engines. The patent could then be utilizing some of Mazda’s breakthrough while making small tweaks to allow Toyota to have a patent on their own design.
This, then, would mean the engine would be utilizing gasoline since Mazda’s current SkyActiv is a gas motor. However, the way the patent is written and the way diesel engines work it could be just that this patent shows how a gasoline engine could use the combustion principles of a diesel engine.
Another source we spoke to, who has years of diesel engine development for a major automaker, said it looks a lot like how Whale described it — pre-heated fuel mixed with air causing an automatic ignition within the combustion chamber. Basically, eliminating the need for spark plugs, reducing emissions and improving fuel economy. While this would mean Toyota would need tight controls on the block temperature and other factors, it is possible to make such an engine work.
The really interesting application of this is in a diesel engine though. It is possible this engine would eliminate one of the after treatment systems currently on a diesel engine. Right now, you have to add diesel exhaust fluid, go through a regen process and replace your diesel particulate filters as well as keep an eye on your injectors. Basically, as many see it, the diesel engine has been gutted by emissions equipment and is now a very costly engine to maintain. Eliminating just one of those after treatment systems would allow for reduced costs to purchase, reduced maintenance, better fuel economy through reducing unspent fuel as well as possibly improving performance by eliminating one of the airflow restrictions off the engine. In other words, we could see a Toyota Tundra diesel engine that is more superior to gas, more efficient to operate and less costly to buy.
We reached out to Toyota and they had this to say:
“As a result of our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement, Toyota has been awarded 23,611 patents over the past thirty-five years; the most patents of any automaker. These patents represent the brainpower, innovative spirit, diligence, and passion of Toyota’s Engineers and Researchers but may not always find their way into production.”
What do you think? Is a Toyota Tundra diesel just big dreams or does this get you very interested in hearing more?
Although we expect Toyota to unveil the 2022 Tundra before the middle of next year, we don’t anticipate the model rolling forth from Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas, factory and reaching dealerships until the end of 2021. When it arrives, the 2022 Tundra may sport a base price close to that of the current truck’s approximately $35,000 figure, or the brand might reintroduce lower, less-equipment-rich trim levels to the lineup in an attempt to capture fleet or entry-level buyers. No matter what, opting for four-wheel drive, more technology, a larger cab or bed, and more powerful or advanced powertrain options will raise the truck’s cost. Plan to spend north of $55,000 to get into the 2022 Tundra’s pricier trims.