With fuel efficiency becoming a prominent factor driving car purchases; Toyota has gone on the offensive by launching two new small-displacement, Atkinson cycle engines.
Built to power the Japanese-automaker’s Aygo commuter and the 2015 Lexus RC F, respectively, the new Atkinson-cycle engines will come in 1.0 and 1.3L versions. While neither engine will generate frame-crunching torque, their higher compression ratios, improved combustion chamber design, weight reduction and reduced frictional energy loses will mean major gas savings for drivers.
While this isn’t Toyota’s first attempt at using an Atkinson cycle engine in a vehicle (they’re used in the company’s Prius hybrid), it does represent the company’s first attempt at using the Atkinson design as a stand-alone power plant.
Featuring a number of innovations including a redesigned intake port, an idle stop function, a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system, plastic coated bearings and Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing intelligent Electric technology, the independent Atkinson will best its predecessor’s fuel efficiency by approximately 30 percent. Put into performance terms, Toyota’s new 1.0L Atkinson will get an estimated 78mpg. While some of that efficiency will be lost in the Lexus RC F’s 1.3L model, Toyota insists the larger Atkinson model is also a world-beater. Still, no concrete numbers have been released for that incarnation of the engine.
According to Toyota, the newly announced engines will be incorporated in at least 14-vehicle variations by 2015, giving consumers many more options for hyper-efficient commuting.
Whether a stand-alone 1.0L Atkinson cycle engine can climb the steep slopes of San Francisco’s streets or endure a trip through West Virginia’s hills is still a mystery to me. However, if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient, flatland commuter, you might do well to look for one armed with this amazing engine.
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Image and Video Courtesy of Toyota and ADP Training