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No 2016 diesel Tacoma coming - Toyota explains why

Fans of the Tacoma in the N. American market want a diesel engine. Here’s the final word on why they will not be getting one.


Fans of diesel trucks hoping that the 2016 Toyota Tacoma might finally be the year one comes are going to be disappointed yet again. This week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Toyota’s Chief engineer for the Tacoma and Tundra explained in plain English why the company does not plan to offer a Tacoma diesel.

No Diesel 2016 Tacoma

At NIAS Automobile’s Mark Nordeloos did the interview that made it all crystal clear. Interviewing Toyota’s Mike Sweers, he asked, “What is Toyota’s stance on diesel engines for the U.S. pickup truck market?” Rather than dodge the question or leave it vague so that Tacoma owners can continue to pine away for a diesel, Sweers said “The difficulty with the diesel is LEV III [emissions standards]. The difficulty is the cost-to-benefit relationship. Everybody loves diesel in trucks. The downside is the after-treatment systems can add $3,000 or more. It starts becoming cost prohibitive, especially in this segment, to pay a premium for both the engine and after-treatment system. That’s the struggle we have. We build a lot of diesel trucks, just not in this country. If I develop a diesel system for our country and I spend a huge amount of money to do that, I won’t see a return on the investment. That’s what we’ve struggled with.”

THINK ABOUT IT: How many more Tacomas could Toyota sell if it offered a diesel in the U.S.?

2016 Toyota Tacoma is All-New
Sweers and Nordeloos discussed the diesel topic a bit further, and we encourage our readers to click over and read this great interview. Other great questions include a contrast and comparison overview of the differences between the Tacoma and Hilux. Our favorite part of the interview is at the beginning where Sweers explains just how new this Tacoma is. Many other outlets incorrectly assume that because it looks similar to the outgoing 2015 it is not a full update. As Sweers puts it the only common part shared between the two generations are “Maybe a seatbelt bracket.”

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brian vogrig (not verified)    April 24, 2016 - 1:05AM

In reply to by Jim (not verified)

i cant wait any longer for toyota to wake up i have been holding on to my 85 toyota pick up diesel for years now to upgrade to a new toyota diesel and still nothing. i hate to do it but im looking at the GMC Canyon now

OleD (not verified)    October 20, 2020 - 10:08PM

In reply to by brian vogrig (not verified)

Me too actually. I've had my '13 Tundra for a long time, been holding out waiting to get a new Toyota, kept hearing a diesel would be released but nothing. I'm looking into a diesel chevy as well. Almost pulled the trigger on a 2500 RAM but waiting for the facelift model. Toyota is not only ten years behind in tech but in average MPG too. So sad, its become such a boring brand.

Chris (not verified)    January 15, 2015 - 10:20PM

Disappointing news. The sad part is the Tacoma and Tundra are some of the best built trucks on the market. Not giving the customers what they want will drive business to everywhere but Toyota. They'll loose market share - look at the refreshed 2014 Tundra.

While I understand Toyota's stance - Toyota is known for engineer trucks to last for years and years,and that's why people buy them. It's a long term investment. More-so when you put a diesel in it. Sure, it's more money upfront, but folks want that and will pay for it because of the long term payoff and reliability.

At the end of the day, truck buyers loooong for diesels in a light duty truck. Look at any forum, blog or review. I've been a loyal Toyota fan, but they've missed the boat. I've never been a fan of Nissan trucks - but both Frontier and Titan launching diesels is a brilliant move! America wants diesel Toyota!

Vu (not verified)    February 18, 2015 - 5:08PM

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

That is sad new, I been waiting for diesel for a while now. We drive Tacoma, Tundra, Sequoia, and land Cruiser. Two year ago we got a GL350 diesel and love it. If Toyota not adding diesel to their truck they sure do disappointed me and a few of my friend who been waiting for a diesel.

car guy (not verified)    January 16, 2015 - 3:49AM

I hate to say it but I don't think ford, dodge or Chevy even pass this emission standards. Their so dam bad I can smell them ten car lenghths ahead.I think our government should go after the big 3 on this issue.yet when I get behind a blue tec Mercedes deisel I don't smell anything. American trucks suck.and I am tired of smelling their diesel crap.

diesel man (not verified)    February 2, 2015 - 9:28AM

In reply to by car guy (not verified)

