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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: $6000 mark up?
By nedsand on 10/3/2012 5:10:51 PM , Rating: 2
This was kind of my first thought also. One of the reasons for purchasing my wife's Vibe was how rock solid the little 1.8l Toyota motor was. It gets good gas mileage and doesn't have enough power to tear itself apart. 168K and still going strong. Reliability trumps a few extra MPGs in my book. I'm still on the fence on all of these new technologies. I wonder how many american made turbo cars made 10ish years ago are still on the road. I'm hanging on to what I have until I'm confident they will last. (crossing fingers for the eco-boost F-150)

RE: $6000 mark up?
By macca007 on 10/4/2012 3:41:23 AM , Rating: 2
Funny you should say that!
It's a catch 22, Aint too many 4 cylinder turbos on the road after ten years(enthusiasts don't count as they look after their cars ;) ) but you I see a heaps of old rusted out V8's that just keep chugging along and don't have to work as hard as 4 cyl cars but lose out on the economy. I guess mr average V6 wins out again perhaps?
I see a number of new V6's not far off 900km out of 1 tank of petrol these days with direct injection, Quite impressive considering they also make decent power 210kw Holden SV6 for example. That's nearing the stock power of what my V8 was from 2003. Lucky if I get 300-350km out of a tank of juice in my car,Although I am a leadfeat which doesn't help!

RE: $6000 mark up?
By nedsand on 10/4/2012 9:15:00 AM , Rating: 2
It's not that I don't think they will get the technology perfected but I have been bitten by being an early adopter before. The american turbos of the 90s were crap (looking at you crysler). When ford added VVT to the rock solid 5.4l V8 they had issues the first few years. Sure the HP jumped from 265 to 300 and the torque got a nice boost as well. But at what cost? Timing chain tensioners, cam phasers, VVT solenoids, broken spark plugs and they extended the warranty on the fuel injectors to 10Y/100K for a good reason. Don't get me wrong I love technology and can't wait for the day my full sized pickup with 4x4 and tow package averages better than 15mpg but I don't want to see car companies produce disposable crap like some did in the 80s. It took years for ford and chevy to restore their image. Chrysler never did in my book.

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