An inside look at some of the technology that makes your Toyota tick

Today's vehicles are more complex than ever, with an incredible mix of sophisticated technologies. It's not surprising that some owners feel overwhelmed trying to stay informed. That's why we've introduced this "How it Works" section in the magazine — to help you better understand how your Toyota works.

Advantage: Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence [Dual VVT-i] is a system that helps the engine "inhale" and "exhale" more efficiently by continuously adjusting the timing of the intake and exhaust valves, and helps to improve power, fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. Dual VVT-i helps to provide greater fuel efficiency at all engine speeds; greater low-speed torque with less chance of power-robbing engine "knock;" superior horsepower at higher engine speeds, without excess noise and vibration; and reduced emissions at all engine speeds.

Motive: More Power – Less Fuel. Dual VVT-i helps the engine give you the power and the fuel efficiency that you want while maintaining optimum emissions quality.

Benefit: When you load up the car to go to the cottage, you want the ability to pass slower cars while maintaining wallet-saving fuel economy. Toyota engines with Dual VVT-i help you keep ahead of the rest of the cottagers with the passing power you need and stay ahead with the fuel sipping efficiency you know. Also, Dual VVT-i helps your engines do all this while helping to protect the cottage life you love with low emissions.

Advantage: Electric Power Steering (EPS) on Toyota vehicles uses an electric motor to provide power assist to the steering and lessens the amount of steering effort required to turn the wheels. EPS is smoother and more efficient than traditional hydraulic systems, common to past vehicles, and it reduces maintenance by eliminating the conventional engine driven hydraulic power steering pump, hoses, belt, pulley and fluid. With EPS the electric motor consumes energy only when power assist is needed and can help improve fuel economy.

Motive: The steering system on a vehicle should not be a drain on your fuel tank, should cost less to run and should keep its environmental impact low.

Benefit: With EPS, the need to replace the vehicle's hydraulic steering fluid is eliminated, and along with that, the associated maintenance costs and environmental impact of replacing this fluid. EPS also helps to improve fuel economy. This means that your car costs less to run and is more environmentally friendly.

Advantage: Super-ECT transmissions are electronically integrated with the engine computer. By sharing data, the engine and transmission can work together more efficiently, reliably, and smoothly. Super-ECT transmissions are self-adjusting, with ongoing diagnostic programming that helps compensate for normal wear and tear. With Super-ECT, the transmission shifts can feel more consistent as the vehicle's kilometres add up. In addition, Super-ECT transmissions adjust and compensate for different driving styles, with a feature called driver-adaptive shift logic. Uphill and Downhill Shift Logic is also an advanced feature of the ECT-i transmission. Smoother Shifting: Shifts are timed and executed according to precise information based on vehicle and engine speed, throttle position, and even engine temperature and terrain.

For instance, when the transmission changes gears, engine power is momentarily reduced, resulting in a smoother shift.

Motive: When you buy a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you hope to drive a vehicle that not only shifts gears comfortably, but that does so in a manner that adapts to you and your driving conditions.

Benefit: All things age over time. Your hockey stick can feel tired and less snappy after a long grinding season. Unlike your hockey stick you expect your vehicle to perform properly for a much longer period of time. Super-ECT will help to keep your car shifting well for many miles.

Advantage: Toyota vehicles with All Wheel Drive (AWD) using the Active Torque Control System allow the engine to deliver power to all four wheels when needed. The Active Torque Control System works by distributing power to only the front wheels in most normal driving circumstances. When powering only the front wheels the vehicle is more fuel efficient. However, when the two front wheels do not have enough traction the system can also distribute power to the rear wheels to improve stability in slippery conditions when accelerating.

Motive: Your car should provide you with sure-footed performance in any driving condition. The AWD system on Toyota vehicles can provide power to only the front wheels or to all four wheels when needed. This system helps to provide exceptionally stable driving performance and good fuel economy to boot.

Benefit: On the way to the ski hill, you'll likely encounter snow. In fact, one would hope that you encounter snow. Toyota's AWD system can help you look forward to the snow and keep you focused on carving a clean line down the hill rather than fretting about the drive up to the hill. The AWD system will help keep you moving smoothly up the mountain by channelling power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that have grip.