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Toyota Hilux hybrid release firming as Tacoma gets I-Force Max engine


Toyota will install its hybrid system into its upcoming Tacoma ute – a system currently used in the current Tundra pickup 

Toyota USA has confirmed its next Tacoma midsize ute will launch with a hybrid drivetrain in 2024, potentially paving the way for a similar option in the new-generation Hilux here in Australia.

A teaser image from the brand shows the rear end of the new Tacoma with a clear ‘I-Force Max’ badge in sight – a definite sign of electrification. 

It’s unclear whether or not every Tacoma in the future range will have a hybrid engine, or if high-spec variants like the TRD Pro will use the more efficient powertrain. 

Toyota Tacoma 2023 silhouette image
The 2024 Toyota Tacoma teaser from last month

Road and Track reports that the upcoming Tacoma will move to the same platform as the Tundra, it comes after other reports suggested the new-gen Hilux will share its underpinnings with its American cousin.  

This means the future midsize ute will sit on the TNGA GA-F architecture that also underpins the Land Cruiser 300 Series and Sequoia large SUV models.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma is set for its full reveal in the coming months.  

Toyota Tundra 2022 red on hill
Tacoma and Tundra could share the same hybrid engine

Will the Tacoma use the same hybrid system as the current Tundra?

It’s uncertain just yet what hybrid setup the Tacoma will get for the 2024 model year. Although it’s likely to sit on the same platform as the Tundra, the Tacoma could get a smaller engine with the I-Force Max hybrid system fitted.

Currently, the Tundra fullsize ute is available in North America with a 3.4-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that produces 325kW of power and 790Nm of torque. 

Toyota Tundra Platinum 2022 engine
The I-Force Max engine from the Toyota Tundra

The V6 is paired to an electric motor that itself produces 36kW of power and 250Nm of torque. A small 1.87kWh battery pack also features in the system.

Such a high amount of power and torque seems to be almost too much for the smaller Tacoma frame, so Toyota could potentially use the 2.4-litre turbo-hybrid setup from the Toyota Crown and Lexus RX500h.

Is this the same hybrid system as in a Toyota Camry or Prius?

Toyota Tacoma 2023 rear mountains
Deputy editor Curt Dupriez got to experience the outgoing Tacoma on a recent visit to the US

The Toyota Camry and Prius use a series-parallel hybrid system that utilises a dual-motor-generator setup. 

Toyota’s I-Force Max hybrid system is more designed with performance in mind than fuel efficiency. It only uses one electric motor, whereas the Camry and Prius use two, with one powering each of the front wheels. 

2022 Toyota Tundra engine assembly line
The Toyota Tundra V6 engine assembly line in the USA

An article by The Drive states that the Tundra (and maybe the future Tacoma) places the electric motor between the transmission and the engine, but has a clutch between the two to distribute power – whether that be electric or combustion – to the driven wheels.

The article also says that the Toyota Tundra’s I-Force Max system could theoretically work without a battery being connected at all. The setup in the Tundra provides a mechanical power path, feeding power from the engine right through to the wheels. 

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