Toyota Engine Names Explained

Do Toyota engine names look like confusing strings of random letters and numbers? Toyota engine names follow a standard naming convention; Toyota packs each engine name (or code) with helpful information. Read on to have Toyota engine names explained. You may learn more than you expected about the engine in your Toyota.

The First Number In A Toyota Engine Name: Model Number 

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JANUARY 15: In this handout picture a detail of the engine of the new TF109 is seen during the Panasonic Toyota Formula One Grand Prix team launch of the TF109 race car for the 2009 season at the Toyota Motorsport Racing head quarter on January 15, 2009 in Cologne, Germany. One of Toyota's main challenges for 2009 will be coupling a KERS unit to its 2.4 litre V8. Toyota has retuned its RXV-09 engine in accordance with the 18,000 rpm limit. (Photo Handout Toyota via Getty Images) Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Toyota’s Formula One Engine | Toyota via Getty Images

Almost every Toyota engine name begins with a number. This number represents that engine block’s model number. Some Toyota fans refer to this number as the engine’s generation.

Toyota usually designates a new engine model number/generation when it designs a new engine–with a different displacement–around an existing engine block.

In the past, Toyota has not bothered using the number one (1) to designate the first generation of the engine in a brand new engine family. Instead, these engine names often begin with the letter(s) of the engine family.

Engine model number/generation examples:

  • 2NR-FE belongs to the second model of its engine family.
  • 3S-GTE belongs to the third model of its engine family.
  • 1KD-FTV belongs to the first model of its engine family.
  • R-LPG also belongs to the first model of its engine family.
  • 22R-E belongs to the twenty-second model of its engine family.

The First Letter(s) in a Toyota Engine Name: Engine Family

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JANUARY 15: In this handout picture the new TF109 is seen during the Panasonic Toyota Formula One Grand Prix team launch of the TF109 race car for the 2009 season at the Toyota Motorsport Racing head quarter on January 15, 2009 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo Handout Toyota via Getty Images) Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Toyota’s Formula One Engine | Toyota via Getty Images

The first one or two letters in a Toyota engine name (after the generation, before the dash) designate the engine’s family. Toyota engine families can last for decades, but all their members share a layout and often a block. Learn more about Toyota engine families

Engine family examples:

  • 3S-GTE belongs to the S engine family: older inline-four (I4) engines built around a cast-iron block.
  • 2NR-FE belongs to the NR engine family: small, recent I4 engines built around an aluminum block. 
  • 1KD-FTV belongs to the KD engine family: diesel I4s.
  • R-LPG belongs to the R engine family: older I4 gas engines designed for longitudinal placement.
  • 22R-E also belongs to the R engine family.

Toyota Engine Families Chart

An employee looks at the engine for the Toyota Motor Corp. fourth-generation Prius hybrid vehicles ahead of a test drive at Fuji Speedway on November 12, 2015 in Oyama, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images. Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Toyota Prius engine | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
AbbreviationDescription
ARI4 aluminum engine introduced in 2008. 2.7L and 2.5 L.
AZI4 aluminum block DOHC. Upsized NZ. 2002 and later.
EI4. 1986 and later. First Toyota engines with a timing belt instead of chain.
F and FZI6. Cast iron blocks and heads known for durability.
GRV6. Aluminum construction, DOHC, fuel-injected.
LRV10. Exclusively for Lexus LFA Supercar.
MZV6. Lightweight aluminum replacement f or VZ. Replaced by GR.
NR and NZI4. 1.5L. Common in the Prius. Aluminum, DOHC, VVT-i, Atkinson Cycle.
R and RZI4. Long-running engine series common in trucks, SUVs, and some cars.
SI4. Strong cast-iron block, sought for performance builds. 1982-2007.
T and TRI4. Known for reliability and performance through the 1970s and early 80s.
UBoxster-style two-cylinder and four-cylinder engines. Revived for 2011 Subaru partnership.
URV8. 4.6-5.7L. Replaced UZ series, offered timing chains and Dual VVT-i. 2007-present.
UZV8. Quad-camshaft, 32 valve, introduced in 1989.
VZV6. 2.0-3.4L. Engineered for low and mid-range torque. Introduced in 1988.
ZRI4. 1.6-2.0L. VVT-i. Introduced in 2007.
ZZI4. 1.4-1.8L. Replaced the popular 4A engine. Chain-driven cam, DOHC, four-valve heads.

