Toyota Goes Turbo With New Engine Offerings on the Horizon

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Toyota is planning to release several new downsized turbo engines as early as next year. These small displacement engines will probably be focused on cars, yet a full-size truck offering may be part of a  future discussion. Our big question is an “EcoBoost” Tundra a viable idea?

Toyota Goes Turbo With New Engine Offerings on the Horizon

Toyota is working on developing new, turbocharged engines that could conceivably replace the four cylinder and maybe six cylinder offerings. Is a turbocharged Tundra a possibility?

For years, Toyota seemed married to only electric and hybrid engine options even though the competition was developing a range of different engine offerings. That is about to change. At the Toyko auto show last month, Toyota announced that it will use turbocharged engines through its portfolio. In fact, the first turbocharged Toyota is expected to offer will be in the new Lexus compact crossover, LF-NX. This vehicle and engine offering will be the tip of the iceberg for more engine offerings.

Toyota Goes Turbo With New Engine Offerings on the Horizon

This wild looking Lexus LF-NX compact crossover will have a turbocharged engine, a first for Toyota.

According to an story, Satoshi Ogiso spoke quite a bit about the new turbocharged options. Ogiso is Toyota’s managing officer of alternative vehicles, powertrains and chassis development. He revealed that Toyota nameplates will use the technology to improve fuel economy and that many models will have the option in a few years. Lexus will instead rely on it for the low-end torque boost.

In an interesting statement, Ogiso told Autonews that: “A 1.4-liter turbo standing in for a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine can deliver a 5 percent increase in fuel economy, Ogiso estimated. Fuel economy gains are bigger when turbo engines are combined with manual transmissions than with automatics.” This statement is one of the few times we have heard something positive about manual transmissions in a long, long time.

In other news, Honda unveiled three new turbocharged engines prior the show. The engines are 1.0-liters, 1.5-liters and 2.0-liters in displacement. These engines will offer turbocharging and direct injection with Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing hardware.

Honda says these engines will be “most suitable for small-to-medium-sized vehicles,” according to an story. The largest engine is said to be good for more than 276 horsepower.

Subaru is also making plans to introduce turbocharged engines as well. Subaru is actually aiming to follow GM’s lead and replace their 3.5-L V-6 with a turbocharged 2.5-L four cylinder engine.

One of our criticisms of Toyota is the lack of at least offering different powertrain ideas. With Ford having the EcoBoost, Ram offering a diesel and GM redoing their engines to be more efficient, it has felt like Toyota’s powertrain options had been falling behind. While, Toyota advocates and engineers will rightly point out that the iForce engine is still fairly advanced, one does yearn for something new and exciting.

While a turbocharged V-6 offering in a Tundra seems like a stretch, it is possible in the future and it may make sense with regards to fuel economy. As we have noted on this site several times, Toyota has been on the defensive about their fuel economy numbers. Could a turbocharged engine be a solution?

What do you think? Is this just a fantasy or is it a good possibility?

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  1. mendonsy says:

    Oh …. I think it will probably happen.
    Turbo engines were popular for a while in the ’80s then almost completely disappeared in the ’90s. (Mopar inline 6 turbo for example)
    It’s a cyclic fad that comes along every few years.
    It is just like the “global warning” craze of the early ‘2000’s being replaced by the new “impending ice age” theory. Mostly hype, little substance!

    • GoBig says:

      Turbos must be the real deal then. Come to Alaska. There is water off the north coast where there was once only ice.

      I’m not passing judgement on the cause, just that the place has warmed up and changed in the 45 years I’ve been here. Of course that isn’t even the blink of an eye in geologic terms.

      But back to turbos. They have been around for years without interruption on everything from cars to airplanes, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. The problem is justifying the benefit with the increased cost.

      I can see Toyota bringing them to their trucks. I would expect to see it in the Tacoma before the Tundra. Time will tell.

  2. DJ says:

    Why have the reliability risk in exchange for a measly 5% MPG increase? I could see if it was 15% but 5% is hardly worth the trouble. People’s driving styles will easily mitigate a 1-2mpg increase. Just goes to show you how this new turbo craze is marketing driven.

  3. Larry says:

    I think it will happen for sure. With the FEDs demanding lower fuel consumption it will be a key component to meet the numbers.

    The engine will be lighter.

    At low/no boost it will consume less fuel helping to meet the numbers.

    Of course we all know that people will not drive a turbo system at low boost that won’t matter. They will be able to do some tests under controlled conditions and put a nice EPA milage number on the sticker.

    If turbos were really a good thing for gas motor trucks why is Ford not putting the EcoBoost on the F250 3/4 ton?

    I have a turbo truck which gets okay millage, kick in the turbo to pull heavy loads and it will drop down to 8 – 10 MPG. That turbo is not on the truck to save anything, it’s there to help burn more fuel for more power. Too bad the Feds can’t do arithmetic. They are going to fall for this high millage turbo scam for sure.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      This “If turbos were really a good thing for gas motor trucks why is Ford not putting the EcoBoost on the F250 3/4 ton?” is a great question!


  4. mk says:

    unfortunately it is coming and not at all impressed. For one, most, not all, 4 banger turbo’s recommend 91 octane or higher gas to run better. Thus, I’ll opt for a standard V6 engine anyday over a higher revving 4 banger turbo.

    Our Hyundai santa fe 3.5L V6 is no longer an option instead a higher revving 4 cylinder turbo rated about same hp/torque as my V6 and ONLY a 1-2 at most mpg increase, if that. NO thank you, I’ll take my tried and true V6 and V8 engines ALL DAY LONG.

