By on March 4, 2014

Civic-Type-R-Concept-04

Back in September, I wrote a piece lamenting the death of Honda’s high-perofrmance hallmark, the twin-cam VTEC 4-cylinder engine. It was just the sort of article many of you are fed up with: a lengthy piece filled with flowery prose and Honda fanboy-ism sprinkled with a condescending explanation of the auto industry’s inner workings. Miraculously, it was fairly well-received. But I’ve had a change of heart.

November and December let me get behind the wheel of two fairly different cars: the Acura ILX 2.4 and the Ford Fiesta ST. Despite the bad rap it gets in the media, I was fairly excited to drive it. The Honda Civic Si sedan gets a lot of guff for being quantitatively underwhelming compared to the current crop of sport compacts, but it’s what I call a “Goldilocks” car: it just feels right, similar to how the Acura TSX does. How bad could a Civic Si be with a better interior and more grown-up looks?

ILX vs Verano 4

It turned out to be a bit of a letdown. The ILX is definitely a softer car than the Civic Si and lacks the composure and solidity of the Euro-Accord based TSX. The K24 motor was also less charming than I remembered it to be. The new, emissions-friendly, long-stroke VTEC motors work well in a CR-V or an Accord Sport, but don’t deliver the kind of excitement one would expect in a modern-day Integra GS-R sedan.FiestaSTExterior12-main_rdax_646x396 (1)

The Fiesta ST, on the other hand, was a revelation, one of the most thrilling drives I’ve had in a long time. Nothing else on the market brings such a hypomanic intensity and sheer driving thrills in an accessible and practical package except for, well, an older Civic or Integra with a VTEC swap and a dialed in chassis. In a larger car like an Escape or Fusion, the 1.6L Ecoboost feels overburdened, and delivers fairly poor fuel economy. In the Fiesta ST, it delivered a combined 26 mpg even though the throttle spent a lot of time getting hot and heavy with the floor mat. Whatever Ford’s powertrain group has done to squeeze some more power out of the tiny turbo mill has not only paid dividends on the spec sheet, but virtually eliminated turbo lag.

FiestaSTEngine1

Driving the Fiesta ST made me a lot more optimistic about where the next generation of affordable performance car is going – especially with respect to the death of naturally aspirated engines in these types of applications. In all likelihood, Honda’s messaging will spin the new Civic Type-R (gallery below, since it was introduced in concept form today at Geneva) and the NSX’s turbo engines as congruent with the newest Formula 1 regulations, and as a link to Honda’s return to Grand Prix racing. Knowing what I know about The Big H, the adoption of forced induction was not so much voluntary, but an inevitable concession to emissions and fuel economy requirements around the world. But I’m no longer worried. Bring on the turbo VTEC era.

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164 Comments on “Generation Why: Forced Introduction...”


  • avatar

    The only way

    • 0 avatar

      The only way to meet these mandates on fuel economy is by building small displacement engines with forced induction – and simultaneously cutting weight by using lighter metals. Thing is, they’d probably do better by using appropriately sized engines. A full sized car shouldn’t have a 4-cylinder – even if it is forced induction, nor should an SUV. All you’re doing is making the engine work harder. Might as well have had a diesel.

      It’s sad when the V6 in my mom’s Cougar 1993 XR7 has a better pull and exhaust note than the new cars being released. I recently drove the $90,500 Ghibli Q4 AWD. What a complete disappointment. I don’t care if Ferrari made the engine.

      • 0 avatar
        suckbangblow

        While I am a fan of forced induction for increased horsepower it is a myth that a smaller displacement motor with the addition of a turbo will increase mpg (in the real world). The only way to save fuel is to go very light on the gas and stay off the turbo. Once you begin to use boost you are forcing more air into the combustion chamber than normal atmospheric pressure. You are also using proportionately more FUEL to combine with the increased amount of air. In order to attain the advertised MPG go will have stay of the go pedal and in effect only use the engine as it were only a naturaly asperated 1.4 liter (or whatever). On the other hand a naturaly aspirated will give you more consistent mpg in the real world and said MPG isn’t as dependant on your “go pedal” habits. It is a common complaint about the V6 ecoboost in the f150. Put a large trailer behind it and it is worse than the 5.0 V8 pulling the same trailer. If you force the same amount of air/fuel in a V6 as a V8 via a turbo you really aren’t saving. There are a lot of folks who are being fooled by this. The engineers working for the major car companies have figured out how to pass the EPA standardized testing and fool many consumers with marketing tricks.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          Well said. I kind of wish there was a display in turbo cars that showed you when the turbo was active so you could stay out of it with ease, sort of like the Prius’s “optimal” gauge.

          • 0 avatar
            suckbangblow

            Lol sounds good until you get stuck behind someone in a 1.0 Ecoboost…

          • 0 avatar

            suckbangblow, don’t know what you’re talking about. The EcoBoost 1.0 is the “it” engine the world over at this point in time.

          • 0 avatar
            suckbangblow

            Again as Marecelo pointed out the engineers working for the major car companies have fooled people with clever marketing. Someone has tricked this fellow into thinking having less displacement than many motorcycles is a good thing. While it may be true that it is the “it” thing I am glad I didn’t clear out my 401k to invest in beanie babys or quit my job to “work from home and make 200k a year” :)

          • 0 avatar

            suckbangblow, it’s not just marketing. In much of the rest of the world, it fits the bill quite nicely. It makes sense on many fronts. I guess that in the US it won’t make as much sense, though by virtue of being smaller and lighter, it helps cars not only with the real-or-not fuel savings, but makes it easier to balance out the car. That helps with driving dynamics. And that is something that people in America appreciate, too.

          • 0 avatar
            suckbangblow

            Marcelo I agree that it can help reduce weight and packaging. My opinions about turbo’s come from owning a 1.8 Turbo GTI. I could have got the same car with a V6 but instead chose the 1.8 because it was less weight on the front end and had virtually the same HP plus more torque. I understand the value of a turbo for performance and love them for that purpose. I just won’t be fooled into thinking that it saves gas. In the near future I believe that most cars will come standard with smaller displacement motors and turbos just as manual transmissions are now almost impossible to get. As a car lover this makes me sad. While I enjoy the whirle of a turbo I equally enjoy the rumble of naturally aspirated V8 and all this turbo=mpg hype is taking that choice away from us…

          • 0 avatar
            majo8

            There is a “display” that shows when the turbo is active in my Focus ST — the turbo gauge.

            As you stated, Ford (and other manufacturers) should have a gauge or light on all turbo cars to aid in achieving top fuel economy.

            BTW… I can easily average 27-28 mpg in city driving in the ST by staying out of the boost — it isn’t very hard to do.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            A fair amount of turbocharged cars come with a boost gauge. If you had a turbo vehicle without a gauge, one could be installed for little cost as it’s nothing more than a vacuum gauge hooked to the intake manifold.

            As a general rule, stay out of boost, use less fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            “engineers working for the major car companies have fooled people with clever marketing”

            Turbos give you lots of power when you ask for it, and great fuel economy when you lay off, and that’s a problem for you?

            As a Saab owner, I like the fact that I can choose to have Ferrari-beating passing power, or do 600 miles on a 16 gallon tank while carrying a bachelor pad’s worth of furniture.

            I honestly don’t understand why so many people complain about this. If you’re old enough to drive, you’re old enough to decide for yourself.
            Power or economy: with turbos you get both, but not at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            You mean like some sort of “boost” gauge? It’s funny the only cars that get those are the performance ones where you’ll be on the boost more often than not anyway.

            Heck, I remember in my old VAG days, the first mod you would do on any old 1.8T product aside from the obligatory chip/reflash was a boost gauge. Reason being, more often than not there was some sort of boost leak that needed chasing, so you might as well having a gauge to warn you if you’re driving normally.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            VCplayer, one possibility would be a switch that overrides the blowoff valve, i.e., force it to stay open.

