Why Is Toyota Afraid To Offer Turbochargers In Its Entry-Level Cars?


The better question is, does Toyota even need turbochargers in the first place?

Nerds like us may have found it interesting to sit in science class and imagine how lineages of different animal species branched away from a unifying ancestor and evolved to become something entirely different. We learn in class that this is a result of an evolutionary pressure in the natural world, but as coincidence would have it, cars face the same pressures to evolve. As regulators continue to crack down on emissions (for now), automakers are branching towards different technologies.

While automakers like BMW and Volkswagen are pushing towards electric cars by gradually adding plug-in hybrids to the mix until electric drivetrains become sophisticated enough, others, like Ford, are focusing on turbocharging. As Car and Driver Blog points out, Toyota has its hybrids, but for some reason it refuses to dip into the realm of the turbocharger. Citing the fact that Toyota’s new Camry still keeps its displacement during its transition to a new 2018 model with revised versions of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a 3.5-liter V6, and a reworked hybrid option, the automotive outlet begs the question, why hasn’t Toyota moved towards turbochargers?

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According to Masato Katsumata, chief engineer for the 2018 Camry, it’s because Americans love V6 engines. “The American customer loves a V6, right? That is my understanding of why we have to keep the V6,” said Katsumata. For Camry customers, the V6 is nothing more than bragging rights and makes up only 10 percent of the model’s sales. For Toyota, it’s a direct answer to the V6 Honda Accord as well as a lure to bring customers with higher incomes into dealerships. The Japanese automaker also sees no point in adding a complicated turbocharger to a four-cylinder engine that’s gotten good enough to offer V6 power while wasting less fuel than its predecessor.

Despite the fact that displacement hasn’t changed, the 2.5-liter four-banger is all new, offering what deputy chief engineer Keith Moritsu claims is low end torque comparable to what a supercharged engine makes. Efficiency is also up by 20 percent while power increases by 10 percent. Those wanting a better driver’s car should opt for the more efficient hybrid, according to Toyota, which cites a better weight distribution thanks to the batteries under the rear seat. We can’t hate, especially with those sorts of numbers because ironically enough, it appears that it’s the Japanese automaker that’s sticking to the old mantra of "no replacement for displacement” the most stringently.

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