Reader Question: Tundra Pick-up

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Vladimir asks: I’m looking to purchase a new truck. Can you please tell me your opinion about the Toyota Tundra truck (2017 model year). Is it the best option comparing with diesel truck Ram 1500? Or what is your suggestion on this subject? Thank you for your very informative article.

My reply: Well, it’s kind of apples and oranges! The Tundra is powered by either of two gasoline V8s (4.6 liters standard, 5.7 optional) while the diesel Ram is powered by a turbo-diesel six. You can also get the Ram with a gas V6 or a gas V8, which I’m sure you know – but since you mentioned the diesel specifically, I’ll focus on that.

What are you looking to do with the truck? If maximum tow capacity is important, the 5.7 liter Tundra has a higher maximum rating (10,500 lbs.) than the diesel Ram (8,240 lbs.).

On the other hand, the diesel Ram should give you about 10 MPG better mileage than the Tundra 5.7, which will average in the mid-high teens in real world driving. But, the diesel option costs a bundle – about $4,000 over the price of the otherwise-the-same 1500 with the gas V6. But, if you compare the price vs. the Hemi V8, the cost difference narrows. And the diesel will probably be more long-lived than the gas engine. You also get a heavier-duty transmission and other upgrades when you buy the diesel, which is a package – and not just the engine.

That said, the Tundra is a fine truck, especially with the 5.7 liter V8 (the 4.6 is a little under-powered) and its only deficit – if it is one – is that it is available in a more limited range of configurations (cab/bed, etc.) than the Ram and Ford and GM 1500s.

Hope this was helpful – and keep us posted!

. . .

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  1. I might disagree with you on the longevity of the diesel in this case.

    First, both Tundra V8 engines are known bullet-proof reliable. 300k miles will be nothing for either of them. They are also much more tolerant of bad gas or cheap gas than the Ram diesel would be of bad diesel. Among gas engines, these are the best of the best for reliability.

    Second, recall that the Ram’s diesel is actually made by Fiat and was designed for much lighter duty than a pickup. Ram had to upgrade it heavily to make it workable in a truck. Add to this the notorious unreliability of Fiat products, and what you have is an overstressed car engine in a truck application, which makes it among the worst diesel engines on the market today in this application.

    If I were a bettin’ man, I’d go for the Toyota V8 every time in terms of longevity, and even if it does break, it’ll be cheaper to fix. You’ll just get much worse fuel mileage.

    Now if only Toyota would bring over some of their renown diesel engines to the States, but not with Uncle Sam’s nasty attitude towards diesel.

    • RAM’s diesels aren’t made by Fiat or even Chrysler for that matter. They are made for RAM by Cummins Diesel. Cummins also powers the Nissan Titan XD diesel pickups as well.

  2. Was looking at the RAM website. Looks like the 2019 1500’s won’t be offering a single cab or 8 ft bed. At least at first. Hmmmmmm


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