            Then, if the driver needs improved mileage, he hits the button and the car will not go into boost & thus behave like the smaller engine.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            I was getting more at the idea of not just a boost gauge but an “ideal driving” gauge like the Prius has. It’s nice for performance models to have a boost gauge, but I think the concern in more ordinary application is maximum fuel economy.

            I kind of like the idea of a switch to keep the car out of boost, but I would be concerned about safety if the car is unable to maneuver in an emergency. Maybe the turbo automatically unlocks if you floor it? We’ll probably see something like this done at some point in the future.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            There sort of is already.

            http://blog.autospeed.com/2008/12/04/optimising-turbo-boost-control-for-performance-and-fuel-economy/

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I wish there was a eco button that would open the wastegate and not allow any boost to be built up. Of coarse, you would need some displacement for this work. No 1L engine would be sufficient in the US without boost.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            It is called a manifold pressure gauge AKA “boost gauge”. My 1990 Eclipse has one.

        • 0 avatar

          Generally speaking a turbo maybe ~20% efficiency on a large engine of same power (eg. v6t vs v8) at lower end and that gap progressively closes.

          The thing is most driving time is spend cruising along and not racing on the highway.

          • 0 avatar
            suckbangblow

            Heavy Handle
            I have driven a 2003 Saab 9-3 2.0 Turbo on a regular basis. I was never able to overtake any Ferrari’s or even my own gti(granted my GF at the time was driving it) or get 600 miles to a tank of gas(driven many times to the beach). Please tell us more about overtaking Ferraris and getting better MPG than a Prius in your Saab. Can it leap a building in a single bound?

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            @suckbangblow. The old Saab 9000 Aero (manual)was (at the time) the fastest accelerating car in the world from 40-80mph in 4th or 5th gear( I can’t recall exactly, but the numbers were pretty impressive back then). It may be an oddly specific thing to be ‘best’ at, but it would also be a pretty normal overtaking accelleration on many highways back then. (and still here in Norway at least)
            The horsepower and torque figures from the Aeros 2.3 liter turbo more or less matched Mustang and Camaro V8 figures back then (why compare 4cyl turbo to a v6? ), and still delivered roughly 30mpg (highway)
            If you had a later automatic 9-5 you’d be lucky to outrun an SUV, or even get better mileage than an SUV…

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            suckbangblow,

            Zykotec got the Ferrari reference. Your GF may have had the low-pressure 9-3. The full pressure (HOT, aka high output turbo) 9-3 is quite impressive. Third gear is a personal favorite, you can run it from a near standstill to almost 100 mph and the engine keeps getting stronger the faster it revs.

            600 miles on 16 gallons is 37.5 mpg. Half that trip was with a fully loaded car (helped a friend move). Mostly upstate NY, where speed limits are strictly enforced, so I was doing 64.5 mph all the way. Not Prius numbers, but it shows what a turbo can do with your foot off the gas.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            @zykotec: I owned an ’02 9-5 wagon “aero” model which in the U.S. is rated at 250 hp. While the car wasn’t stupid fast from a dead stop (due in part to the inherent traction limitations of FWD), it was stupid quick from 40 – 80. Since this was an automatic model, I could observe how the engineers programed the EM system. First, there was a sport mode button, which not only had a more aggressive throttle tip-in and a “tightened up” torque converter, but also more aggressive downshifts and it allowed the engine to go to redline (normal mode shifted up at 4000 rpm). In ‘normal mode’ which was more than satisfactory most of the same, I noticed that Saab appeared to use a strategy similar to that used by large diesel truck engines: vary power by varying the turbo boost at a relatively low RPM (1500-2000 for the Saab). It was fairly easy to drive the boost gauge into the high range without hooning, because the engine was lugging at a modest rpm. Under those circumstances, it was probably operating unthrottled — like a diesel — or nearly so, therby avoiding the pumping losses that all gasoline engines have when they run with largely closed throttles and are working against atmospheric pressure.

            While I never travelled 600 miles on 16 gallons of fuel, the car easily achieved its EPA highway rating of 31 mpg (US) when driven at 65-70 mph fairly loaded and with the air conditioning running in the summer.

            So, my point is, at least with that car, staying off the boost is NOT a way to achieve great fuel economy. The engineers appear to have programmed the engine to run at low rpms, using a lot of boost and, probably, nearly wide open throttle.

            Drive the same way in “sport” mode and you will see the engine rpms up, and the boost down . . . and use more fuel.

        • 0 avatar

          Suckbangblow

          I appreciate and value your comment!

          There is NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACEMENT!

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Turbo-4’s create pressure on the throttle body at cruise eliminating the flow restriction of the 3-4′ of intake plumbing and the associated bends, in the air flow path MAF sensor and paper filter.

            Chevy Cruze can beat Prius on the highway with over 50 mph in steady state cruise.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Sorry Suckbangblow but you are wrong. While in a steady state cruise a modern car needs minimal hp to keep it moving down the road. So by having a small displacement engine you can increase efficiency in a steady state cruise mode. Stick a turbo on it and you still have the power of a large engine when that is needed or desired. Size the turbo correctly and you can cruise with the turbo eliminating vacuum w/o causing pressure. This eliminates the power wasted on the sucking part by using the blow part while giving the same bang.

          The problem is that for many drivers the boost portion of the operating range is too addictive leading to the poor mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            THat may be true in theory, but in some applications, notably Ford’s, it doesn’t work out that way.

            CR tests its cars for thousand of miles using a standardized procedure. In its tests the Ford Fusions w/ Ecoboots got poorer mpg and poorer performance than competitors’ models using normally aspirated 6 and 4 cylinder engines.

            Markedly worse mpg and performance. So are Ecoboosts just bad?

          • 0 avatar
            suckbangblow

            Scout not sure sure how I could be wrong when all you did was rephrase what I have said with the exception of you trying to use my screen name to explain why turbos could save fuel. You are not using the turbo while cruising on the highway. You have been reading to many car magazines and somewhere along the way you have convinced yourself you know what your talking about. I would suggest you start back with where you read about “steady state cruise control” before trying to figure out how turbos work.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            I’m still waiting for someone to explain CR standardize test so I can go to CT and drive their course that represents real world that thornmark uses as a bible.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Norm, why don’t you just go to CT and drop off your car and ask CR to test it?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            CR? He should drop it off at NASA or have it shipped overseas to CERN.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          I tow with my 2000 Saab 9-5 5-speed manual trans. It has no problem pulling or stopping a car dolly plus car for over 4,000 lbs and yes it will see 23.5 mpg on the highway. Car dolly empty the fuel economy drops to 35 mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            MT verdict: long term reviewers say the
            Verano Turbo manual effectively SUX big time.
            They don’t like it, don’t want it, don’t miss it:

            http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/sedans/1402_2013_buick_verano_turbo_verdict/

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Motor Trends picked the Verano over the ILX…twice. Verano has double the sales as proof!

            http://m.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1210_2013_acura_ilx_vs_buick_verano_turbo/

            http://m.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/sedans/1309_2013_acura_ilx_buick_verano_turbo_mini_comparison/

            Ok, so maybe MT is bias towards the little old ladies car. But Autoblog results are the same. Get my drift?

            http://m.autoblog.com/2013/03/12/2013-buick-verano-turbo-vs-2013-acura-ilx-2-4-comparison-review/

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          My guess is that all things equal, the smaller displacement motor has less internal frictional losses that consume fuel just to spin the motor’s internals, and this constitutes an inherent gain in efficiency.