American trucks do not suck what so ever the problem with the trucks are the foreign people that are trying to make them, and of course a little sissy guy like you who only drives a car wouldn't know a damn thing about a real diesel engine. Plus everyone wants to talk about the pollution and smell then be concerned with the major pollution problem like oil rigs, paper mills, tire manufactures, gas companies and, all your illegal drug labs. Just remember the vehicles may pollute the air but without the truck diesel engine you wouldn't have food, medication, or cloths or even your house for that matter because without your diesel truck engine there wouldn't be any form of transportation for all of these supplies that everyone needs.

knowledgeable … (not verified)    February 12, 2015 - 3:03PM

In reply to by diesel man (not verified)

Europeans were the first to create diesel engines in automobiles. Mercedes were one of the first automakers with a diesel option. So learn something before you start calling people sissys, and saying American diesels are the best of em. I love a cummins, and I'm a fellow american. You sir, are a dumb american.

Arthor Wright (not verified)    August 29, 2015 - 12:50PM

In reply to by car guy (not verified)

Right on, brother; Somebody needed to say it!

Only ignorant, pseudo-macho-loyalists will tout American truck diesels as just fine. One only need look at what the Europeans (i.e., Mercedes, VW) are doing with clean diesels to know the truth.

Burt (not verified)    January 16, 2015 - 11:47AM

Toyota is right that you have to put a chemical treatment plant on your exhaust to meet diesel emission standards. Doesn't make sense for non commercial applications. Plus it is so complex and prone to breakdown, that they risk tarnishing their reputation.

charkswim (not verified)    January 18, 2015 - 1:25PM

The front end is really ugly. Not bold or aggressive. The inside dashboard looks like you are sitting in front of a giant boombox. Plastic everywhere you look. The spoiler on the tailgate seems contrived. The stamp TACOMA on the tailgate is so 80's. Locked tailgate is OK.

The TRD that was driven in to the video at the Detroit Auto show looks like it was just back from Iraq after being deployed. Who choose that agonizing color? Is is called putty or perhaps terd. Why not a big bold black TRD. The color of the show model almost turns my stomach. ISIS will probably order a few in that color.

Redesign, not really. Redeployment, perhaps.

Toyota is counting on loyal current Tacoma owners like me to keep justifying a medium sized truck.

A popular consumer magazine rates current Tacomas at the bottom of the scale. Makes me feel bad about my decision. Plus I just got a recall letter in the mail for my Tacoma. Bad karma.

Guess what------a move to a full size truck like the aluminum F-150 or the innovative RAM now seems logical to this Tacoma owner. Those vehicles are true redesigns and are very highly rated. Plus gas is super cheap!!!!!!

The current MPG on my Tacoma is shameful.

How about a diesel HILIX of a nice new F 150 or RAM. Yes RAM it is.


Troy (not verified)    January 18, 2015 - 8:17PM

Dodge, Chevy and Nissan all came out with a new diesel! Sweer's won't see a return on investment so we get no Toyota diesel. I'm curious to see the new Tacomas numbers for mpg's. As for the Tundra Sweer's just gave us the same truck we have seen for the last decade. The mpg still suck and Sweer's can't even put in a bigger gas tank. Look at fuelly numbers for the Tundra. They are crap. I have been a huge Toyota fan for 30 years but I bought a Ram diesel after the 2014 Tundra release with no changes. It was either the full size Ram or get 13 mpg with the Tundra. I have a Ram 3500 diesel and get 20-23 mpg but I don't get Toyota reliability. I will trade for a Toyota as soon as they give us an efficient full size truck.

Scott (not verified)    January 24, 2015 - 6:14PM

Toyota has been losing mkt share & the race for years. Look at the electronics & accessories that others include in their trucks! Doesn't make sense for a diesel power plant? Then why is Chevy & Nissan ahead of the game & offering them. Looks like they'll be losing more sales of trucks. At least in the US. Thanks EPA, diesel = torque, longevity and MPG's

Adam (not verified)    January 27, 2015 - 2:32PM

It's a real shame that Toyota has such short-sighted management in the US. Read any discussion forum on mid-size or small trucks, and you find a whole market segment out there, driving 15-20 year old trucks and waiting for a reliable small-to-midsize truck with a modern, efficient powertrain and reasonable styling. At this point, if they have to drop a hybrid into it, so be it...why can't I have 30 mpg and a truck bed at the same time?

Ricqik (not verified)    February 26, 2015 - 1:12PM

I'm still driving my '00 tundra with 275k. Was waiting for a '16 1/2 or 3/4 tundra diesel but looks like I'll be moving on over to the titan XD now.

