A trademark filing gives us a clue about the new Toyota Tundra's upgraded powertrain.
For over a decade, the current Toyota Tundra has proven to be a reliable workhorse, but it's starting to show its age as competitors such as the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado have all been modernized. To say that Toyota's full-size pickup is overdue a refresh is an understatement, and yet the redesigned Toyota Tundra may not arrive in dealerships until late 2021 and go on sale for the 2022 model year.
This is far from ideal when sales have been declining. By then, the all-new 14th-generation Ford F-150 will also be on sale, making the current Tundra seem even more outdated. Thankfully, a new trademark filing by Toyota suggests the all-new Tundra will be getting a significant update under the hood.
Submitted on February 18 to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent has been filed for the "I-FORCE MAX" name for use with "automobiles and structural parts thereof," which is likely referring to the engine powering the next-generation Toyota Tundra. Since the trademark isn't specifically for trucks, it could also suggest Toyota's new i-Force engine will be available for other models outside of the truck segment.
Sadly, no further details about the powertrain are offered, but the name suggests it will be more powerful than the Tundra's current 5.7-liter i-Force V8, which produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
Power is sent to either the rear or all four wheels. For the 2020 model year, Toyota also scrapped the smaller 4.6-liter V8 mill. The trademark could be referring to the new Tundra's long-rumored twin-turbo 3.5-liter gas V6 hybrid, which will reportedly deliver 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque while still achieving over 30 mpg. This would make it significantly more efficient than the current model, which is rated at 13/17/14 mpg city/highway/combined with 4WD.
The new Toyota Tundra is also expected to be upgraded with air suspension to improve ride comfort, while the aging six-speed transmission will reportedly be replaced with a 10-speed automatic transmission. After such a long wait, let's hope the new Toyota Tundra can live up to lofty expectations and stand out from the competition in the crowded full-size truck segment.