      • 0 avatar

        Now if they could only solve the lousy driving dynamics of front wheel drive.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Renault dropped the new MR Twingo.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            It’s not MR, it’s emphatically RR. I can’t wait to hear about the spate of resulting accidents from “youth” learning physics the hard way.

          • 0 avatar
            Brian P

            I doubt that. Mandatory stability control and ABS will keep the front out front. There’s about a million smarts running around (mostly in Europe) with the same layout and an even shorter wheelbase. Also, for what it’s worth, the crank centerline is ahead of the rear axle centerline on those.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            I would call a longitudinal V8 Tatra emphatically RR. The Twingo has a transverse I3, is it behind the transaxle?

        • 0 avatar
          Timothy

          Take a ride to your local Ford dealership and ask them for a ride in an ST, Focus or Fiesta. Get a sales guy who is a car guy and open it up a little. Beware throttle off over-steer.

          It’s brilliant. FWD no longer means terminal understeer (or in the case of my ST understeer of any sort) and smoking inside tires.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      One major part of keeping Honda in the fuel economy game is the CVT transmission. They are getting close to 40 mpg range my turbo-4’s do.

      But you are buying the not just the engine but the wholw package. I cannot sit in the back seat without slouching in the ILX or Accord, the backseats are not made for adults and I’m average size. Add some competition like the Verano and HMC is not even close within the segment.

      http://m.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1210_2013_acura_ilx_vs_buick_verano_turbo/

      • 0 avatar

        > They are getting close to 40 mpg range my turbo-4’s do.

        I do wonder what this is compensating for.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Compared to an Accord, your Verano doesn’t have a back seat and the Accord’s space is considered vastly superior to your Geo/Buick’s.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          It should the Accord is a bigger car. But why am I hitting my head in the Accord?

          Looks like your heavier mass is supressing the seat cushions more?

          http://www.truedelta.com/Honda-Accord/specs-108/vs-Verano-1086

          Accord only gets 24-29 mpg with the V6 barely hanging on with a SUV-like 21 mpgs:

          http://www.truedelta.com/Honda-Accord/mpg-108/2014

          http://www.truedelta.com/Buick-Verano/mpg-1086

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            The Accord V6 gets much better mileage in real world tests than does your Geo/Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Not even the I4 in CleanMPG hypermilers were let down:

            http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44915

            I could not find a single V6 that was worth noting:

            http://www.driveaccord.net/forums/showthread.php?t=75020&page=43

            I even went back to warmer weather in September…no dice.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I suppose one of these days Honda will also adopt the variable intake and exhaust cam phasers everyone else uses on twin cam engines these days. The single point change in valve timing allowed by VTEC is now about a full decade out of date.

    The Civic Si and ILX need the new 2.4 DI out of the Accord. A bit less peak power, but way more torque at low and medium engine speeds.

    • 0 avatar

      You lost me there, wmba. What engine is that? None of the Honda engines have variable intake and exhaust cam phasers.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Which is exactly what I said: I wonder when Honda will adopt variable exhaust and intake cam phasers?

        Not so hard to read.

        My second sentence pointed out that the new DI 2.4l engine has more low and midrange torque than the old and different unit in the Civic Si. If you think I said it had variable cam phasers, you are misinterpreting my first sentence.

        I can live without your being so supercilious.

        • 0 avatar

          The gag was much funnier with the roles switched:

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/porsche-919-hybrid-lemans-racer-goes-after-the-two-thirds-of-gasolines-energy-thats-wasted-as-heat/#comment-2900681

          So let’s keep it the way it was, ok? :)

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          ??? Honda has had that for years. That’s what the whole iVTEC thing is. It adds cam phasing to the regular VTEC system that can switch between two different cam profiles. See this link.
          http://icrixs.wordpress.com/pend-otomotif/mesinengine/mekanisme-katup/i-vtec/

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Not sure what the above few posts meant … but Honda “i”VTEC engines do indeed have cam phasing in addition to the switching between cam profiles.

      Honda has had numerous different variations of VTEC over the years, partly evolution, and partly tailoring the system to either performance or economy variations.

      • 0 avatar

        > Not sure what the above few posts meant …

        You lost me there, Brian P. What post is that?

        Perhaps the one where wmba acts an ass which receives a kicking? or for diligent readers, another fatality just moments later…
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/porsche-919-hybrid-lemans-racer-goes-after-the-two-thirds-of-gasolines-energy-thats-wasted-as-heat/#comment-2900681

        Wow doge, so confuse. Very theory, much ownage.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    The boys at Consumer Reports were gushing on their Car Talk podcast about the Fiesta ST as the most fun car they drove in 2013. It sounds like this decade’s spiritual successor of the CRX.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I see no concrete evidence that emissions or fuel economy targets are driving the adoption of turbocharged engines. Turbocharging is coming from the relentless drive to amortize engine architectures globally. It’s cheaper to design a four cylinder and a turbo to go with it than to produce both a four and a six cylinder motor for application on the same platform.

    • 0 avatar

      > I see no concrete evidence that emissions or fuel economy targets are driving the adoption of turbocharged engines.

      Is it really hard to see that an I4 is more efficient than a V6 at cruising?

      > It’s cheaper to design a four cylinder and a turbo to go with it than to produce both a four and a six cylinder motor for application on the same platform.

      If we’re speaking of global engine arch’s, it at best saves the cost of the top tier unit at the expense of turbo development/cost and they might keep v8’s around for the prestige anyway:

      I4/V6/V8
      I4/I4t/V6t

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Turbo 4s are not more efficient than V6s. CamCord V6 gets gas mileage within 1-2 MPG of its 2.0T competition (with no DI too).

        All turbos do is enable manufacturers to pass the EU’s stricter emissions regulations… at the expense of engine response, character and cost

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          I got 32 MPG @ 65 mph in a V6 2012 Malibu LTZ on the length PA-76 loaded, then on hillier I-80 across PA I got 37 mpg 70 mph in my Verano with similar, cold weather. Had it been 70F or higher it would have been 40+ mpg for the turbo-4. Also making about 100+ more horsepower and torque than the V6.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            CR says your Verano gets mediocre mileage.

            At least you have admitted in earlier posts that the Verano Turbo has lousy resale value.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            thornmark, do you know CR’s undisclosed test loop?

            Funny when I stole my used Verano 2.0T with 6K miles the bank said it was valued what I paid for it.

          • 0 avatar

            > Had it been 70F or higher it would have been 40+ mpg for the turbo-4. Also making about 100+ more horsepower and torque than the V6.

            You keep making these claims about the magic of turbo. Where is that extra economy coming from in the thermal cycle? Free energy from the gods who favor a certain type of air induction?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            All ICE use less fuel as the tempertures rise. Warmer temps make a big difference in fuel economy as thos eco-modder will plumb their intake to the exhaust manifold to make it hot air intake.

            Ask the battery powered car owners how they liked this cold weather.

          • 0 avatar

            > All ICE use less fuel as the tempertures rise. Warmer temps make a big difference in fuel economy as thos eco-modder will plumb their intake to the exhaust manifold to make it hot air intake.

            Thermal here means thermodynamics, not ambient thermal temps. Care to try again?

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            I guess I’m the only dude out here whose car is spot on with the EPA mileage. The Frontier does 18 city and between 22-23 highway only. My last tank was just under 17 though but I attribute that to the fact it has been cold again and I let it warm up as I like to not freeze my balls off first thing in the morning.

            Anyway, I imagine not even Trifecta can help the VQ40DE

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Are you kidding? Downsizing and turbocharging is ALL about fuel consumption and its close cousin, CO2 emissions (essentially another way of stating the same objective). Regardless of the real-world realities, the smallest possible engine will have less friction, less heat loss, and in the lightly loaded conditions seen in the official test regimens, they won’t be operating in loads where the turbo starts making them drink fuel. The real world is another matter, but for the official consumption ratings (or CO2 ratings), it is ALL about how that engine does in those official tests.

