TOKYO — Toyota Motor will introduce a sweeping powertrain portfolio starting this spring as part of a five-year overhaul to make its vehicles more fuel-efficient but sportier to drive.
The engine wave begins with a cleaner, more powerful 2.0-liter that will appear first in the redesigned Auris hatchback, which is to debut at the Geneva auto show. The Auris is the European and Japanese version of the Corolla iM sold in the U.S.
By 2023, new engines and transmissions will power 80 percent of new Toyota vehicles.
Also among the new products are more dynamic all-wheel-drive systems for trucks and hybrids and a continuously variable transmission that counters the rubber-band feel often derided by CVT critics by adding a toothed "launch gear."
The powertrain blueprint is Toyota's clear signal that it sees big potential for improving old-school internal combustion technology, even in the dawning age of electrification.
While Toyota expects half its nameplates to be electrified by 2030, some 90 percent of its vehicles will continue to rely on fuel-burning powerplants, said Mitsumasa Yamagata, Toyota's chief engineer for powertrain planning, in laying out the plans.
"Even in 2030," he said.
Just 10 percent of Toyota's models will dump engines altogether in favor of full electric or fuel cell powertrains. Thus, Toyota's key focus at the moment is improving the humble gasoline powerplant.
"The evolution of engines and transmissions will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greatly contribute to the environment," Yamagata said.