The only fully hybrid, full-size trucks Available in 2023 are Ford’s F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota’s Tundra i-FORCE MAX. Many people are curious about how reliable these hybrid trucks will prove to be. Ford has had several more model years to work out any mechanical issues with its PowerBoost. But the Toyota Prius proves that hybrids can require even less maintenance than traditional vehicles. This is how they stack up.
The new third generation Toyota Tundra suffered some reliability problems
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Toyota released the third generation of its Tundra full-size pickup for the 2022 model year. Immediately, reports of reliability issues began piling up.
Some owners experienced glitches with the premium infotainment screen option. A couple found their transfer case wouldn’t shift to 4WD. And several Tundra owners have even reported total engine failure that left their truck in limp mode.
Toyota reported this issue as a malfunctioning turbocharger wastegate that would not release excess pressure. To make matters worse, getting a replacement part took weeks at first. But the automaker has found a new manufacturer for the wastegate, with better quality control. Toyota is also fixing any trucks that are not working properly.
Toyota Tundra performs well considering supply chain issues
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Automotive journalist Ben Hardy noted that Toyota is trying to source all the components for a new vehicle during a global supply chain crisis. While other automakers are paralyzed by these issues, the Tundra “is a really well-built truck.”
Hardy admitted that the i-FORCE MAX hybrid Toyota Tundra has only been on the road a few months, so powertrain reliability remains to be seen.
Hardy concluded: “Everyone has manufacturing issues right now. But it seems that Toyota has been able to control things quite well. He said of the wastegate issue: “It seems like it was a one-time thing, essentially… And that’s better than what can be said about Ford’s twin-turbo V6 right now.”
You can see the rest of his review in the following video:
The Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid has had time to prove itself
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Ford released its first hybrid truck, the F-150 PowerBoost, for the 2021 model year. This means that many of these trucks have been on the road for a long time. Andre Smirnov, editor of The Fast Lane Truck, was able to drive an F-150 PowerBoost as his personal truck and then drive it daily.
After 15 months, Smirnov reported no problems with the truck’s turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 and PowerBoost hybrid system. He said: “This truck was never out of service… it never left me needing another vehicle.” But he admitted: “It’s a new truck, so it should do that.”
When his oil was changed, he sent the old oil to a lab for testing. The experts only found “typical” wear on the engine.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 may suffer from misfiring
Smirnov’s Ford F-150 PowerBoost oil test results came as a relief because his truck threw a “Check Engine” light three times. All three times the code said “misfire” it was an especially cold day in Colorado and I had just refueled. Also, the code always disappeared when Smirnov restarted the truck. He’s still not sure exactly what happened, but he’s not worried.
For his job, Smirnov did a lot of towing, off-road driving, and even charging electric cars. He even once used the inverter from the Ford F-150 to power a house.
In the summer, he experienced a very different problem than the warning light: While dragging 10,000 pounds over Ike’s Gauntlet (one of the steepest passes), the F-150 PowerBoost began to overheat. But it worked as designed, putting the truck in limp mode for a couple miles, cooling the engine, then resuming towing at full power.
Due to its heavy use, Smirnov found that the F-150 PowerBoost only returned a lifetime average of 21.3 MPG during its first 14 months. That’s a significant drop from the EPA and Ford promise of a combined 23 MPG. But while towing he got 12.8-13 MPG, which was better than Smirnov predicted.
In general, Smirnov says that he would buy it again. But he cautions that drivers who don’t do many stop/starts might not recoup the price of the hybrid powertrain upgrade. You can see Smirnov’s full 14-month review of his Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid pickup in the video below:
Hybrid vehicles may need less maintenance
When usedcars.com Ranked the 10 Most Reliable Sedans of a Decade, two Toyota hybrids really landed on its list: the Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Toyota Camry. You might think that with more moving parts, hybrid gas/electric vehicles would be less reliable. But the data is showing the exact opposite.
A hybrid vehicle’s electric motor/generator improves its MPG through regenerative braking. When you hit the brake pedal, this unit turns into a generator, slowing the car down, charging its high-voltage battery, and preserving your regular brake components. Then when you step on the accelerator, this unit becomes an engine and launches the vehicle. This spares the internal combustion engine the considerable wear and tear of stop-and-go driving, helping it last longer without maintenance.
While the Ford F-150 PowerBoost and Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX have suffered slight first-generation hiccups. But one day both may run longer without maintenance than their traditional counterparts.
Find out below which of these two hybrid trucks gets the best gas mileage.
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