Hyundai The New Honda In Engine Design Leadership

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Honda has always been proud of the word “Motor” in its name. It’s the world’s largest producer of internal combustion engines (all those lawnmowers), and has a long history of engine technology leadership. From the CVCC to VTEC and the recent i-VTEC, Honda was a consistent leader, especially in high-efficiency and high-output four cylinder engines. No more. The Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) revolution is on in full force, and most major manufacturers have released or announced state-of-the-art DI engine programs. And none more convincingly than Hyundai, with its new 200 hp 2.4 liter Theta II GDI. Where’s Honda’s? While we’re waiting, let’s take a closer look at Hyundai’s:

Gasoline Direct injection has been around some fifteen years, when Mitsubishi introduced its GDI engine in Japan and Europe. But the Mitsubishi approach, which was imitated by many manufacturers, involved the tricky stratified charge ignition of a super-lean mixture, which takes place under low-load operation. The technical challenges of managing that approach and resultant emission problems have increasingly made that a sideline, especially in the more stringent emission limits of the US market. Honda and most other manufacturers have versions of that technology in their domestic markets.

Meanwhile, the technology of super-high pressure injection systems for diesel engines have been adapted to gas engines without the stratified charge ultra-lean mode. GM jumped on the bandwagon back in 2004, and its latest 2.4 L four in the Buick La Crosse, Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain have class-leading EPA numbers. And Ford has committed to GDI across its line, beginning with its Eco-Boost engines. Hyundai has also announce a wholesale adoption of GDI, and their new four has class-leading specifications.

As this chart shows, Hyundai’s GDI will deliver the goods with not only improved horsepower and torque numbers compared to the non GDI Honda, Ford and Toyota, as well as its claim of a 10% mileage improvement. With 200 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, Hyundai has wisely decided to kill the V6 option in the 2011 Sonata.For a detailed press release of the Theta II GDI, click here:

This chart also shows an anomaly with GM’s GDI four that isn’t readily explainable. GM’s EPA estimates for the 2011 Regal (20/30) are strangely low, considering that the same engine/transmission combo achieves a 22/32 rating in the heavier and much less aerodynamic Equinox/Terrain CUVs. It’s not like GM to trumpet low mileage estimates.

Undoubtedly, Honda (and Toyota) will have current-technology GDI coming, but their reputation for leadership has clearly taken a hit. Not only have the Hyundai/Kia combination surpassed Honda in global vehicle sales, but now also in engine technology.

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Thissiteisfornoobs Thissiteisfornoobs on May 12, 2012

    You have got to be kidding me. 1st off you clearly don't know your honda's because you just compared the lowest performance k series engine to the highest performance hyundai inline 4 engine. A true comparison would be between the 2006-2008 acura tsx motor which is the full i-vtec 2.4L motor which makes quick work of any inline four on the market to date. How do I know? I own one, and it makes 235whp with bolt ons... Don't spread your bullshit like you know something. I guarantee you couldn't even tell me the difference between a k24a2 and a k24a1... Honda's jdm k20a which was introduced in 2001-2002 was putting out 220hp in stock trim ten years ago and your trying to say they are behind the curve?!?! WOW you have a lot to learn. Not to mention the fact that hyundai has to collaborate with chrysler and mitsubishi just to come up with a design that still cannot compete with the k-series motors which are now over ten years old. I find the name of this site very inaccurate after reading this absolute bull shit of an article...

  • Thissiteisfornoobs Thissiteisfornoobs on May 12, 2012

    Oh, and to clear up some other bullshit I see on this page, the tsx motor (k24a2) makes peak torque at 3500rpm and max hp at nearly the same rpm so don't give me that high revving honda bullshit argument either. This site is for noobs, no other way to describe it...

  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
  • Mister They've got their work cut out for them. I live in a large metropolitan city of 1.2+ million people, the is a single Mitsubishi dealer. It's really more like a used-car dealer that sells Mitsubishi on the side. With the remarkably cheesy name of "Johnny Legends".
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh WHAT !?
  • Jeff Matt--I think this is a good move for Mitsubishi to expand their presence with satellite dealers. I had a 85 MItsubishi Mighty Max and my sister had a 83 MItsubishi Starion. MItsubishi needs to add a compact pickup to compete with the Maverick and the Santa Cruz but offer it for less. A smaller more affordable truck will sell. I believe MItsubishi should still offer an inexpensive subcompact like the Mirage it will sell in a slowing car market with high msrps. Yes I know the Mirage is probably going to be canceled but I believe in these times it is a mistake and they should reconsider cancelling the Mirage. Toyota is having problems selling the new redesigned Tacomas and Tundras with the turbo 4s and 6s. Most Tacomas have MSRPs of well over 40k. There is room for MItsubishi to grow their market share with more affordable vehicles. I am not saying Mitsubishi is going to overtake Toyota, Honda, or Nissan but they should take advantage of the more affordable market segment that these companies for the most part have abandoned. MItsubishi doesn't have to be the biggest just increase sales and become more profitable.