      Eliminating a V6 option and going with a turbo-four instead (as a few newer vehicle platforms have done) allows the engine compartment to be made smaller and that takes weight out of the vehicle as a whole, and it allows the subframes and other components to be lightened since the engine itself is lightened.

      Turbocharging is generally NOT less expensive than simply using a bigger conventional engine.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        No… turbo 4s are not much smaller than V6s with the turbo and intercooler. They’re not lighter either. They also don’t improve fuel economy by an appreciable amount.

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34314&id=34292&id=34490&id=34087

        Put it like this. If turbocharging were so great… why have Honda/Toyota avoided it for so long? Why are their naturally aspirated, port injected, relatively low compression OLD V6s competitive in power, fuel economy, response and most definitely reliability with all these new 2.0Ts? A piston/rod/bearing set costs about $200. A turbocharger ALONE costs about $1000. Even if you bump up the piston cost to ~$500 per piston to include the injector, cylinder sleeve and extra block material, a turbo setup costs more. And this is based off parts costs from the manufacturer’s site.

        I used to think turbocharging was a magic pill… then I actually drove some turbocharged cars, and started to look at the numbers. The numbers don’t add up. Don’t believe the hype.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          The turbo-4 in the Verano and the Fusion, both beat the Camcord V6’s in city, combined and highway according to EPA:

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34314&id=34292&id=32689&id=34087

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            The Verano is listed as worse mileage than the Accord in city, combined, and highway per that link. Worse than the Camry in city and combined (same for highway).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So what are you going to do when your car needs a $1,000 turbocharger and your neighbor’s Camry just keeps on truckin’?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Turbos last for 300,000 miles or about three timing belt changes a modern day V6 Accord. Not sure what Toyota uses but it is a $50.00 turbo rebuil kit vs $1,200-3,000 in tming belts at 300,000+ miles. I’ve rebuilt a few recently when buying used Saab’s that didn’t have proper oil change intervals. My case in point is the GF’s Forester that had it’s last oil change 16 months ago and was 3 quarts low. Good thing it is a lease as it clatters pretty good on cold starts.

            It has mentioned previously in this article multiple times that turbochargers will last for that mileage. It also has been mentioned in every article mention turbo that you and others have posted in over the last few years. The beatings will continue until the message sets in.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @28-cars-later

            I’d call it a small price to pay for not having to drive a Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            1 MPG huh. That is definitely a deal breaker and totally worth the effort. 40% less displacement, lag, a peakier power band and significantly more complexity for 3% better fuel economy… definitely a smart tradeoff.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            ” More than 90 percent of the Verano Turbo’s peak torque – more than 234 lb.-ft. – is available between 1700 to 5500 rpm. Its closest competitor, the 2013 Acura ILX 2.4L, offers a peak of 170 lb.-ft. of torque.”

            http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Jun/0611_turbov.html

            Compare to the Accord v6 that makes 252 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpms…who are you calling peaky?

          • 0 avatar

            > lag

            People who haven’t really driven turbo cars bitch about this a lot, but in reality “powering up” in a peaky motor also has latency associated with revving up and the transmission kicking down, whereas a turbo motor can be closer to its best rev range. There’s nuanced diff to each approach but it really don’t matter to the driver who just wants it to go when pushes the pedal.

            The moral is if you want “linear”/no-latency, get an electric car.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            First, you keep pointing to the cheap rebuild kits for older journal bearing turbos. These new dual scroll ball bearings turbos can’t be bought for that much. A timing belt kit for a Toyota or Honda is around $150 including the tensioner, idler pulleys, and water pump. The price you are quoting is dealer parts, and dealer labor. What is dealer labor on a turbo replacement? (The dealer won’t do one of your “rebuilds”)

            Those Saabs you mention go through turbo seals like crazy, irrelevant of maintenance. The seals simply wear out, and start leaking.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            “Turbos last for 300,000 miles or about three timing belt changes a modern day V6″

            I agree that the turbo reliability thing is overblown, but I have a couple beefs with this. First off, 300k is on the high end unless we are talking about a Peterbilt or something. Possible, but I wouldn’t say likely.

            Secondly, have you ever had a Turbo fail? I had one go on a Mazda once and while the replacement of the turbo itself was straight forward and not especially expensive the repair of the engine from all of the ingested parts of said turbocharger was not.

            And I still had to replace the timing belt on that Mazda as well.

            All things equal though, a modern V6 FWD sucks in the packaging department for a DIY mechanic.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Toyota has used turbos since the 80s. But it was using turbos to add performance for sports-oriented trim packages, not for downsizing, so their use of turbos has been limited.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @sportyaccordy

          Since you obviously know far more than a legion of automotive engineers working for sundry companies, I think you should get a job with these automakers and straighten them right out!

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            If it were just the engineers making the decision, I doubt they’d go turbo. But because they have to yield to all kinds of compromises, like flawed emissions and fuel economy regulations, noise restrictions, displacement taxes etc, for some companies turbocharging is the best compromise. But it’s definitely a compromise. Again, if Honda/Toyota haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, and have “old school” NA V6 powerplants that are competitive with all these turbo 2.0s, then maybe the 2.0Ts are not the god send everyone purports them to be.

          • 0 avatar

            > If it were just the engineers making the decision, I doubt they’d go turbo. But because they have to yield to all kinds of compromises

            It turns out that most drivers like big torque at lower rpms. High revving HP is nice, but ordinary people hardly motor like race drivers.

            What’s pretty funny about your argument is that honda VTEC philosophy operates akin to a traditional turbo motor: no torque but good economy down low and the power (ie fuel) comes on when it really gets going. Small displacement with the kick at the top.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          “Put it like this. If turbocharging were so great… why have Honda/Toyota avoided it for so long?”

          Um, the gist of this article is that Honda IS going with turbocharging, and they are doing is because the Civic Si is a dog without it, and Honda knows it.

          So 2-liter turbos use a lot of gas when you get into the boost…noted…but they make real torque below 2,000 rpm. 2-liter NA engines use a lot of gas when you have to rev them to like 5,000 rpm before they make any torque, no?

          Oh, but not 3.5-liter NA V6 engines – they make torque at 3,000 rpm! So, you think Honda has any plan to put their 3.5-liter V6 into a Civic Si?

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            There’s more than one way to skin a cat. The competition makes about 240-260HP. Honda could have easily got that out of the NA motor with a little more displacement. Plus it would be lighter, simpler and have better response.

            And 2.0T engines, especially high output ones, need about 2000-3000 RPM to spool up. So no, turbo 2.0s don’t make much torque down low either. Even the “torquey” VWAG 2.0T doesn’t spool up until 3000 RPM and it doesn’t even make that much horsepower.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Sporty you are so misinformed about 2.0T. But keep reading and you’ll learn something as Honda has a 2.0T comikng here shortly.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          sportyaccordy…

          http://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/gti/2010/long-term-road-test/2010-volkswagen-gti-the-effect-of-octane-on-its-power.html

          Edmunds’ totally stock long-term 2010 GTI made 214 lb/ft of torque at 2400 rpm. It made a peak of 219 – at just under 3000. It made 207 hp. All this is at the WHEELS. It’s rated at 200/207…at the CRANK.

          My stage I 2011 GTI made 232/270, at 3000/5800, again at the wheels.

          On the same dyno, a Civic Si made like 179 hp.

          You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Looks like 2500 to me but either way it’s a far cry from the 1800 VW has claimed for years. It’s even worse in lower gears as the turbo doesn’t have as much time/load to spool. If you can find me a chassis dyno of a VWAG 1.8T/2.0T dyno hitting peak torque under 2000 RPM I will back off.

