Tiny Engines Have a Home in Chevrolet Vehicles, Regardless of What the EPA Decides

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tiny engines have a home in chevrolet vehicles regardless of what the epa decides

As it stands, the only Chevrolet vehicles not offered with available four-cylinder power are the Suburban, Tahoe, and Silverado lines of full-size trucks. Everywhere else, from the diminutive Spark hatch to the Camaro sports coupe and the full-size Impala sedan, and from the Equinox and Traverse crossovers to the Colorado pickup, you’ll find at least the option of a gasoline four-banger displacing no more than 2.5 liters.

Even if you choose a V6 or V8, there’s a good chance it’ll also run on four cylinders under light loads.

Now that the legislation that expedited the engine downsizing trend is poised to disappear, the brand says it’s not changing course. Chevrolet will pretend there’s still an Obama in the Oval Office and that its hide depends on making steady fuel economy gains.

As reported by Motor Trend, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s head of cars and crossovers, told assembled media that the looming rollback of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements by the EPA won’t change the brand’s product strategy.

“The commitments that we’ve made and the statements that we’ve made about our future portfolio remain,” Majoros said. “You know, we’re very proud of all the things we’ve done from a fuel efficiency standpoint. Whether it’s increased fuel efficiency, you know, stop/start technology, more transmissions, lightweighting, diesels, all the things we’re doing are just one part of a broader commitment that we’ve got. Nothing’s going to change based on that. We’ve got future plans.”

Under the Obama-era fuel economy rules, fleetwide light-duty fuel consumption was pegged at 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. While automakers did a good job adapting their lineups to the standards through use of the technologies mentioned above, the 2022-2025 period was cause for worry. That last sprint towards the finish line stood to cost manufacturers big. To reach the goal, large investments in (and widespread adoption of) electrification would be required. Naturally, lobby groups had a field day.

One of the groups seeking a reversal of Obama’s pledge, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, represented GM. Some of the demands weren’t quite as contentious as “let us build gas guzzlers with impunity.” Automakers hoped to gain extra credit for the installation of stop/start systems, nor did they want the upstream emissions from power plants to count against their electric vehicles.

At this early stage, no one knows where exactly the new MPG target will land. Should gasoline prices soar, the automaker with the least thirsty fleet stands to gain extra customers, so there’s an incentive in continuing the push towards fuel-saving technologies. While there’ll always be a well-monied clientele in the market for 5.3- and 6.2-liter body-on-frame SUVs, keeping a turbo four under the hood of its top-selling crossovers seems like a good way for GM to hedge its bets.

Even if gas prices stay low, many customers still shop with MPGs in mind.

“If you look at things like Equinox, the latest products we’ve brought out, our fuel economy’s going up anywhere from three to five miles per gallon whether it’s highway, city, combined,” said Majoros. “So we have a number of things in place to make sure that we continue on that journey, and nothing’s going to change fundamentally from that.”

[Image: General Motors]

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  • IBx1 IBx1 on Apr 16, 2018

    What's that? The largest automakers are still pursuing fuel efficiency gains even though the ambiguous regulations were removed? So you mean we can still have our fun cars and the normies get their MPG? But I thought Trump was going to destroy the world by giving realistic goals to the companies! You're fake news!

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 17, 2018

      No, the American-bailed companies that now depend on foreign sales are going to give us the same egg-beater engines (and crackerjack boxes) they sell in foreign countries where displacement and fuel are taxed to high heaven. What GM is saying is that it will no longer build cars for American needs/desires.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 17, 2018

    Fuel economy standards are none of the government's business. Government can regulate emissions and crash standards in the name of public health and safety, but fuel economy doesn't directly address either concern, and I stress the term 'directly'. Once you allow the feds to make rules based on secondary or tertiary concerns, there's no limit to the government's power to regulate.

  • Wjtinfwb Over the years I've owned 3, one LH (a Concorde) a Gen 1 300 and a Gen 2 300C "John Varvatos". The Concorde was a very nice car for the time with immense room inside and decent power from the DOHC 3.5L. But quality was awful, it spent more time in the shop than the driveway. It gave way to a Gen 1 300, OK but the V6 was underwhelming in this car compared to the Concorde but did it's job. The Gen 1's letdown was the awful interior with acres of plastic, leather that did it's best imitation of vinyl and a featureless dashboard that looked lifted from a cheaper car. My last one was a '14 300C John Varvatos with the Pentastar. Great car, sufficient power and exceptional highway mileage. The interior was much better than the original as well. It was felled by a defective instrument cluster that took over 90 days to fix and was ultimately lemon law' d back to FCA. I'd love one of the 392 powered final edition 300s but understand they're already sold out and if I had an extra 60k available, would likely choose a CPO BMW 540i for comparable money.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks Cary. Folks need to make sure they buy the correct antifreeze, since there are so many OEM-specific ones out there nowadays (Dex-Cool, Ford gold, Toyota red and pink, etc.).And sorry to hear about your family situation - my wife and I have been dealing with her 88-yo mom, moving her into independent senior living, selling her house, etc. It's a lot to deal with.
  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.