I've said it many times, quit trying to build what you think the consumers want and build what the consumer wants. Like integrated brake controller, sure, very likely less than half the consumers wil ever use it but I bet they would still want it. Toyota's reputation is slowly fading away.

Alan (not verified)    March 1, 2015 - 10:15AM

I am a Tundra owner and love my truck. I love camping, but I am limited on what I can pull with the Tundra because Toyota will not go into the 3/4 or 1 ton market. I love the quality of a Toyota and wish they would take on the big three. We would all benefit from the competition. Why do you think Ford spent so much on redesigning the 150, but did not do much with the 250, 350 or 450. Not much competition. Toyota could not only make a big impression, but they would force the American companies to make a better quality HD truck.

Greg (not verified)    March 1, 2015 - 10:24PM

I wish I could get a diesel as well - just jumped at a GL350 Bluetec. Not sure why they can't cut a deal with the Germans and buy these as they roll off the assembly line in drop in the tacoma and FJ

Mike (not verified)    March 27, 2015 - 10:47AM

I was looking forward to the introduction of the Diesel engine in the Tundra for 2016. I've been a loyal Toyota owner for 30 yrs. I will be in the Market for a 3/4 or 1 ton HD vehicle in the next couple of yrs. I guess I'll have to go look at the Nisan or the Dodge diesels. I'm really disappointed in Toyota if they really do drop the Diesel option they were introducing in 2016.

Michael Mills (not verified)    April 6, 2015 - 11:59PM

That really sucks. I was getting ready to buy my first bran new truck and was absolutely set on a Tacoma. I commute an hour to work every day and need a fuel efficient truck. Now, with no diesel option in the Tacoma, why would I buy a toyota and get 26 mpg when I can get a RAM 1500 eco diesel and get 31.6 mpg? That's what my brother gets. I was hoping to beat him and get 35 mpg 38 mpg with a Tacoma. I guess not. Toyota is making a big mistake. I'll pay extra for a diesel. Sure, about 7% more for fuel and a few hundred more a year for maintenance but I would get about 30 to 40% better fuel economy, more towing and a truck that will last 3 times as long.

C. McCalla (not verified)    April 23, 2015 - 5:48PM

Toyota and Benz have other collaborations in place so there is no reason why they can't can't come to terms with a diesel engine for my beloved Tacoma for which I traded-in (2007 E350 Benz sedan), The bottom line is politician and the big three lobbyist is scared that a diesel Tacoma would have the lion's share of the American small truck market..

D. LeBlanc (not verified)    May 15, 2015 - 7:22AM

Toyota will be the last to put diesels in their vehicles because they are always last when it comes to advanced engineering. They bring new technology to the Lexis line then maybe later to the Toyota line. Introduction of chemical treatment to HD diesels has been very problematic. It has killed their reliability. Look it up. The Ecodiesel seems like one of the better ones but horror stories are starting to appear already. Toyota won't get into the HD market because they can't compete there without a diesel. Once the sales of diesels really pickup in the GM midsize and Nissan lines, you'll see Toyota step up. But it could easily take them 10 years. Remember how long it took them for port injection, electronic ignition, 6, 7, and 8 speed transmissions, cvt's, etc? I'm encouraged with the new Tacoma where they will try new technology relatively quick for them, but if it can't match or beat the small diesels it won't sell like they expect. I think they are positioning themselves for more hybrid. It's funny how they can't justify diesels and chemical treatment but can justify a Prius. What's the payback on those? How much more do they cost in dollars and performance. They have proven reliability in hybrid and you will see that technology in more vehicles trucks eventually. Just don't hold your breath.

Mark (not verified)    June 18, 2015 - 8:09PM

I'm from the U.S. but live in a third world country now. Ive seen Hilux diesel trucks in every one of the 21 third world countries I've been in. If I find a used Diesel engine at a reasonable price, I may bring it back to the U.S. & put it in a 2005 Tacoma I bought new. No emission inspections where I sometimes live.

Constantin Leleu (not verified)    December 1, 2015 - 8:17PM

In reply to by Mark (not verified)

Hi, have you competed diesel engine project ? I'm interested in finding one too and i love to see the hilux diesel here in U.S but till than i'm looking into a project like yours.

Yo (not verified)    June 25, 2015 - 7:48PM

If VW can make and export Diesel cars and keep improving the engines, albeit slowly, why can't Toyota? Toyota is a bigger company with more resources and it already sell diesels in every other country except the US.

Is it that difficult for Toyota to really develop a cleaner diesel engine to the mass market in America?