          • 0 avatar

            > If you can find me a chassis dyno of a VWAG 1.8T/2.0T dyno hitting peak torque under 2000 RPM I will back off.

            This technicality doesn’t really matter since it’s still a lot closer than what peaky motors from Honda compromise for.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Sportyaccordy, turbocharged engines typically will outrun their turbos on a chassis dyno – the turbo doesn’t catch up to the engine until around 3000 rpm, even if tested in a higher gear that tries to compensate for this.

            It doesn’t happen in the real world, on the road, so it’s not a problem. If I put my foot down in third gear, at 2000 rpm, on a wet road, my GTI will spin ‘em – both of ‘em. On an engine dyno, the low-rpm numbers show up fine.

            This is common knowledge among tuners.

        • 0 avatar

          Dont forget the extra cams,valves, phasers,chains,sprockets,cats,O2s,assorted pipes,etc and the space they take.

          Everybodies V6s are a royale PITA for very little, if any real gain.

          • 0 avatar
            Aqua225

            I don’t know if I buy that argument. A v6 offers lower center of gravity, shorter block, no need for a balance shaft, and the capability of achieving maximum smoothness.

            Also, V6s turn out power liquid smooth vs. the smoothest turbo motors. Software can only do so much to regulate the combustion process, with the number of levers we can reliably give the computer to control that particular part of the cycle. Direct injection has greatly helped, but I don’t think it eliminates the problem, and a V6 can benefit from the same improvements, keeping it ahead one step.

            Then there is the long term reliability question: there is more thermal stress on engine components with turbocharging. It’s a fact of life, in that you are exposing less surface area too vastly increased amounts of energy. Also, stresses change in the block, rods, and bearings as boost comes on, which adds complexity to the reliability calculations of these various components.

            Ie., I am not so concerned about the reliability of the blower itself, but the engine guts, and the air plumbing, and intercooler efficiency for someone who takes a vehicle offroad and loads the intercooler fins with mud. Things like that.

            If the manufacturers don’t have this all sorted out correctly, we are going to see another mass rebellion against turbos in a few years. If not, we will smoothly transition into the age of turbos, then into the age of electrics thereafter without a whimper.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love turbos, but I also remember they came on strong in the 80’s, and then were abandoned much to the chagrin of us enthusiasts, because the mainstream ended up fearing them in the end, due to their poor reliability records.

            A reminder of the fallibility and complexity of the simple exhaust driven compressor is the F150 ecoboost. Intercoolers building up ice, such that when placed under sudden boost conditions, ice melts, engine ingests enough water vapor to affect performance. These are corner cases, and if I were a betting man, I’d put 1000:1 odds that a lot more corner cases are going to crop up, and they won’t be easy problems.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        GM Ecotec uses journal bearings and a K04 rebuild is $29.00.

        http://m.ebay.com/itm/360873321841

        These kits come from China and work great as I still use my Saab to pull other cars+car dolly. Not sure any mainstream OE auto manufacturer is using ball bearing turbos but the racing and aftermarket community loves them.

        We have a bunch of Saab 9-5 guys that have taken their car to 300,000+ miles on orginal turbo. Sure they smoke a little on start up but haven’t failed or neede rebuild. So it can be done.

        Mkirk, doesn’t sound like you knew what happened on your MS3 as the intercooler would have caught the shrapnel before the engine would have.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Turbo is no longer only for boy racers,” insists Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen Group board member in charge of research and development.

      Turbochargers push compressed air into the cylinders of an engine, thus allowing more fuel to be added to produce more power.

      “It offers a new way of downsizing,” Mr Hackenberg says, pointing to how turbo helps carmakers switch to smaller, less thirsty engines with lower emissions that nevertheless deliver “more power, more torque and more driving fun”.

      Ian Robertson, BMW Group board member in charge of sales and marketing, agrees.

      “More often than not, we’re increasing both the power and the acceleration capabilities, while at the same time we improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions,” he says.

      “Turbo is playing a big part in it.”

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8266975.stm
      ___________

      Suppliers played key roles in helping Volkswagen reduce CO2 emissions by an average of about 14 percent across the new Golf’s model range. Hirschvogel Holding does its part by providing the rail and injector body for both gasoline and diesel variants. Hirschvogel also supplies the compact model’s transmission shaft and wheel hubs. Meanwhile, Honeywell contributes by supplying the turbocharger for the Golf’s 1.6-liter diesel engine.

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20131106/CUTAWAY01/311069998/honeywell-hirschvogel-help-cut-co2-in-new-vw-golf

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Also don’t forget that many places tax displacement but not turbos, thus, there is a pricing incentive for consumers to purchase a smaller engine with a turbo to get comparable performance to a larger NA engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Displacement taxes in Europe have been largely replaced by CO2 (fuel economy) taxes but those are certainly a factor in China and Brazil. The influence of the BRICs on the global car market is certainly becoming increasingly important.

  • avatar
    jco

    as someone who has owned 4 civics, I have no problem at all with Honda using turbos. as long as it’s a neatly styled car (not like this Type R which is one overseas civic I have no yearning for) with a great interior, I’d buy one.

    in fact, I’d love a turbo motor stuffed in the current US market civic, which I think looks great inside and out.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I so wish they would bring the 3dr Fiesta over. One of the things I like best about my Fiat Abarth is how easy it is to get in and out of. The rear seats in these cars are for occasional use at best, why give them their own set of doors at the expense of ease of getting in and out of the front?

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    You shouldn’t be worried. We, the ones driving old NA slumps should be.

    I learned not to pick fights with turbo BMWs (worse if diesel) and later model 9-3s. And the 3800 has PLENTY of torque down low.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Great article, but it made me more than a little sad. My K20A2 Type S is still a blast to wind up and astoundingly reliable after almost 13 years, even with more than a few trips to the fuel cutoff. I totally get and respect that wonderful low-end these little turbos achieve, but there’s something fun as hell about keeping an old school VTEC pulling to the redline and beyond.

    That said, it doesn’t make for a very practical daily driving style, and I’m not at all surprised to watch them fade into small displacement power history.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Did you put an intake and the hondata reflash on it? I had those on my old Type-S and it improved the already good power and drivability almost 100%. For what they cost now you could do the whole deal for around $500; you get almost 20hp at the top end and closer to 30hp in the midrange. The best part is it lowers the VTEC engagement point to 4800 and ups the redline to 8600, so you have almost double the rev range on the big half of the cam.

      I still miss that car sometimes, but I replaced it with an S2000 so it’s not very often.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Even with lease deals, I’m baffled on why anyone would buy an ILX.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      I don’t get all the hate for the ILX. Sure, it could use a bit more power (what car couldn’t?) and the rear proportions are a tad off but it’s a good looking car in person especially in black, is fairly comfy with a nice interior and has enough performance for the average driver. Not a car for me but one could do a lot worse for the same money.

      • 0 avatar
        Dragophire

        Its not that the ILX is a poor car its just a poor Acura. Its a really nice Civic though. I drove one recently for about 40 minutes and its only a step up from a Civic which we all know needed a redo just to come up to par with everything else quality and aesthetic wise. If Honda had made this the Civic it would have been great but as an Acura its not.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Hate for the ILX? Reality is the Verano doubled the ILX sales last year.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The ILX is a compact that doesn’t cheat you on fit, finish and features.

        That’s a new category in the US, but the rest of the world has had access to this type of car for years.

        Who would buy it? Someone who likes and/or needs a smaller car, but doesn’t want a rental-lot reject.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I’m with you. It’s one of the cars I’m considering when my lease is up. I don’t need or want a bigger car, but I would appreciate a well equipped car. The only thing that I don’t understand is why you can’t get the technology package with the 6-speed, especially since that’s the only way to get the larger engine.