The Suffix Of A Toyota Engine Name: The Engine’s Defining Features 

Employees of Toyota Motor's subsidiary Toyota Motor Kyushu assemble the new 2-litre gasoline turbo engine '8AR-FTS' at the Kanda Plant in Kanda, Fukuoka Prefecture, on August 7, 2014. Toyota said on August 5 its net profit in the three months through June came in at a record USD 5.7 billion, with the rise largely thanks to cost-cutting and a weak yen.  AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA        (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images). Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Assembling the 8AR-FTS | TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images

After every Toyota engine’s model number/generation and engine family, the engine name contains a dash and then one, two, or three letters. Each of these letters is a code for one of the engine’s defining features. Many engines have more than three key features, but no Toyota engine name lists more than three defining features.

Often, the attributes represented in the suffix separate the engine model variation from its closest cousins. Other times, the features Toyota represents in the engine name are significant technological achievements.

As Toyota technology evolved, the features represented by each letter evolved as well. See our engine name suffix feature chart below for the most recent feature codes.

Engine feature examples:

  • 3S-GTE is defined by a performance cylinder head DOHC (G), being turbocharged (T), and multi-point fuel injection (E)
  • 2NR-FE is distinguished for: a normal cylinder head DOHC (F), and multi-point fuel injection (E)
  • 1KD-FTV is known for: normal cylinder head DOHC (F), being turbocharged (T), and a D-4D common rail direct diesel injection (V)
  • 22R-E was defined by: fuel injection (E)

Toyota Engine Features Chart 

Tahara, JAPAN: Workers at Japan's auto giant Toyota motor assemble engines for LEXUS cars at the company's Tahara plant in Aichi prefecture, 28 June 2007. 670 Lexus were assembled in Tahara plant as production output per day, the company said.  AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images). Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Assembling Lexus engines | KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
SuffixFeature
AValvematic variable lift intake head
BNewer: E85 Ethanol fuel
Pre-2000: Twin SU-style side-draft carburetors
CNewer: California Emissions Controlled
Older: Carbureted
DNewer: Manufactured by Daihatsu with VVT-i
Older: Twin downdraft carburetors
EMulti-point fuel injection
FNormal cylinder head DOHC
GPerformance cylinder head DOHC
HHigh compression
ISingle-point fuel injection
JNewer: Pollution control for commercial cars in Japan
Older: Autochoke
KOn-demand Atkinson cycle in non-hybrid engines
LTransverse-mounted
MPhilippines’ market
NCNG fuel
PLPG fuel
RLow Compression (For 87 and below octane fuel)
SNewer: D4-S Gasoline direct injection
1980s: Swirl intake
TTurbocharged
UWith Catalytic converter. Japan-spec emissions
VDiesel: D-4D Common rail direct injection system
Gasoline: Manufactured by Daihatsu with VVT-i
XHybrid Atkinson cycle
ZSupercharged

Conclusion

Workers of Japanese automobile giant Toyota Motor assemble an engine to hybrid vehicle Prius at the company's Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota city in Aichi prefecture, central Japan on December 8, 2017. The plant assembled a total of 1,400 vehicles, mainly Prius and Prius PHV in a day.    YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/GAMMA-RAPHO. Learn to decode your toyota engine name with our Toyota engine family chart and engine feature table.
Prius engine installation | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Toyota engine names may seem overwhelming, but when you decode the name of any Toyota engine, you will gain valuable insight into the history and features of that engine model.

Today, Toyota is moving to consolidate its hundreds of engine options into a single engine family: the Toyota Dynamic Force engine. With this dramatic shift, previous engine naming conventions will only apply to old Toyota engines. But while restoring classic Toyotas, the ability to decode an engine name will be more important than ever.

RELATED: 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: A Cost-Effective Ford Raptor