Toyota Tundra chief engineer Mike Sweers gets a bit riled up when someone takes swipes at his pride and joy. At the 2014 Tundra pickup press preview, Sweers threw around some smack talk with West Coast Editor Mark Rechtin.
Q: A lot is being made of the Tundra engines being carried over, while Chevrolet, Ford and Ram are rolling out new powertrains with their truck redesigns. Did Toyota goof?
A: In 2007, we had the most advanced powertrains in the segment. We had overhead cams, 32 valves and variable valve timing. Now the others are just competitive. Everyone is saying how the Silverado has this new engine family, but it's still just pushrods. And those small turbo engines may make a lot of power, but at their heart, they are still small-displacement engines that can't do the same thing as a big V-8. And engine braking is a big thing when towing.
What about adding direct injection or cylinder deactivation to Toyota's truck engines?
We looked at these things and just couldn't find the return on investment for the owner. Both are expensive for us and for our customers. And my concern is whether customers see real-world fuel economy differences or if it's just so the manufacturer can get off-cycle credits for CAFE. Truck guys are quick to catch on when they pay for something and it doesn't deliver. When we can prove direct injection is beneficial to the customer, we'll do it.