Toyota has gone hybrid crazy in the last decade. And now even engines going in normal gas-powered models will be a little more like a hybrid. Case in point: their new 1.3-liter four.
The company announced the engine yesterday their new 1.3 is a gas engine that uses the Atkinson cycle – a system common in hybrids but unlike conventional gas-only engines. Toyota says it's a big step in efficiency:
Use of the Atkinson cycle provides an increased expansion ratio and reduces waste heat through a high compression ratio (13.5), resulting in superior thermal efficiency.
Which makes me think that the next Toyota Prius could get a downsized engine. Now, excess isn't a word associated with the Prius, but with more and more cars adopting smaller engines, the 1.8-liter in the current car seems like a prime candidate to be scrapped in favor of this new 1.3.
Now I can't wait to see what's powering the next Prius. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.