TNGA is short for Toyota New Global Architecture. It’s a much bandied about term by Toyota’s marketers and sales staff alike. The most recent model to use TNGA is the all-new Toyota Corolla Altis 2019.
So what does TNGA really mean? Depending on which Toyota personnel that you ask, you will get a slightly different answer.
To a Toyota marketer, TNGA is a about creating vehicles with superior ride and handling, better looking designs and better safety. It’s a set of basic building blocks of a car, loosely described as a ‘platform.’
To a Toyota engineer, TNGA encompasses the A-to-Z of how cars are manufactured. TNGA is essentially Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing – which Toyota invented more than 50 years ago, and is now adopted by nearly every manufacturer – now adapted for the new era.
In short, to a Toyota engineer TNGA is about building cars while using less energy, time, and space. Think of it as a new and improved Lego set.
What is a platform of Toyota Altis 2019?
There is no specific definition of what a platform is, although it is generally accepted that a platform include (but not limited to) mounting points for key components like engine, suspension and seat belts.
You may imagine a platform to be like main pillars of building. You may tear down a building for renovation, and remodel the building into another style, so long as the pillars and supporting beams can support the new design.
Anyway, back to the Toyota Altis 2019. Like every car, the underpinnings (loosely referred to as platform) of the Toyota Altis 2019 needs to be shared with many other models. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a platform and few manufacturers can afford to recoup the investment just from one model.
Why else do you think Porsche makes more variants of the 911 than you have fingers, or why BMW wants to make coupe versions of the sedans and SUVs?
But if you are like everyone else, what do you do? You spinoff various SUV, MPV, sedans and hatchbacks of various sizes from more or less the same underpinning, which if you are clever enough, can be mixed and matched.
The front-section can be different from the rear-section or mid-section, allowing you to build different types of vehicles with minimal additional cost.
Doing so however, also means that there’s always a compromise. The needs of a sedan is quite different from an SUV, likewise an MPV.
The dashboard height for example, might be just nice for an SUV but too high for a sedan, which makes outward visibility poor. The platform might not be able to accommodate certain engine options – can it fit hybrid systems with minimal space intrusion, for example.
The way the suspension is mounted might be beneficial for an SUV but it might intrude too much into a sedan or a hatchback’s interior, taking up cabin or boot space.
Many of the features used in Toyota Safety Sense for example, require specific support from the body structure to accommodate the hardware and wire harness.
Because the platform’s structure is in such way, the designer may not be able to design the car as low or as wide as he/she wished. For example, the hoodline or roofline might have to be compromised because seatbelt mounts or crash protection structure has to be fixed at a certain position. This is why some cars look the way they do.
With TNGA, the platform now offers much more flexibility to engineers and designers to create their ideal vehicle. For example, the TNGA models allow engineers to set the pedals, steering column, and driver seat in five different layouts, before doing further milimetre-level adjustments.
It also allows for more compact packaging of mechanical components, so the car can be designed lower to give it a sportier look, and the dashboard can be mounted lower for better outward visibility.
With TNGA, the current generation Toyota Altis 2019 sees a significant improvement in driving dynamics and comfort.
The ergonomics are also better, with better seating position and better outward visibility.
Because the car can be made with less compromise, its ride and handling is miles ahead of its predecessors. The handling is agile and would have been excellent if not for the numb feeling. More about those in our review of the Toyota Altis 2019.
It’s also more comfortable than the Honda Civic, but of course, the dated engine is a weak point, even though we recognize its proven reliability.
Does it work? Yes, very well, at least far as agility and comfort is concerned. It’s still down on power and still doesn’t drive as well as the Toyota C-HR, which also rides on an identical TNGA-C platform but has a more communicative steering.