The Pick-up Truck market in the US is very lucrative and that does not harbor Innovation. With hauling capacity being the biggest selling point, Truck makers tout Ultra-large V8 engines putting out huge horsepower and torque figures. with fuel economy being a big issue today, many of the truck makers are looking to complex technologies to solve this issue. What many of them fail to realize is that smaller diesel engines can provide as much torque or more than the Big V8s and still consume less fuel.
I am fully aware the diesel engines in development by Ford and GM and its true that Chrysler is using the Mercedes 3L CDi engines in the grand Cherokee, but these are still too big and the Mercedes engine is quite expensive. Even Toyota with all their eco clout just followed Detroit when they engineered their new Tundra. To get an idea of what I’m trying to say is to look at those hatchbacks used for hauling in Europe. They rely on small diesel engines with serious torque that their petrol rivals cannot muster. Now look at the stream of progress in the diesel field from the amazing engines from Fiat and Peugeot to the high tech wonders of BMW especially their new twin turbo versions. The 3.0L 6 cylinder version produces 272hp and a mind boggling 413lbft of torque and the new 2.0L 4 cylinder version produces 204hp and 295lbft of torque. all while having a fuel economy of 35mpg and 41mpg respectively. That is some serious performance both on the torque and fuel economy fronts.
Now Imagine a Pick-up Truck with an engine in between those two a 2.5l 5 cylinder engine with 235hp and 350lbft of torque and a fuel economy of 30mpg taking the heavier weight of the Pick-up into consideration. This is very feasible and should be looked at by the Big Truck Makers. They can standardize their engines offering different states of turbo boost while using the same engine. This would save manufacturing costs and be a lot cheaper than chasing hybrids. Why Toyota did not push to take on the Pick-up Truck Market touting fuel economy is a mystery, but any Truck maker than wants to send the rest out of business should really consider small capacity diesels even if their initial price would be more expensive than the big V8s they currently use.