Toyota NZ Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Toyota NZ engine!"

Our aim here is to review NZ tuning and provide tips on the best upgrades.

Toyota NZ have loads of potential and with the ultimate uprated parts like remapping, turbo kits and camshafts you will greatly improve your driving pleasure.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

1NZ-FXE: from December 1997

  • Toyota Prius (XW10 & XW20)
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Aqua
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Toyota Corolla (Axio/Fielder)
  • Toyota Sienta (2nd generation)

1NZ-FE: from July 1999

  • Toyota Vios/Belta
  • Toyota Yaris/Echo
  • Scion xA/Toyota ist
  • Scion xB (1st generation)/Toyota bB (1st generation)
  • Toyota Raum
  • Toyota Porte
  • Toyota Platz
  • Toyota Auris
  • Toyota Fun Cargo
  • Toyota Premio
  • Toyota Allion
  • Toyota Corolla (Axio/Fielder, RunX, Allex)
  • Toyota Sienta
  • WiLL VS
  • Toyota Probox
  • Toyota Ractis

1NZ-FXP: from 2017

  • Toyota JPN Taxi (AP10)

1NZ-FTE: from 2004

  • Toyota Vios Turbo (Thailand)
  • Toyota Vitz RS Turbo (Japan)
  • Toyota Corolla Axio GT (Japan)

2NZ-FE: from October 1999

  • Toyota Yaris/Echo/Vitz
  • Toyota Vios/Belta
  • Toyota Platz
  • Toyota Porte
  • Toyota Corolla (E140), Pakistan only
  • Toyota Corolla (E170), Pakistan only
  • Toyota bB
  • Toyota Ist
  • Toyota Corolla (E120), Japan and Middle East only

Tuning the Toyota NZ and best NZ performance parts.

Best NZ upgrades

Just because particular upgrades are popular with NZ owners it doesn't mean you should fit it, we will highlight what we regard are the ultimate upgrades that will give your NZ the biggest power gain return for your cash.

Significant gains on the NZ can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the bhp and power output.

Fast road camshafts tend to raise the performance across the rev band, you may lose a little bottom end bhp but the high end rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport and race camshafts, raise the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a car driven daily you need to match your torque band to your cars usage.

I would be surprised if you find a NZ Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Some NZ engines respond better to different camshaft durations than others.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the power gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Intake manifolds, Fast road camshaft, drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/manifold.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, high flow fuel injectors, Fast road cam, induction kit.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Twin charging conversions, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Competition cam, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Engine balancing & blueprinting.

The NZ engines are fantastic to work on and thanks to their popularity there are quite a few choices of parts and performance parts out there.

Remaps allows a tuner to establish the full potential of all the modifications you've fitted to your NZ.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the outcome usually differs on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any engine tuning job to pull more fuel and air into your NZ

Intake manifold flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

The shape and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a big improvement to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the NZ.

On popular production engines intake manifolds are begging for motorsport parts, although some car makers provide reasonably well designed intake manifolds.

Big valve conversions on the NZ, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost performance, and importantly will raise potential for a greater performance increase on other modifications.

Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your NZ

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the NZ when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.


Don't forget to improve the fuelling when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and affords some spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.


You only need to replace your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is still ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust pipe is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the catalysts installed, so adding a better flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the NZ

The NZ engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the NZ, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your NZ engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our NZ owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these NZ tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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One Response to “NZ Tuning”

  1. Pat Norris says:

    Looking for 2NZ – FE performance engine parts, particularly rods, pistons, heavier valve springs. Can’t seem to find any rods or forged pistons for the 2NZ, heaps for the 1NZ but none that I can find for the 2NZ. We use them in our rally cars. Any help would be appreciated. Cheers Pat.

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