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    This is a somewhat minor technical note but I think it’s worth mentioning (and understanding) in this new age of turbos:

    What they’ve done to “virtually eliminate turbo lag” is simply specifying a small turbo for the engine.

    Turbo lag is something that happens with big, heavy turbos. Think first generation WRX and Evo VII- virtually nothing underfoot until at least 3500RPM. Almost all modern, mass market turbo 4’s use smaller, lighter units that reach maximum boost well south of 2500 RPM.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      That, and at least in OE applications now evrything is using twin scroll turbos rather than the old single scroll versions, which spool significantly faster.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      The other thing they do is limit the boost (pretty much a given with smaller turbos) and thus keep the CR mostly up. The old SRT4 had a CR of something like 8. Not terribly efficient, but boy could it take boost. Expect anything trying to meet mileage specs to be at least 9, and don’t be too surprised if they nudge it near 10.

      I suspect that turbocharging is much cheaper than supercharging, otherwise I’d expect to see some Miller cycle engines (i.e. Atkinson+supercharger). Better efficiency than NA off boost, if not as good (as turbos) on boost. Looks like hybrids may have killed this one (although I’m somewhat surprised that Lexus hasn’t used a supercharged* prius engine. Probably can’t program the thing to feel “lexus like”, but it makes a lot of sense on paper).

      * presumably the supercharger would be to allow it to maintain 150mph like the limited German competition. Can’t have the Jones pulling away, can we? Otherwise a somewhat more powerful electric motor should be used.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This newest generation of 4 cyl engines in both naturally aspirated and turbo form have me intrigued. I’ll definitely have to test drive them.

    And this is coming from a guy who always said: “6 greater than 4!”

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      PDan, you and 28cars should go shopping turbo-4’s together. It seems TTAC gets it mileage out of these articles as about once a quarter covering turbo-4.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Putting turbo’s on mainstream vehicles, under the guise of fuel economy, is a brilliant strategy by the manufacturers to sell many more replacement parts for their products in the years to come, IMHO. Is it any wonder most are going this route? Where is the Prius turbo?? Thought so…
    If you’ve got the pocket change for a replacement turbo there should be lots of cheap iron for you to choose from soon enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      I’ve had two turbocharged cars, sold one of them at 462,000 km, sold the next one at 430,000 km. The turbo was never an issue on either one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Similar situation here. And I’ve got a friend with well over 500K on his 9-3 with no turbo (or engine) issues at all.

        Not sure what frozenman is on about, but I suspect that his turbo experience is limited to something like a Plymouth Laser. Here’s a hint: if the same manufacturer is renowned for blown engines that don’t have turbos, then turbos are not the problem.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Careful there, I have a Plymouth Laser bought new with a bit over 100k miles on it now. It is a liquid cooled turbo, which was bleeding edge at the time. I do idle the motor for a minute or so if I shut down immediately after hard use. I have always used synthetic oil as well. So far no troubles.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m at more than a dozen with similar results. The closest thing to a turbo issue was a Saab where the previous owner had backed the wastegate actuator rod off to the point of nearly no boost intentionally when his teenage daughter started driving the car.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    If they can take a N/A motor and put better parts in it so it can ‘handle’ a turbo, why can’t they build it like that in the first place, so it would last…
    Wonder who will be the first to offer inexpensive kits to convert back to N/A, after you’ve shelled out for the second OEM turbo that bakes itself? Epic wool-pulling happening these days!
    Here’s hoping Honda is better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      ” they can take a N/A motor and put better parts in it so it can ‘handle’ a turbo, why can’t they build it like that in the first place, so it would last…”

      Because of cost.

      In other words, it can easily done, and is routinely done on motors with expected long term life cycles, such as turbodiesel motors in heavy duty commercial trucks, but the same things required to ensure high levels of reliability in absolutely-built-to-a-razor-thin-competitive-price-point motors used in plain Jane commuter cars will just not be fully incorporated – hence the now gradual awakening to the fact that Ford’s broadly and recently adopted ecoboost line of engines are already among the most problematic and unreliable motors to be released upon the unsuspecting public in many, many decades (any remaining doubters please refer to latest & most comprehensive data compiled by Consumer Reports).

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        Thank you DeadWeight for the response, was sure I would get roasted for being a ‘crumudgeon’ for not buying into this turbo at all costs B.S. If building a better engine is more expensive why can’t they make it a premium option? They won’t because they would have to admit what your buying is not their best effort. With the high volume of these motors they could do better, but some manufacturers refuse to see past the warranty they provide. You get to guess which ones.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          I don’t really think there’s any great scam to get people to buy sub-standard engines. Turbos need to be the volume engine in order to positively effect CAFE numbers. NA engines are more likely to be your premium engines going forward… the Mustang sounds like it’s already headed in that direction.

          The EcoBoost line will sure improve as time goes on, hopefully they’ve already got it mostly figured out. Turbos aren’t going to go anywhere anytime soon though, like them or not.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            How is that Honda’s N/A 4 cylinder Accord gets significantly better fuel economy AND produces more power than any version of the ecoboost Fusion, then, if “fuel economy” is an imperative driving the use of turbochargers?

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Accord 4 cylinder CVT is combined 30 mpg, Ford Fusion 1.5T auto is combined 28 mpg (1.6 manual is 29 mpg, but who buys manual?). The same Accord has 185 horsepower, Fusion is 178 at slightly lower rpm.

            I’m really not seeing that as a huge difference. I realize those are EPA numbers, but those are the ones that are going to count towards CAFE.

            I’m glad that Honda can squeeze that kind of performance out of their N/A engine, but there’s a limit at some point. I’m going to be incredibly surprised if Honda and Toyota aren’t doing small displacement turbos or something of similar gimmicky-ness by 2020.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “I’m really not seeing that as a huge difference.”

            Then, that also means there is no improvement nor advantage to going the route of the turbo. Personally, I would prefer the simpler engine with fewer parts if the performance (both hp & mpg) is the same.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            That’s a reasonable choice from a consumer standpoint. Automakers though also have to appease Uncle Sam and the European Autocracy… er Parliament.

            For Ford, the current EcoBoost is a convenient stop-gap as they work in improving the underlying technologies and engine design. Honda’s engines are great because of ears of evolutionary design. Next generation EcoBoost will hopefully bring improvements to the concept.

          • 0 avatar

            > That’s a reasonable choice from a consumer standpoint. Automakers though also have to appease Uncle Sam and the European Autocracy… er Parliament.

            I don’t really know for sure but I suspect this new gen of tiny engines with big turbos are a bit undersized for their own good. In a heavy-ish car they might already be revving to push it 70-80mph. Or maybe it’s gearing issue, dunno.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        “How is that Honda’s N/A 4 cylinder Accord gets significantly better fuel economy AND produces more power than any version of the ecoboost Fusion…”

        ?

        The Honda N/A 4 cylinder Accord Sport makes 189 hp@6400 rpm and 182 lb/ft of torque@3900 rpm.

        The Fusion 2.0T makes 240 hp@5500 rpm, and 270 lb/ft of torque@3000 rpm.

        What are you talking about?

        • 0 avatar
          Brian P

          I think he was talking 1.6 Ecoboost, not 2.0 Ecoboost.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Then he should have said so – he said “any version.” For that matter, the Ecoboost 1.6 is making slightly lower peak hp and slightly higher peak torque than the Honda…but of course those are both over a much wider rpm band than the Honda. So the 1.6 Ecoboost is really making more power, too.

            It’s the area under the curve, not the peak, that moves you down the road.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Fordson is correct. I did specifically write “any,” as I had momentarily forgotten about the 2.0T Ecoboost for some reason.

