Aside from its hybrid technology, Toyota has fallen behind the competition in terms of vehicle powertrains which could leave popular cars like the Toyota Camry and Toyota RAV4 lagging behind the competition. While most of its rivals have started using gasoline direct injection, turbochargers and some have moved to Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) to balance performance and fuel economy, many Toyota models are still using underpowered engines and outdated transmission technology. According to a report in Autoweek, Toyota is finally going to start dabbling in all of these technologies over the next couple years.

In the States, Toyota only currently uses direct injection on the Scion FR-S, Lexus GS and Lexus LS, but AW says it will be introducing two new GDI engines over the next two years: a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine for its hybrids next year and a sportier 2.0-liter turbocharged mill a year later. It sounds like Toyota is also looking to convert its AR family engines to direct injection as early as next year for use in cars like the Venza and Lexus RX, but it won't be used on the Prius due to higher cost that would likely only return an "incremental benefit." The 2.0-liter turbo engine would be a derivative of the 2.5-liter AR engine, but there is no word as to what models this would go into. Based on the success of the Ford EcoBoost engines, we'd have to guess at least the Camry, RAV4 and Highlander.

Toyota's transmission lineup will also get some much-needed updating with wider-spread use of CVTs and six- and eight-speed transmissions for its bigger cars. Toyota is one of the few remaining automakers still using a four-speed automatic on its small cars, and this is rumored to be ending with the next-generation Corolla receiving a new CVT.


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  • 51 Comments
      wilkegm
      • 2 Years Ago
      nice that they're finally catching up to Ford, VWAG and GM as far as a 2.0T. Finally adding DI will be good, too, but the trucks need that as well. Booooh on the CVT- get some nice 7 spd DSGs instead, and keep planetary automatics for the bigger applications.
      dchamp1337
      • 2 Years Ago
      My girlfriend has a 2005 Corolla with a 5 speed manual. It is decent transportation, but there isn't any fun built into that car at all. The only real complaint I have about functionality is the dead pedal / fender well intrude under the clutch pedal, so you often don't get the clutch all the way down, and grind gears when shifting.
        Serenespeed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dchamp1337
        That's why they made an XRS version from 05-06. 2670lbs, 6 speed manual only, sport suspension, bucket seats, reinforced chassis, and a yamaha tuned 8200rpm motor, (and no clutch intrusion problem) check into it. It's a bit more fun, especially in the canyons.
      FRENZIED
      • 2 Years Ago
      Unless Toyota's CVT are similar to the CV trannies they have in their Prius then forget it. The CVT Toyota has in the Prius is great. Nissan CVTs (by Jatco) are disposable piles of trash!
      Sorten Borten
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota is going to "start dabbling in technologies" that they've offered in production vehicles for the past decade?
      Kahz
      • 2 Years Ago
      i didn't know a Ford Explorer had a hatchback variant
      Radioactive Flea
      • 2 Years Ago
      It\'s not like I was going to buy a boring Toyota anyway, but the CVT thing makes it more so.
      Jenn
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is great news. I have always liked Toyota and their products. I really want to see what they do and what kind of new innovations they will come up with.
      Kahz
      • 2 Years Ago
      dafuq?
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've always found it amazing how the Corolla has stayed near the top of the sales list given it's 4 speed automatic transmission. Furthermore, most reviewers rarely knock any of the Toyota 4 speed automatics. They always say something like "gets the job done" or "surprisingly effective". I have always felt Toyota has been given a pass on some of their old tech. Other companies would routinely get trashed for having a 5 speed "in this day and age where 6 speeds are common." Oh well, welcome to the new century, Toyota!
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Its called 'inertial marketing'.
        nsxrules
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        2 things: 1) "gets the job done" is right, in that segment people just want a reliable, dependable car. So the 4speed is "good enough". And sales prove it. 2) "Welcome to the new century"? Did you forget that Toyota leads in the most advanced powetrain offered, hybrids? Not to mention that they have direct injection and were 1st with an 8speed trans in the Lexus LS.
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        It's kind of like how Apple goes about their iPhone releases. "iPhone 5 has a 4" screen, a stunning innovation in the world of smartphones."
          Gorgenapper
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gorgenapper
          Do you know what an analogy is? I'll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with the anus.
        BB79826
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I'd say Toyota gets a pass on their old tech because of the numbers. The Corolla's slow, but gets stellar fuel economy still. The Camry V6 doesn't have DI, but it's far quicker than competitors' "more powerful" engines. I have a feeling that the new Corolla is actually gonna be a massive improvement. But the idea of a CVT isn't getting me excited.
        Hedo D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I agree. I have a 09 Matrix with 1.8L and it\'s auto only has 4-speed. In fact, all Toyota with less than 1.8 has 4 speed transmission. Heck, many competitors already offer 5 or even 6 speed auto in it\'s class. Extra gear would give Matrix around 36 mpg instead of lame 32 mpg. Only good thing is its engine is virtually maintenance free since it has hydraulic valve adjustment, electric power steering, chain driven DOHC, 100k mile long life spark plugs.
        Hedo D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I agree. I have a 09 Matrix with 1.8L and it\'s auto only has 4-speed. In fact, all Toyota with less than 1.8 has 4 speed transmission. Heck, many competitors already offer 5 or even 6 speed auto in it\'s class. Extra gear would give Matrix around 36 mpg instead of lame 32 mpg. Only good thing is its engine is virtually maintenance free since it has hydraulic valve adjustment, electric power steering, chain driven DOHC, 100k mile long life spark plugs.
        Lx495
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Perfectly said.
        CrunchyCookie98
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I think it's less a matter of "getting a free pass" than Toyota achieving with 4 speeds what other automakers need 6 to do. In Consumer Reports testing, the Corolla averages 32 MPG and the RAV4 23 -- both at the top of their class. Even the 268-horsepower Avalon gets 23!
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      CVT? No thank you. Scratch the Corolla off my shopping list.
        Lx495
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Give it a chance. It's not even in production yet.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        The Corolla should have been already off your list since it generally sucks as is right now. Nothing WRONG with it, but it doesn't have any advantages over the competition. It's ridiculous that any car on the market is still using a 4spd automatic transmission.
        guyverfanboy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Amen to that! I hate CVT's and will never buy another car/SUV that uses a CVT.
        guyverfanboy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Amen to that! I hate CVT's and will never buy another car/SUV that uses a CVT.
        Snailguy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        That your statement implies that the Corolla was even being considered by you is a little scary and sad.
      Punch and Judy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota seems to be doing just fine without DI or new transmissions. But sure, you can only sell dated tech for so long, so this was bound to happen sooner or later. Some may look at the powertrains in the Corolla and (non-hybrid) Camry and call them old. But to many shoppers of these nameplates, that actually makes them better because they are "proven" and likely to be trouble-free.
      2o6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Since when is a CVT unfashionable? I would rather have a CVT than an indecisive automatic with too many speeds. They make a lot more sense, too.
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