Toyota to Finally Get Onboard With Direct Injection, Turbocharging to Boost Efficiency
October 3, 2012 12:38 PM
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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
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
), 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.
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10/3/2012 3:43:28 PM
The Altima and Elantra are not boosted cars, so Toyota can provide better fuel efficiency without going the boosted route and probably with just the direct injection.
The better comparison is between the Camry: 25/35 and the Ford Fusion with EcoBoost 22/33. Also the Chevy Malibu has an "EcoTech" engine with direct injection and they get 25/37.
BTW. I average 28MPG in my Elantra when I'm driving nicely, so obviously there are extreme differences in driving styles to get to 40MPG.
10/3/2012 3:54:47 PM
1) This was the correct comparison. The Camry which gets 25/35 right now is the 2.5-liter. It will be replaced by the 2.5 with DI mentioned in the article.
A hypothetical Camry 2.0T would go up against the Fusion 2.0 EcoBoost, Accord V6, and the Altima V6.
If you're going to go the EcoBoost route, the correct Fusion comparison would be with the 1.6, not the 2.0. The Fusion 1.6 EcoBoost is rated at 25/37.
2) The Malibu you're talking about is the Malibu Eco. It used a mild hybrid/alternator arrangement to get 25/37. The standard 2.5-liter Malibu is only rated at 22/34.
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