            I stand corrected.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    The new accord hybrid uses a NA 2.0L motor with no turbo as well. I’d bet if this hybrid system makes it into the CRV you might see the gas component bumped to 2.4L, but turbo need not apply.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    With introductions like that, before we put you on suicide watch, we’re going to have to get the pin-up girl to give you a Sheldon hug.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Turbos are a hoax. They are only gaining steam because they work to make horsepower while getting around Europe’s increasingly strict emissions, noise and displacement laws. Don’t believe me?

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34314&id=34292&id=34490&id=34087

    Not to mention they blunt response, make the power curve more peaky, muffle the intake and exhaust note and add another potential point of cost/failure. The idea that you can have 3.0L HP with 2.0L fuel economy w/o hybrid tech has not borne out… if you really look into the numbers you’ll see that turbocharging hasn’t really borne the fruit everyone claims to be its benefits.

    It’s especially sad to see this coming from Honda, who still makes some of the best NA engines in the world, largely limited to its motorcycles now. Thank God it doesn’t make sense to turbocharge those…

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Verano still beats Accord:

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=32689&id=33174

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Well, the CRX beats the Verano.
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=32689&id=7474

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Not with the far more common + relevant automatic

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33173&id=33153

        Not to mention the Accord V6 6 speed is a performance model with gearing that’s probably not optimized for fuel economy… not sure it’s the same for the Verano

        In any case, the old V6s and new 2.0Ts are close enough in performance and fuel economy that if the 2.0Ts have any disadvantages to the V6s they don’t really make sense. And they definitely do.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You are correct, you can’t have 3.0L hp with 2.0L fuel economy ALL THE TIME. But you can have 3.0L power when you need it, and 2.0L fuel economy when you are just cruising around or sitting in traffic. THAT is the point of downsizing the engine and adding a turbo. But ultimately, 250hp costs 250hp worth of gas, which is why if you flog the 2.0T it will not get spectacular mileage. But you will have gains otherwise. And in particular, these days turbos mean you can have a 4.0L engines worth of torque from just off idle across a wide range. It is the V6s that seem peaky these days. Evidently you have not driven a car with a turbo since the ’80s, if you think turbo engines are in any way “peaky”.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Again, 280 or so HP 2.0Ts don’t get 140HP 2.0T gas mileage, even just cruising around. Honda/Nissan/Toyota V6 equipped midsize cars all get about the same gas mileage as their 2.0T competitors. I’m guessing that is because while the turbo enables recycling exhaust gas energy to boost combustion efficiency, that’s only most effective at full load in the meat of the turbo’s efficiency range. Under part load it’s not necessarily as effective… the turbo is absorbing energy to spool up, and is also just a huge roadblock in the exhaust stream. Plus turbo engines have to run a little richer to cool down the heated + pressurized intake charge. It’s not that simple.

        • 0 avatar

          > It’s not that simple.

          Good thing these are physical objects which act according to deterministic rules:

          https://repository.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2009-12-7312/LAWAND-THESIS.pdf?sequence=2

          Now I didn’t bother to look into this too much, but graphs at the end seem instructive to what you’re speaking of.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Please stop. You’re crying in your beer because your beloved Honda is going the turbo route. You’re in some kind of denial.

      And I don’t think an engine that makes 250 lb/ft of torque from 1500 to 5000 rpm can be described as “peaky.”

      I would however be willing to defer to your superior knowledge of peaky engines, since you’re a Honda fan.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Actually, most DOHC VTEC engines have pretty flat torque curves. Look it up.

        And the VWAG turbo 4s all supposedly make peak torque at or under 2K. But I have yet to see a dyno of one that has a torque peak below 2500-3000. So what they are rated at vs what they actually do are two different things.

        I’m not even that big of a Honda fan. I drive a 350Z now. I got tired of the lack of torque. That is different from a peaky powerband though. Turbo engines are generally pretty peaky… nothing until you spool, and then a slow hot death as the engine revs out.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Flat indeed.

        • 0 avatar

          > Actually, most DOHC VTEC engines have pretty flat torque curves. Look it up

          That’s because they have no torque anywhere. To wit:

          > I got tired of the lack of torque.

          Funny. I guess others did, too.

          > Turbo engines are generally pretty peaky…

          Oh I see, you just use a different definition of peaky to the rest of the world.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            No, not at all. Turbo engines have a very distinct torque point and a pretty strong fall off on either side. They gasp while they spool up and they choke once you push them past the point of efficiency. A DOHC VTEC engine has a torque range within 10-20% of it’s peak as opposed to 40-50% like a turbo engine, and of course gets to take advantage of gearing. My gripe with them was just a general lack of total torque/power which had more to do with the small displacement than the power curve. A big “DOHC VTEC” engine is something like a Mustang GT or 911. Anywhere you are in the rev range, you get a lot of torque and instant response… something you cannot say about a mainstream turbo engine.

          • 0 avatar

            > Turbo engines have a very distinct torque point and a pretty strong fall off on either side.

            Again, that’s not what the rest of the world refers to as “peaky”. You actually drive within that range unlike the “peak” (you know, the top of the range) of a “peaky” engine.

            > My gripe with them was just a general lack of total torque/power which had more to do with the small displacement than the power curve.

            You don’t seem to grasp how this VTEC works despite talking about it a lot: the power (esp power/displacement) of a honda engine comes from that flat torque all the way to redline. It has the power, just not where *you* use it. That’s why you got the nissan, and then blame everyone else for being so stupid.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            >the power (esp power/displacement) of a honda engine comes from that flat torque all the way to redline.

            > Actually, most DOHC VTEC engines have pretty flat torque curves. Look it up

            We said the same thing… why so combative

            I’m going to sum up here because it’s clear you’re getting needlessly emotionally invested in a pretty academic discussion. For a given HP NA + displacement yields better power/torque curves and response than small turbo engines. The fuel economy gulf between equally powerful turbo and NA engines is largely a myth. The whole thing is about international displacement laws and emissions. All turbo engines aren’t all bad but given the choice I am going NA every time. Good day

          • 0 avatar

            > We said the same thing… why so combative. I’m going to sum up here because it’s clear you’re getting needlessly emotionally invested in a pretty academic discussion.

            It really isn’t academic if you understood the points. Your whole argument is based on misunderstanding of 1. what “peaky” means and 2. how people drive. “Peaky” as the rest of the world uses it is a bad thing for ordinary driving, “peak” as you mean it is a good thing for ordinary driving; seems rather different than what you claim.

            > For a given HP NA + displacement yields better power/torque curves

            To wit, what exactly is “better”? Consider the curves for an electric vehicle: same power (and instant response) across the board but declining torque. Very good for pick up and go when going “slowly”. In your daily drive are you going slowish or racing along?

            > and response than small turbo engines.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-honda-civic-type-r/#comment-2906201

            > The fuel economy gulf between equally powerful turbo and NA engines is largely a myth.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-honda-civic-type-r/#comment-2906017

            It really helps to read and understand what’s being said before arguing it’s all the same thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            My only interest here is to learn when “different” began taking “to” as a preposition as opposed to “from”. I see that a lot from presumably younger writers and commenters.

            That’s different from what I was taught.

          • 0 avatar

            > My only interest here is to learn when “different” began taking “to” as a preposition as opposed to “from”. I see that a lot from presumably younger writers and commenters.

            The point of language is to convey meaning. At this grammatical level as long as the receiving party can build the right syntactical tree, it serves its purpose. There’s great benefit to the flexibility of a fluid language.

            The misunderstanding here though are higher upper the analytical ladder. It’s a pretty interesting nuance that missing what “peaky” means wasn’t so much a *spelling* issue (ie. lower down the steps) as a higher conceptual mistake created by failing to learn what that word means in context.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          So we have gone from torque “peak” to torque “point.” Yeah, those turbo fours really fall off at either end of their torque band – at 1200 rpm, and then again at 6000 rpm, they’re WAY down!

