Can my imported Toyota use E10 fuel?

I’ve seen a lot of questions along the lines of ‘can my imported Toyota use E10 fuel?’ So I thought it was time to write about it.

I’ve written a general article on e10 fuel, in which I explained that the Government E10 compatibility checker doesn’t help us when it comes to imported vehicles.

Fear not! There are ways around this.

Picture of Toyota Alphard rear badge

In 2006, NBC news quoted a Toyota representative stating that all vehicles produced by the Toyota Motor Company were already capable of running on E10 fuel. This was on the back of an announcement that Japan would require cars sold there to be capable of running on E10 from 2010. I struggled to find the original sources for the points made in this article, but there are other things we can do to check.

It’s also worth noting that Toyota Motor Europe and the Toyota Motor Company, whilst both ‘Toyota’, are 2 different organisations. So although it may have been correct that all vehicles produced by the Toyota Motor Company were OK with E10, the same was not true in 2006 for vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Europe. The Avensis with the 1AZ-FSE and 2AZ-FSE engines being made during this period have been deemed not suitable for E10.

Toyota UK have published an article in their magazine suggesting that imported Toyotas should avoid E10. However it reads as if they may be trying to get further information from Toyota in Japan so they can give further clarification.

I’ve decided to take an engine-based approach to helping address the ‘can my imported Toyota use E10 fuel’ question. According to the Government E10 compatibility checker, the only Toyotas that aren’t suitable for E10 are the Avensis (Avenses? Avensises?) with the 1AZ-FSE and 2AZ-FSE engines. So if we can satisfy ourselves that our Japanese import Toyota: a) doesn’t have either of those engines, and b) does have an engine that would have been included in the compatibility checker, we can be reassured that our imported Toyota will be OK on E10.

If you want more detail, we can look at the engine codes. Engine codes ending in ‘SE’ mean the engine has gasoline direct injection. These are the ones that are thought to have problems with E10 fuel.

Makes sense? Let’s go!

Which engines are commonly found in imported Toyotas?

I’d say the most common Toyota vehicles to be imported from Japan are the Alphard, Estima and Prius.

1st generation Toyota Alphard engines

The 1st generation Alphard is available with either a 3 litre 1MZ-FE or 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE engine.

Picture of a Toyota 1MZ-FE engine in a Toyota Alphard, which is OK to run on E10
1MZ-FE engine in a Toyota Alphard

The 2AZ-FE engine runs all the way through to the end of 2014 in the Alphard.

Let’s not forget the hybrid, which comes with the 2AZ-FXE engine up to the end of 2014.

2nd generation Toyota Estima engines

The 2nd generation Estima was introduced in Japan in 2006. These are generally the oldest Estimas I see imported nowadays.

These Estimas are available with either the same 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE as the Alphard or the larger 3.5 litre 2GR-FE V6 engine.

Toyota Noah / Voxy engines

The Noah and Voxy are essentially the same mechanically, but have different looks and styling to appeal to different audiences.

The Noah was introduced in 2001 and had the 1AZ-FSE engine up to 2007, where the engine changed to the 3ZR-FE, then later still to the 3ZR-FAE. If you remembered the opening paragraphs of this article, you may have spotted that we could be heading for a problem with these earlier Noahs and Voxys.

Toyota Aqua engine

The Aqua is a hybrid with the 1NZ-FXE engine. The Prius had the same engine up to 2009.

Toyota Sienta engine

The Toyota Sienta is a really popular small car in Japan. Not so popular in the UK but there are lots of them for sale at auction so I’ve included it in this list. The Sienta has the 1NZ-FE engine all the way up to 2015.

Toyota Prius

I’m including this for completeness, as it is definitely a super popular Japanese import Toyota. It’s a bit more straightforward with the Prius than the other cars, because the Japanese Prius has the same engine as the UK Prius. We know the UK Prius is fine, because it doesn’t come up on the compatibility checker, so the imported Prius will be fine too.

Can imported Toyotas use E10 fuel?

Can the Toyota Alphard run on E10 fuel?

Yes. The 3 litre V6 1MZ-FE engine from the Alphard is also found in the UK market Lexus RX300 and Toyota Camry.

While we’re on the subject of fuel for this engine, I guess I should address the hotly debated standard vs. super unleaded question! The Alphard owner’s manual recommends high octane fuel for the 1MZ-FE engine. Japanese high octane fuel has to be at least 96 RON but is usually between 98-100 RON. UK standard unleaded is 95 RON and super is somewhere between 97-99 RON. So UK standard unleaded has a higher octane rating than Japanese standard unleaded, but it still isn’t as high as Japanese high octane fuel, although I acknowledge it is close. Personally, I’d run this engine on super unleaded, but I wouldn’t be too bothered if it was E5 or E10 super unleaded. Others have got on fine with standard unleaded in their V6 Alphards.

The 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE engine is also found in the UK market Toyota Previa.

There isn’t a UK market car featuring the 2AZ-FXE engine from the Alphard hybrid, but we can see from the code that it doesn’t have gasoline direct injection, so it should be fine.

Phew! Most of the Toyota Alphards imported to the UK so far will be fine on E10.

Can the Toyota Estima run on E10 fuel?

We’ve already established from looking at the Alphard that the 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE will be fine on E10.

What about the 3.5 litre V6 2GR-FE? We can see from the engine code that it doesn’t have direct injection.

Further reassurance can be found from the Lotus Evora! Yes really! This also has the 2GR-FE engine and Lotus have indicated that the Evora is fine with E10.

Can the Toyota Noah run on E10 fuel?

Toyota Noahs and Voxys produced between 2001 and 2007 have a gasoline direct injection 1AZ-FSE engine, so I’d advise these aren’t run on E10 fuel.

Picture of a Toyota 2AZ-FSE engine in a Toyota Noah, which should not run on E10 fuel
2AZ-FSE engine in a 2004 Toyota Noah

2007 on Noahs with the 3ZR-FE engine will be fine. This engine is also found in the UK market RAV4.

Can the Toyota Sienta run on E10 fuel?

The 1NZ-FE engine in the Sienta was also found in the 1st generation Yaris T Sport sold in the UK. This is another engine that will be fine with E10.

Can an imported Toyota Prius or Toyota Aqua run on E10 fuel?

I’ve already mentioned that the Prius should be fine on E10. The Aqua will be fine too, since it has the same 1NZ-FXE engine as the pre-2009 Prius.

Summary

Hopefully this reassures you that most of the popular Japanese import Toyota models should be fine on E10 fuel.

I’m aware I haven’t covered every Japanese Toyota model: that would make for a really long article! Let me know if you’d like me to cover a particular model and I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, if you have an engine with gasoline direct injection, I’d stick to E5 for now.

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