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Toyota Camry SE
Toyota is finally going to catch up to the competition

Toyota is known for producing boring family sedans and SUVs that appeal to a large audience. The company is also known for its fuel efficient Prius family of hybrid vehicles. Vehicles like the Prius/Prius c manage to achieve 50mpg on the highway thanks to a fuel-sipping gasoline engine backed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an electric motor/battery.

Toyota has largely ignored making significant advances in its traditional gasoline engine/powertrain department; with efficient transmission/engine offerings lagging the competition (the Toyota Corolla still uses a 4-speed automatic transmission when the competition has moved to 6-speed units and CVTs).

However, no longer will its traditional vehicles take a backseat to its hybrids according to Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's product development chief. "By 2015, through improvement in the engine and powertrain alone, we aim to achieve a fuel-efficiency improvement of 10 percent to 20 percent on the models adopting the improvements," said Uchiyamada.

The Toyota Corolla still uses an archaic four-speed automatic transmission and lags behind the competition in fuel economy

Competitors like Ford have already embraced direct injection and turbocharging across much of the produce range (see EcoBoost), and Toyota is following suit. Toyota plans to introduce a direct injection version of its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (this new engine will first see duty in hybrid models). The engine will also find its way into vehicles like the Camry, RAV4, and Venza.

In addition, Toyota will also introduce a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will likely take the place of the 3.5-liter V6 currently found in midsize Toyota sedans and crossovers.

Toyota is also looking to add 6- and 8-speed automatic transmission to its vehicles. This should help vehicles like that aforementioned Corolla with its archaic transmission boost fuel efficiency ratings. The company will also add CVTs to more of its models, a move that has long been championed by Nissan. Nissan provides CVTs in everything from its tiny Versa subcompact to the large Pathfinder crossover.

All of these moves largely see Toyota playing catch-up with the rest of the automotive industry. Toyota has for too long placed all of its fuel efficiency eggs in the hybrid basket, while neglecting its bread and butter vehicles. With the competition now fiercer than ever, it now looks as though Toyota has finally realized that not everyone wants to purchase a hybrid in order to get increased fuel efficiency.

Source: AutoWeek

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RE: Car makers have little choice
By philmax on 10/3/2012 1:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
Very true, I would much rather save the couple thousand so I can keep sending my gasoline dollars to Saudi Arabia where women are put in their place and not allowed to drive.

RE: Car makers have little choice
By freedom4556 on 10/3/2012 2:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
You could walk, bike, take a train or a bus. There's no reason to limit consumer choice because of the whole "foreign oil" BS. We know where it comes from, and we're obviously OK with that, because we don't want to drill here and we still drive what we drive.

RE: Car makers have little choice
By philmax on 10/3/2012 3:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
Consumers are stupid. Everybody wants electricity but nobody wants a power plant in their backyard. Not to mention the foreign oil argument can be considered a national security issue which is the responsibility of the government.

RE: Car makers have little choice
By texbrazos on 10/3/2012 3:37:14 PM , Rating: 1
No one needs a power plant in their back yard. The beauty about the electric engine is it does not care what made the power be it natural gas, coal, solar, wind, hydrogen, biofuel, wave, geothermal, biomass, alcohol, etc. Before you know it, there will be those of us that power our own homes and vehicles. 100% energy independence is what switch to electric would give us. We would even create many more jobs upgrading our electric grid than this stupid Keystone pipeline. Electric is coming, and it is going to hit big crude oil with a left hook that it should have seen coming.

RE: Car makers have little choice
By Ringold on 10/3/2012 5:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, that's no 'beauty about the electric engine', people protest all of those facilities as well. Solar, wind, algae ponds for biofuel, doesn't matter. Environmentalists always find a reason to complain. Don't fool yourself in to thinking there's a magic bullet for them; they touted nat gas for years as a bridge fuel to the future, and once it became actually viable, it's just another fossil fuel anti-christ for them. When a pseudo-religion makes them believe we should return to 5000 BC development-wise, nothing will satisfy them.

As for the general notion you have... Yeah, that's the future, I don't doubt it. Problem is, it's the future. We still live in the present. Battery tech isn't there yet. Quality electric motors are expensive, and many manufacturers are vulnerable to China restricting rare-earth exports. Early studies show potential catastrophe for the grid if EVs were adopted quickly, with a daily crisis when people start coming home from work and all plug in. The systems aren't in place... The systems are barely on the drawing board.

Which is why Keystone is not "stupid," nor is any existing energy project. While those gears are all turning on the future technology, there's no reason to artificially create hardship for ourselves in the interim. Economies are very capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, even if central planners can not. And specifically for the Keystone, you're a fool if you think that Canada won't find a buyer if not us. They're already working on a pipeline to ship to their west coast, where it'll go to less efficient, dirtier Chinese refineries and get pumped in to Chinese cars with who knows what for emissions controls.

RE: Car makers have little choice
By macca007 on 10/4/2012 3:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe, But they aint stupid either. Most of the oil corporations have already invested a lot into renewables such as solar ages ago. They won't get hurt that bad just shift their sales focus onto whatever is the "next big thing".
Having all your eggs in one basket is plain stupid in business terms,I am sure they have already thought it out long before us consumers had even heard of affordable residential solar panels.

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