        • 0 avatar
          frozenman

          Sportyaccordy, the people who argue with you most likely have never driven a 3.5 nissan or honda motor and have no idea how they can pull on long interstate grades and sound great doing that( I turn off my music just to listen to the sweet motor). After my third turbo in my 04 WRX I’ve moved on to a 13 Accord manual coupe (cause I’m older and hopefully wiser). Still have the rex though ( rally susp by primitive racing) for terrorizing Arizona backroads in the winter months:). Still think turbos have no place in a family on a budget vehicle. Perhaps it’s time to change the avatar?

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            I currently own a Toyota 3.5L V6, in a 2007 Sienna Limited FWD. It’s a GREAT engine. Very smooth, very flexible for an NA engine…and moves that 4400-lb minvan with real authority. Had one recall – a plastic oil line that supplied the VVT system was replaced with a metal line because the plastic ones were failing and causing loss of oil pressure (of course), and I did have a before-cat air/fuel sensor (basically an O2 sensor) go bad, fortunately on the front bank of the engine, or it would have been much tougher to replace than it was. The OEM (Denso) replacement cost me I think $141. No complaints at all with that engine, over 90,000 miles.

            So yes, I have extensively driven a Japanese V6 – arguably the best of them.

            On long interstate grades, at 70 mph or around 2000 rpm, I would say it’s making ~180 lb/ft of torque at the wheels, and sometimes needs a downshift – not often. At that engine speed, my GTI is making around 260 lb/ft wtq. As long as I can keep my road speed above around 55 mph, I don’t think I have ever found a grade steep enough to require a downshift from sixth.

      • 0 avatar
        Aqua225

        As a K24 civic owner, I can agree the motor is “peaky”. Love it when the cam shifts completely to the “let’s go” profile. It’s part of the charm of the car, and I seriously doubt its the down point for the car in the sport range …. they still sell them in droves. On the other hand, to win the 0-60 contest, the 1/4 mile street light wars, and the spec sheet racing wars on TTAC, they have to go turbo. 0-60 in 6.0s flat for a economy sedan is obviously not acceptable anymore.

        But this will increase cost, as the car is already a 4 cylinder twin cam engine. Honda will have to move the motor from port to direct injection. There is added cost for turbo plumbing, intercooler, the turbocharger itself, computer controlled waste gate, & computer controlled blow off valve. This will further price up a decent performing car that I enjoy driving. That would be my tears in beer here for myself. Either Honda will have to subtract value in some other part of the car, or raise the price of the vehicle.

        Even if Honda moves the baseline Civic to the K24 (which they won’t), they will never put a 5 or 6 spd. into the baseline model with that motor. Manual or double clutch trannies will be the strict province of the Si Turbo, more than likely, given their current approach, which means I will have to opt for the more expensive Turbo Si next time round, or switch to something drastically slower than the current Si.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    ILX is a cynical lease special, nothing more. I hated driving it (loaner), just hated. Its rear suspension is absolute crap on rough roads – my 240 does better. The 2.4l in my TSX is soft and suited very well for average driving where it lives under 2k rpm most of the time, but press the gas pedal and it’s all lost and confused as to its intended purpose.

    The thing is, all those problems are not the engine’s faults. The engines are sweet but their software, and their transmission software, are where the marketing folks clearly shat all over the engineers. Kill the marketing type and let the engineers tune these two cars, and things could definitely get very fun. But by then you could just get a 328i with 3 more gears in the tranny.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    A proper Turbo engine like in the early Saab 9000’s can get good mileage, and be powerful. For some odd reason, or just because all manufacturers always seek to cut costs, at any cost, Honda can make NA engines that get almost the same power and almost the same mileage, sacrificing low and mid end torque, and probably at a higher cost. Turbos have always been a ‘cheap’ way to get the most out of a small engine, and I think even with all the extra parts (and even as a Ford-fanboy) an Ecoboost 1.6 cost less to build (and develop) than a K-series Honda.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    Had to post to this article, since I love the concept of turbos.

    Current turbos will virtually never deliver on the concept of voracious acceleration and dramatically better highway mileage. This is due to the fact that the car rags always jam down any car with dreaded turbo lag. In the 80’s, the turbo lag was your decision point: “Do I really want to transition onto boost, and light up the wheels?”

    Nowadays, a turbo 4 feels like a V6 because turbo lag has been virtually eliminated. But that also means you are now generating somewhere close to V6 power levels very early on.

    I used to be a city driver, and usually end up in the city at least 2 times a week even now, and I see how city drivers handle stoplight launches. Those folks will never see the EPA ratings on their cars, because they are on boost from every stoplight. They may as well bought a V6, and their oil life indicators would be happier. I seriously doubt much changed at the pump overall.

    The turbo was brought back on board to keep the EPA tests happy (gaming the CAFE regulations) and to keep horsepower numbers up. It’s no more complex than that, really.

    If the manufacturers were serious about the EPA mileage, they would offer a dashboard switch which would retard boost dramatically (econ vs. perf mode). Then you would see these turbo-4 bangers return good economy for Joe Sixpack.

    I would also seriously consider NOT buying anything in the used market with a Turbo nowadays. Too easy to chip up the power, damage the engine, down chip it, and resell it before it grenades on the highway somewhere. Not necessarily going to happen, but I know it was a going thing in the Subaru community (and still is for all I know). WRX was a car you didn’t buy used unless you planned to mod it anyway, because some 20-something probably stuck a STi fueling & boost program in it, without a STi intercooler to keep that charge air cool, and swapped it back down when he discovered a slight odd sound at full tilt one night, so he down chipped it, and put it in the auto trader.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I have had one Turbo blow up and it was on a used car so who knows. It failed in an utterly catastrophic manner necessitating a new turbo and a new motor to bolt it to. I have also driven a turbocharged vehicle through miles of Baghdad after an EFP poked a hole in the block and blew the air filter up likely causing much sand to be ingested and the turbo suffered no ill effects after it was bolted to a non swiss cheesed motor.

      • 0 avatar
        Aqua225

        I had to look up the EFP, admittedly. I hope you weren’t in it, when it was hit, but, at least if you were, you are still with us! That must have been either a lucky or a tough engine block. I am surprised any of the air intake monitoring sensors worked after such an encounter. A miracle the thing ran at all…

        I had a first gen Chrysler Turbo I (under the Laser model)… it ran a water-cooled center bearing, AiResearch turbocharger (which is now Honeywell). That turbo appeared to be in good shape when the car was destroyed by ice storm debris. I never got to “wear out” the turbo as it were. I always idled the car before shutdown, and I ran GTX 20W50 oil in the crankcase. Engine was as tough as nails. And it was a pull through design (throttle plate before the turbo), which evidently stresses a turbo more.

        Hopefully the idle down requirement is a thing of the past today. Supposedly, I could have gotten away without it, due to the water-cooled center bearing, but I was a college kid, and I could not have afforded to replace a turbo during that time, so I chose to attempt preservation with extra caution.

  • avatar
    Power6

    I’m totally picking a nit Derek…you say “long stroke VTEC” like its a new thing. Though the K24 is stroked up pretty good, look at the K20 it is based on, a square design. Its really about overall displacement rather than stroke though I understand long stroke is the way to meet emissions.

    The old B18CX Integra motor was considered a long stroke motor and decidedly undersquare. I only mention so as when I had my GS-R I thought it was interesting the 8100RPM screamer had some ridiculous piston speeds due to the long stroke design. Of course the Type-R B18C5 more so at 8400RPM, second to the (oversquare) S2000 at 9000RPM.

    I traded that GS-R for and SRT-4 and never looked back, turbo baby!


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