Toyota and Honda are reportedly preparing to roll out a range of new turbocharged petrol engines in the face of ever-tightening emissions and average fuel consumption laws around the world.
As almost all of the European carmakers are embracing turbocharger technology in their new models, some of their Japanese counterparts have resisted making the switch.
Mazda and Toyota are notable examples, as representatives from each carmaker have previously stated that improvements to economy can still be found in naturally-aspirated engines.
But the ‘atmo’s’ day in the sun might be coming to an end, with industry paper Automotive News quoting sources from both Toyota and Honda who say the turbocharged future is approaching.
"The powertrain is still an area where we see ourselves as being able to squeeze out a significant amount of efficiency," Toyota’s Andrew Coetzee said, referring to the possibility of turbocharging.
Toyota’s luxury arm in Lexus has already begun to embrace turbocharged engines (such as the NX 200t, pictured, top of page), and Toyota could soon follow by replacing some V6-powered units with a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
The future of Australia’s V6-powered Aurion sedan is very much uncertain following Toyota’s exit from the local manufacturing scene in 2017, and a turbocharged Camry model could potentially fill the performance gap.
Toyota didn’t commit to a deadline for a switch to turbocharged engines, and is said to be continuing with its naturally-aspirated development programs for now.
Honda on the other hand is apparently ready to make the switch soon.
"Downsized turbocharged engines offer the power that the customer wants along with the efficiencies of fuel economy and the benefits that go along with the ‘light-weighting’," Honda’s Frank Paluch said.
Honda’s CR-V, Civic and Accord are all reportedly in line for the turbocharged treatment, with different versions of the same 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol unit set to power all three in some markets.
As these models are the volume sellers for Honda, meaning the carmaker can give itself some breathing space to develop other models while ensuring it stays within ‘across-the-range’ minimum fuel economy figures.
But while more turbocharged engines might be on the cards for Toyota and Honda one day, each carmaker has an eye planted firmly on the future with each investing heavily in hybrid and hydrogen technology.
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