The new TNGA engines are "much more" thermally efficient, offering around 15% more power and - in conjunction with more efficient automatic and CVT transmissions – offer as much as 25% better fuel economy.
The "fifth generation" hybrid powertrain that is bundled with TNGA is claimed to be 15% more economical than today’s Toyota hybrid models.
This new powertain family will also reduce the huge complexity of Toyota’s global engine line-up. The company estimates that, taking into account different emissions regulations and way the units are mounted in a particular platform, it has around 800 different engines.
The common parts in the TNGA architecture are almost entirely hidden from view. It covers the front end and crash structure, the actual floor structure and the rear floor and rear crash structure. Also included are the front and rear suspension systems, the whole powertrain, the radiator position, the heating and climate control unit and the steering system.
Inside, the seat frames are common but can be sited at five different heights, allowing the TNGA kit to cover all types of vehicles from superminis to MPVs.
According to Toyota, the only common visible parts in the cabin will be the steering wheel, touchscreen, gear selector and foot pedals. On the outside, the only common parts will be the door mirrors and the Toyota badge.
This, it’s claimed, will give Toyota’s operations in the various global markets the ability to completely customise vehicles to local tastes.
Previously, Toyota’s development system allowed vehicle line chief engineers to customise platforms and powertrains when developing new models. This was the main reason for the massive proliferation in platforms and powertrains.
From now, the chief engineers will use the TNGA toolkit and invest more in meeting local market demands and delivering the ‘eye-catching design’ that Toyota bosses insist has to mark out all future models.
The first TNGA-based car will be a "front-drive, medium-size model" launched later this year. Although Toyota officials wouldn’t give any further details, the TNGA architecture on display at its Honsha facility was Auris-sized and had independent rear suspension.
According to the company, investment in a TNGA model will be around 40% lower than a similar model from 2008. However, as much as 75% of this saving will be invested in what Toyota says is its new mission statement of "making ever-better cars".
While not being specific, it seems that this extra cash will go into more sophisticated technical specifications – possibly including low-cost autonomous safety equipment - and niceties such as higher-quality slush-moulded dashboards, touchscreens on all models and improved trim materials.
Toyota says the TNGA development ultimately underpins its corporate desire to build cars that are seen as more than efficient and reliable, but deliver driving pleasure and innovative design.
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