Toyota ZZ: Everything You Need to Know | Specs and More

You may have heard of the Toyota AZ engine. It was designed for economy focused Toyota products and it’s still in production today. Unlike the 2AZ, the 2ZZ is built for excellent performance. It was the first four cylinder engine from Toyota to use both an aluminum block and an aluminum cylinder head which saves a ton of weight. This little engine is so excellent, Lotus used it in their Elise. It was the replacement for the popular 4A engines with used a cast iron block. Additional Toyota ZZ info on Wikipedia.

1ZZ-FE: Engine Basics and Specs

The Toyota 1ZZ-FE is rather obviously the first engine in the Toyota ZZ family. It’s a 1.8L with a 79mm bore, 91.5mm stroke and a 10:1 compression. You can tell from those specifications alone that this engine is fairly torquey thanks to the long stroke and provides great efficiency with that high compression ratio.

This engine feature technologies such as multipoint fuel injection, VVT-i, forged connecting rods, and an optional supercharger for some models. The only models that received the TRD Supercharger kit were the Corolla, Matrix, and Pontiac Vibe.

Later versions of this engine had increased horsepower through computer tuning and a light weight rotating assembly. Some versions of this engine are specifically designed to run on E100 which is a popular fuel in some South American countries like Brazil.

  • Production Run: 1998 – 2007
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valvetrain: Dual Over Head Cams – Four Valve per Cylinder
  • Stroke: 91.5mm
  • Bore: 79mm
  • Compression Ratio: 10:1
  • Horsepower: 120 hp, 143 hp
  • Torque: 122 lb-ft, 126 lb-ft

Cars That Came With the 1ZZ

The 1ZZ engine was equipped in various automobiles ranging from sedans, coupes, small SUVs, and mid-engined sports car. Toyota put this engine in so many different vehicles because of it’s reliability and good performance especially with the later ZZ engines.

  • Toyota Allion
  • Toyota Avensis
  • Toyota Caldina
  • Toyota Celica GT
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Isis
  • Toyota Matrix XR
  • Toyota MR2 Spyder
  • Toyota Opa
  • Toyota Premio
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota Wish
  • Chevy Prizm
  • Pontiac Vibe
  • Lotus Elise

1ZZ: Known Problems

Just like the 2AZ engine, the 1ZZ does have a couple of known issues. The main being excessive oil consumption which many Toyota four cylinders are known for. The main components that cause this oil burning issue are the piston rings just like 2AZ, and the valve stem seals. This issue was cured in the 2003+ versions of the 1ZZ. Other than the oil consumption, the 1ZZ is a pretty reliable little engine according to owners online.

1ZZ: Tuning Potential

The first version of the ZZ engine, the 1ZZ, was really designed for economy much more than performance. With a turbo kit or Rotrex supercharger kit, you can get around 230 horsepower out of the little 1.8L. Anything past 230hp and you’ll probably need a built bottom end because the 1ZZ bottom end isn’t very strong. Most Toyota enthusiasts won’t typically modify a 1ZZ, but would rather swap in the 2ZZ which is much more performance oriented in the first place.

2ZZ-GE: Engine Basics and Specs

The 2ZZ is, rather obviously, the second engine in the Toyota family and remained as a 1.8L just like the 1ZZ. This new engine retained the all aluminum block and head to save weight, but with the addition of many performance oriented changes. The biggest performance oriented change was a decrease in the stroke by 6.5mm and an increase in the bore by 3mm. Other performance features include the addition of VVTL-i and forged steel connecting rods. This allows the 2ZZ to rev higher than the 1ZZ and when combined with the increased compression ratio the 2ZZ ultimately makes more power.

Toyota asked Yamaha to help with the development of the 2ZZ, specifically for reliability at high RPMs and peak power. The addition of VVTL-i was a big contributor to achieving such horsepower. It works likes Honda’s VTEC system by using multiple camshaft profiles: one for low RPM and one for high RPM. Lotus added a supercharger to the 2ZZ in their Exile 240R which increased power to an impressive 240 horsepower. The standard supercharged Exige produced 225 horsepower.

  • Production Run: 1999 – Current
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valvetrain: Dual Over Head Cams – Four Valve per Cylinder
  • Stroke: 85mm
  • Bore: 82mm
  • Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
  • Horsepower: 164 hp, 182 hp, 192 hp, 221 hp, 243 hp, 260 hp
  • Torque: 125 lb-ft, 130 lb-ft, 133 lb-ft, 159 lb-ft, 170 lb-ft, 174 lb-ft

Cars That Came With the 2ZZ-GE

The 2ZZ is a performance oriented engine, and as such it found it’s way into many “performance” Toyota vehicles. I put performance in quotes because the vehicles that use this engine aren’t exactly fast or interesting, excluding the Lotus Exige.

  • Toyota Celica GT-S
  • Toyota Corolla XRS
  • Toyota Matrix XRS
  • Pontiac Vibe GT
  • Lotus Elise
  • Lotus Exige
  • Lotus 2-Eleven

2ZZ-GE: Known Problems

Previous Toyota four cylinders we’re plagued with oil consumption issues, including the 1ZZ. The 2ZZ, however, isn’t really known for this issue. The main issue that has plagued the 2ZZ is oil pump failure. This issue is typically caused by accidental over revving whilst downshifting. This can cause a moment of oil pressure loss which will destroy the engine. Sometimes the oil pump won’t just drop pressure, but completely explode causing even more issues. This problem is pretty rare and is almost always caused by the driver accidentally over revving the engine.

2ZZ-GE: Tuning Potential

Unlike the 1ZZ, the 2ZZ-GE was really designed for performance and thanks to Yamaha it can actually like up to that claim. From the factory, most 2ZZ-GE equipped vehicles make around 180 horsepower which is pretty good considering it’s a naturally aspirated 1.8L engine. Many enthusiasts are claimed around 200whp (220-230 horsepower) with bolt on aftermarket parts and a good tune. When big changes are introduced such as aftermarket camshafts or cylinder head porting over 240 horsepower can be reached completely naturally aspirated.

When a supercharger is introduced into the equation the potential of the 2ZZ-GE skyrockets. The stock engine internals are limited to around 300 horsepower, but with forged internals and an upgraded supercharger, the engine is capable of around 400 horsepower. That kind of power in a lightweight Toyota vehicle would be absolutely mental and would easily stomp almost any car of the road.

About Bryce Cleveland 249 Articles

Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. When he’s not writing for Dust Runners he’s writing for Power Automedia as a freelancer. He currently drives a 2015 Fiesta ST and absolutely loves it.

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