Thursday, November 19, 2015
Subcompact Showcase: The Only 2ZR-FE-Powered Yaris in the U.S.
In North America, the Toyota Yaris comes with the venerable 1NZ-FE engine which makes around 106 horsepower, and as we've learned, it's not a bad little engine. However, a few lucky parts of the world got the Yaris T-Sport, which came with the 1.8-liter 2ZR-FE engine making about 30 more horsepower and 20 ft/lbs more torque. This is the engine found in the Scion xD, and the Toyota Corolla and Matrix.
It's likely North America didn't get the more powerful Yaris T-Sport since we got the Scion xD. But, a few enterprising gearheads in California decided to swap in the 2ZR-FE into a Yaris, which seems like a natural thing to do, right? They created the U.S.'s only 2ZR-FE-powered Yaris, and it was apparently much easier than anticipated.
The car's builder, Tom Armstrong, of Armstrong Racing, said the swap was literally a plug and play affair and the build took just two days to complete. Despite the fact the Yaris was being converted from an automatic to a manual, Tom said the wiring already existed for both automatic and manual transmissions. Easy peasy. "No one ever gets that lucky," said Tom. "We literally had to change two wires to get everything to work."
In addition, Tom says since both cars are the same year, the car is California compliant, which saved a whole lot of headache when it comes to vehicle inspection.
Tom says the car was done on a shoestring budget with nothing but great friends, basic tools, plenty of pizza and Redbull, and sheer force of will.
We love stories like this, and this could be an inspiration for future Yaris swaps. There are enough 2ZR-FE-powered vehicles out there now that this could become a hot swap for the Yaris, especially with the ease of swapping everything over. It's an instant 30 more horsepower and 20 ft/lbs. more torque without any modifications to the engine. It's trailblazers like Tom that can open an enthusiast's eyes as to the potential of a car, and I think is a great example of just that.