    Look at ford f150 ecoboost twin turbo V6 – not impressed and won’t last as long as our tundra’s V8 no way.

  5. Breathing Borla says:

    if they want to throw a turbo on the 350, then I would say that would be cool.

    otherwise leave the ecobust for Ford. I guess I am just a V8 guy.

    Some idiot was trying to street race me a few months ago in a f-150 ecobust and was flooring it all over the place, I laughed harder every time I heard him punch it. I just keep rolling at normal speed with the nice V8 rumble.

    the ecobust sounds like a sewing machine, I don’t care how much power it makes, it just not for me

    • Larry says:

      But think about how much fun you are missing. Just wait Ford will up the boost pressure and enter an F150 raptor V6 twin turbo in the Indy 500. Who knows, it might last 100 miles before is starts dumping water in the engine from the turbo and shoots the plugs right out the side.

      Many keep telling me how great that small V6 turbo is. We might start seeing it all over the place. Bull dozers, excavators, even M1 tanks could save all kind of weight and fuel. I my just need to give in and rip the cummins motor out of my truck and put one of those gas turbo motors in instead.

      Sadly, I think this is headed to the Tundra for sure. With luck the 5.7 V8 will stay available for many years. As soon as they build one with a 6 speed manual trans I will dump the ram and get one.

      But,,,,,, all jokes aside, if Toyota boosts their V6 I bet they do a good job. Every motor Toyota has built for 25 years has been bullet proof. It doesn’t have any power but, I doubt I could kill off one of those 4 cylinder engines.

  6. Mickey says:

    We’ll see how this will work. I’ll be conservative on this. Don’t know a lot on turbo’s.

  7. Randy says:

    Since Ford has clearly proven and demonstrated the F150 EcoBoost cannot be driven at dew point for 6 hours without damage (includes the 2014 model)……Then Toyota will have to prove they can before I will buy one.

    There is no place in Japan were you can drive for 6 hours at Dew Point and that is where the first turbo charged Toyota’s will be sold. Those types of driving conditions only occur for about 5% of the USA and cannot be duplicated in an automotive environmental chamber. This is a critical engineering failure that Ford still has not figured out to this day.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      They will build and test the turbo charged engine throughout the US in all sorts of conditions. Typically, automakers spend months testing these types of things. That is really what made the Ford issue so surprising. They had to have tested it in the deep South with humidity and just missed it. Missing an item like that is a big mistake.


  8. Randy says:


    Keep in mind this critical Ford issue has still not been reported correctly in the media. Neither has Ford’s testing to date accounted for the issue; which is why Ford still has no solution for it. It has nothing to do with “humidity” it is strictly a “dew point” issue. That is a major difference. It is simply failed engineering because basic science “was” and “is” completely ignored.

    Hopefully Toyota will not make the same major mistake?


    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      That is interesting. I have spoken to Ford on occasion and been on Ford forums. It seemed to me that the new CAC was fixing the problem. I also heard guys were driving holes in it to drain the water.

      What are you hearing?


      • Randy says:


        Ford does not have “any” mechanism in place to remove water from the CAC other than to send it directly into the engine. The hole drilled in the CAC (not approved by Ford) is a small partial solution; it will clog up over time, because there is air, water, microscopic dust, and oil blow by from the turbos. You have most likely seen the photos of the gook inside the CAC. That gook also messes up the throttle by wire in a big way.

        The fourth generation CAC and larger turbos has finally yielded some improvements, at least that is what I hear. Still that does not directly address the real problem; getting all the water out before it reaches the engine. This latest revision has only been in production a few short months, mainly the 2014 models; so I do not know if the problem has been fixed (unlikely). In other words I do not know if owners are still experiencing engine failures – bent rods, broken piston skirts, clogged cats, cracked blocks. I think it would take at least another year to know if this fourth major revision in the F150 EcoBoost has addressed the issue for these major failures. IMHO, this issue will never be fixed unless all the water is removed….it is that critical.

        There is a solid reason why most EcoBoost owners that have experienced these problems (about 5%) will never go back. That is also the single largest reason they change brands as well.

        Previously I said: “Hopefully Toyota will not make the same major mistake?” Well I can add to that: “If Toyota does do make a mistake of this magnitude they will not abandon their customers like Ford”

        And now the anecdotal story: Among the dozens of vehicles I have owned, three of them were Toyota Previa vans. All driven to 100,000 miles with zero mechanical problems. Used for traveling sales at 50,000 miles per year, I traded every two years. The last one, a 1995 model with dual glass moon roofs, developed a rust problem on the roof with 99,675 miles on it. After three attempted repairs under warranty, they could not fix it; now with 100,978 miles. The dealer said (not my normal dealer), we just cannot figure it out and Toyota said they cannot approve any additional repairs. So I called Toyota, expecting nothing. I called Toyota directly, explained the problem, she put me on hold……when she came back she said: “Are you expecting to trade soon?” I said “yes I was…but it has rust on the roof in three places”…..she said: “If you purchase a new Toyota we will send you a Big Fat Check in the amount of $$$$$”…. And she said: “You can go to any Toyota dealer you want and purchase any vehicle Toyota makes…..after you make the purchase just send us your purchase invoice”. Well I did that, and Toyota followed through with that Big Fat Check.

        So what happened in 1997 is another reason I am in a Tundra today. Toyota has always provided me with a solution; Ford never has.


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