Toyota Tacoma Atkinson Cycle Engine Explined

Toyota Atkinson Cycle Engine

How does the Toyota Atkinson cycle Tacoma engine work?

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma has an available Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 direct injection engine with 278 hp and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 4600 rpm.

If you’re not up to speed on the Atkinson cycle engine and you’d like to know how the Toyota Atkinson cycle Tacoma engine works, here’s a quick rundown.

2016 Toyota Tacoma engine
The all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma in Decatur AL


Modern Atkinson cycle engine explained

You wouldn’t be able to tell much a difference at all between a modern Atkinson cycle engine and the most common Otto cycle engine today.

In the quest to increase efficiency, British engineer James Atkinson pioneered his four-stroke spark ignition engine in 1882 through a slight modification to an Otto cycle. He introduced a new timing sequence that delayed the closing of the intake valve during the engine’s compression stroke. When the intake valve is kept open even just a little longer, the engine’s displacement during the intake cycle is reduced while retaining the complete ration of expansion in the combustion of power stroke. What does this mean? By exploiting the part of the cycle that generates all of the power, fuel intake was able to be reduced.

So now we’ve got an efficient engine lacking power—that’s where the engineers at Toyota come in.

Read More: Toyota RAV4 2016 Hybrid Fuel Economy Numbers

2016 Toyota Prius engine

In the 1990s, Toyota realized that they were able to generate Atkinson style fuel savings with hydraulics altering the timing of the intake valves. But, we’ve still got an efficient engine with slumping power. Enter Toyota hybrid technology. Battery powered electric motors would be able to assist the gas engine when necessary to provide a little extra kick. The 1997 Toyota Prius was the first vehicle from Toyota to use this Technology. Every model since has adopted the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive Technology.

Other Toyota vehicles with the Atkinson cycle engine

The all-new 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid model sports a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor. The RAV4 Hybrid is able to deliver a combined system 194 horsepower.

  • Toyota Aris Hybrid
  • Toyota Yaris Hybrid
  • Toyota Prius Hybrid Electric
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid