Is It Time for Toyota to Give Us Diesel Cars?
While automakers like Jeep are busy hinting at releasing torque machines like a diesel-powered Wrangler, Toyota has come out and announced that its redesigned turbo diesel engines are being outfitted on a multitude of different vehicles, and that these drivetrains will offer “more torque, greater efficiency, and lower emissions.” In a recent press release, the Japanese automaker hit us with a lot of exciting information, including a single line stating that this engine will be available in approximately 90 markets by the end of 2016.
But before we go and sound the horns and sing hallelujah, let’s keep in mind that America is not guaranteed this little bundle of energy-efficient torque, because nowhere in the release did it say that the United States will be one of the markets receiving this engine. Toyota is still the world’s largest automaker, so there are plenty of markets out there that rank higher on the priority list for this project.
Due to demand, Asian markets like Thailand are are already seeing trucks outfitted with this diesel sipper, and countries in Europe are still far more likely to buy vehicles that sport a turbo-diesel engine, thus making America look like even less of priority.This sounds incredibly disheartening, but it is a fact that turbo-diesel-powered vehicles are not that popular here in the states compared to gasoline-fueled cars.
However, 90 is a pretty big number, and we are surely going to be listed in there somewhere. We may not get a lot of these things right out of the gate, but it’s better than nothing. Chances are Toyota is going to play it safe and test this platform out in a few key markets before unleashing it on a wide-scale level, much like it is doing with the Mirai hydrogen car.
Before we dive into why America is a prime candidate for a turbo-diesel Toyota engine, let’s look at what makes this puppy so spectacular. Toyota says that this engine represents the first use of something called “Thermo Swing Wall Insulation Technology (TSWIN),” which makes the 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV engine the most thermally sound powerplant in existence with 44% efficiency. Cooler engines equate to more power, better fuel gains, and longer engine life, so this kind of thermal cooling is a huge piece of the puzzle. While maximum torque has been improved by 25% over previous models, and low speed torque has seen a bump of 11%, fuel gains have spiked by 15% across the board. The engine runs cleaner too, only emitting nitrogen oxide (NOx) in 1% increments when in use, which is a huge selling point in states like California, where NOx is one of the main causes of air pollution.
Toyota has also developed its own turbocharger for this engine, which is reportedly 30% smaller than its predecessor, works far better than any other turbo to date, and has a special impeller that eliminates turbo-lag while producing more torque across a wider power-band. So it runs cleaner, has more power, uses less fuel, and it’s a Toyota engine, so it’s going to be as indestructible as Keith Richard’s liver. This thing sounds like a dream come true, and we think Toyota is teasing us with it just in time.
While turbo-diesel car sales in America may not be as robust as those in Europe, there are a lot of factors at work right now that could make us big time diesel consumers in upcoming years. Government standards are becoming increasingly restrictive, and as more performance cars become diesel-powered Americans begin to realize that these motors aren’t just for semis and Volkswagens anymore. These energy-efficient engines offer us more torque than we can shake a stick at, typically have more than double the range of a gasoline-powered engine, and give us the choice to run our cars on french fry oil if we feel so inclined. Hell, we will probably be using ocean water to power our cars before long, as Audi’s recent breakthrough has successfully turned a blend of water and CO2 into diesel fuel.
Since America loves rugged trucks so much, it behooves Toyota to use a Tacoma as its “test subject” here in the states. Truck buyers love some torque, and if it offers them better fuel economy and efficiency also, then we are sure that it will do well. Toyota reports that by 2016 turbo diesel engine production will reach approximately 700,000 units a year for the aforementioned 90 markets, and this is set to expand to at least 150 markets by 2020. The only question left then is how much will this little motor run us when it comes time for Americans to choose diesel or petrol?