By on November 28, 2018

Toyota followed its November debut of the twelfth-generation Corolla with a November debut of the twelfth-generation Corolla. This time around, we’re looking at the new Hybrid sedan — a model which seems like it probably should have gone on sale years ago, though we aren’t positive who the intended demographic would be. Prius owners?

While the Corolla Hybrid already exists in Toyota’s expanded universe, this is the first time the automaker has seen fit to bring the variant stateside. The hybrid system unites a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine (2ZR-FXE) and two electric motors for a combined output of 121 horsepower. Those are rather tepid specs, but the automaker was likely much more concerned with achieving the model’s estimated 50 mpg average fuel economy than tuning the motor for the racetrack.

Consider it sort of a Diet Prius, if that helps.  (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

Infiniti four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine, Image: Infiniti

It was 1998 and my friend Tom had just picked up a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI AWD.

“Ok, go ahead and floor it, but don’t rev it past 5,000 rpm,” Tom said.

I mashed the throttle and … nothing happened.

We were moving, but it was at the pace of a Toyota Corolla and nowhere near the rate of acceleration promised by the 2.0-liter turbo’s claimed 195 horsepower.

Disappointed, I left my foot on the throttle for a few seconds. Suddenly, I heard the whistle of the spooling turbo and a sudden shove of boost kicked in.

Four-cylinder turbo engines from the ‘90s were all similar to this. While they generated relatively big power at the top end, they also suffered from massive turbo lag and had fuel economy similar to a much larger V8.

Nissan’s new Variable Compression Turbo engine promises big power, minimal turbo lag, and decent fuel economy using some new trickery.

Is this the holy grail of turbocharged motors?
(Read More…)

By on April 12, 2016

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

Sometimes, circumstance hands you a perfect metaphor.

While driving Hyundai’s redesigned and all-around updated 2017 Elantra, a brand-spankin’-new Honda Civic bolted out from a side street, led me for a short while, then put the hammer down before it took off into the distance.

Up ’till that moment, the electric blue Elantra tester (in option-heavy Limited form) had proven itself a comfortable, roomy, good-handling compact by soaking up the worst potholes, frost heaves and patches that early spring could throw at it. But here, all of a sudden, was its main competitor — the award-winning Civic, the car to beat in the compact class — and I could almost feel the worry emerge from the Korean plastic and steel that encased me.

No car exists in a vacuum (thank you, capitalism!), so the Elantra’s mandate can’t simply be to improve on its own past — it must present a compelling argument against the Civic. Is it up to the task?

(Read More…)

By on April 11, 2014

1.3L_gasoline_engine

Toyota has unveiled this week two new fuel-efficient gasoline engines that will serve as the basis for as many as 14 global powerplants by 2015, and boost economy by 10 percent.

(Read More…)

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