If you are looking at post-2000 Toyota engine that is reliable, economical with some performance aspirations, chances are you are going to be looking at the 2ZZ-GE engine. Based on the 1.8L VVTi 1ZZ-FE engine, the 2ZZ-GE was completely reworked by Yamaha. The engine follows Honda’s approach, a small displacement, high-revving naturally aspirated engine. It was the first Toyota engine to feature “VVTL-i” technology which stands for Variable Valve timing with Lift intelligence. The VVT-i system uses engine speed, intake air volume, throttle position and water temperature to calculate optimal cam timing. The ECU can advance or retard the intake cam depending on light, medium or heavy load, optimizing output throughout the entire powerband. The system was taken one step further in 1999, by incorporating a changeover mechanism, which varies the amount of lift seen by the intake and exhaust valves while the engine is operating at high speeds. By joining the innovative VVT-i system with variable lift, the 2ZZ-GE powerplant produces a very broad powerband.
The VVTLi system engages fairly high at 6000-6200RPM compared to Honda’s 4400RPM changeover point at the B18C. Once the hot-cam activates, it stays active and screams to the 7800-8600 RPM redline. High pressure cast aluminum alloy engine block is featuring Metal Matrix Reinforced (MMC) cylinder walls. MMC is a reinforcement material composed of ceramic parts and fibers. Compared to iron liners used in cylinder walls of 1ZZ-FE, MMC has superior wear resistance. Bore and stroke was changed to 82mm x 85mm allowing the engine to safely rev over 8000RPM. Compression ratio was increased to 11.5:1. Peak power output was rated at 160-190hp depending on tune.
The 2ZZ also scores an astonishing 100 horsepower per liter in relative to it’s displacement and power output. The 2ZZ-GE had very light internals, and as a result the motor itself was very light and rev happy and had the response of a mosquito, which is probably why Lotus went with it for the Exige, Elise and 2-Eleven, which have a reputation for being the most pure and enjoyable neutral handling characteristic handling cars of all time. The 2ZZ-GE was also found in the sleeper 9th generation Corolla, Celica GT-S/ SS-II and Pontiac Vibe GT.
You might want to read about the first successful 2ZZGE conversion in Bangladesh. That too in a run-of-the-mill Axio to create a very fast sleeper. Or you can head to our AE100 conversion. Smaller car that makes for a better power to weight ratio. Putting a 1.8 into a bantamweight old Corolla means you get plenty of punch for your money.