Toyota and Lexus are readying turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines that may debut by 2015, according to Automotive News. Toyota trademarked the names NX 200t and NX 300h for a future compact crossover, hinting at a new small-displacement engine.
Although many automakers have launched turbo-four engines in recent years, which can provide the same power as a V-6 but achieve better fuel economy, Toyota has resisted. Neither the automaker nor its luxury division, Lexus, offers a turbocharged vehicle in the U.S. market. And while key competitors like the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata now offer 2.0-liter turbo engines, the Toyota Camry continues with the company's venerable 3.5-liter V-6.
According to AN, the NX 200t trademark hints at a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will debut by late 2014 or early 2015. A hybrid derivative would debut in a model called the NX 300h. The turbo-four engine could also appear as the base engine in the Lexus IS250, as well as in the Toyota RAV4. Some of the RAV4's competitors, including the Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, already offer 2.0-liter turbo engines. So far, Toyota has focused mainly on introducing hybrids to save fuel.
Previous reports suggested that Toyota would introduce a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine by 2014. It would mate to a continuously variable transmission in small vehicles and to either a six- or eight-speed automatic in larger ones. In addition, Lexus is expected to launch a small luxury crossover next year at the Geneva Motor Show. That could be the model hinted at by the NX 200t and NX 300h trademark designations.
Generally, most automakers are expected to switch to downsized turbocharged engines in future years, as it helps meet tighter emissions and fuel-economy regulations without sacrificing power. Turbo supplier Honeywell predicts that about a quarter of all new cars in the U.S. will use turbochargers by 2017. However, the recent announcement that Toyota will invest $200 million to increase V-6 engine production capacity in the U.S. signals it is still committed to selling six-cylinder engines for some time.
Toyota representatives declined to comment on the possibility of turbocharged engines, and said in an email that, "Turbocharged engines are something that we've sold in the past here in the U.S. and could consider in the future, but we don't have any pending plans to announce at this time."
Source: Automotive News