By on March 9, 2020

It’ll not have escaped anyone’s notice that car manufacturers are well into the second cycle of engine downsizing. We’ve seen this story play out in the past, both in the Malaise Era and then in the ’80s when TURBO graphics were applied to every single flat surface (and probably some curved ones).

Last week, you lot provided some excellent creative answers to our 29 Cylinders Later game (electric cars and rotaries!). Here’s today’s question: is there anything out there you’d like to buy in today’s new car market that has more doors than cylinders?

The three-pot is making something of a comeback, showing up in small cars and crossovers as a way to juice the EPA mileage estimate … at least on paper. Frequently dipping in the throttle in any turbocharged ride will also see you dipping in your bank account more frequently for fuel costs.

Mini’s current lineup features a three-cylinder engine as its entry-level fodder, showing up in the form of a 1.5-turbo turbo making 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. It appears in several Mini models but, for this exercise, the Cooper Hardtop 4-door and Clubman (plus the adjacent Countryman) are the examples with more doors than cylinders. Forced to choose, I’ll select the Hardtop since it’s the lightest of the three.

Plenty others exist, of course. Are there any that’d you would willingly take home?

[Image: MINI]

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27 Comments on “QOTD: Counting to Three?...”

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    Steve Biro

    Hell no.

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    “Here’s today’s question: is there anything out there you’d like to buy in today’s new car market that has more doors than cylinders?”

    Sure if there’s something with 9 doors…

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    I wouldn’t personally buy one because VW, but shouldn’t the 4 cylinder, 5 door GTI/Golf R be the obvious answer to this?

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    low-revving 3-bangers never sound like they’re happy with their job.

    10-12k RPM in a bike, on the other hand…

    • 0 avatar

      Good point. I almost bought a clean ’77 Yamaha XS750F back in college to complement my ’77 XS500, those are some sweet old bikes. Triumph Sprint 900 from the 90s, buddy showed up to a Triumph meet on one of them, awesome sport tourer.

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    Honda Talon (4 seater)

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    Yes, if there’s still a turbo-three Fiesta on a dealer lot somewhere. Great change-of-direction, easy on fuel, good visibility.

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    Hey they fixed the site so you can see all comments! Nice.

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    Nope! As far as I’m concerned Malaise Era II has just begun for model year 2020 and it’s just going to get worse. I started up a 2020 Ford Escape with the wonderful 1.5T 3 banger and it was the weirdest sounding lump with an odd noisy fast idle. And 75% of the 50 Escapes on the lot had this lump of an engine.

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    At what point would Briggs & Stratton consider entering the market?

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    Having owned a new 1988 Subaru Justy 4WD 5MT, and buying my 2013 MINI Cooper S when it was rumored to have a 3 cylinder in 2014.
    Absolutely NOT.

    While the Justy was fun had no issues, it was no worth the BS from others.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Yes…the Mk. VIII Fiesta ST we don’t get.

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    How about an updated twin Panhard?

    I’d try a turbo twin were it powerful enough and tuned well.

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    I’m a bit of a stickler Meseeks, and there are a number of “five-door” vehicles with “4-cylinder” engines I would consider buying:

    Buick Regal Sportback
    Audi A5 Sportback

    Neither are slouches

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    I see APaGttH beat me to the Audi A5 Sportback answer. There are quite a few decent 5-door cars with 4-cylinder engines, and I think it would be my favorite of all of the lot. Second place to Mazda CX-5 Signature Turbo.

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    Oh, and I realized I’m assuming like everyone else that the answer to this question has to have some number of cylinders. I already own a Chevy Bolt with many more doors than cylinders.

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    Unless we can count the 5th door of a hatchback, I would say the BMW i3 with its 2-cylinder range extender (or would that not count either because electric)?

    I think the Mini Clubman with 3-cylinder is now cancelled, probably due to too little power and low take rate. The 3-pot Countryman is still available though, so go figure.

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    Since all of my cars have been two doors, the answer is no, I do not want a one cylinder car. Even if one counts the hatchbacks I had, like the Supra Turbo, as three doors, I do not want a two cylinder car.

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    I do not live in capitalist country to be restricted by global socialism on the number of cylinders in my ride

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    If I’d found a 3-cyl Fiesta when I bought my Mazda2, that likely would have been my choice.

    Other than that, I sort of like the three in the new Escape for the sake of being weird. In a few years once the discounts start setting in, a base FWD is close enough to the moderate sized wagon I wish exists.

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    I just sold a Cooper Hardtop 4dr that I ordered soon after its launch in late 2014. As it was my DD and not a track rat, its total power was adequate, and making stupid torque between 1200-4k RPM made it ideal for squirting through traffic without attracting unwanted attention. It also made better noises than the 4cyl (and thus wasn’t covered up by fake noises through the stereo) and would get Prius levels of MPGs on the highway.

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    I’m probably going to catch a lot of flack for this, but if I had to buy a 3 banger 4 door, I’d get a Mitsubishi Mirage G4. My university going cousin has one and I begrudgingly admit, it does everything its supposed to while getting stupid good MPG’s and handling like a off-brand go cart.
    Is it the quietest or smoothest thing I’ve ever driven? Absolutely not. but at less than 15,000 bucks, it’s the only car I could buy and find it perfectly reasonable to have a 3 cylinder underhood. It should be illegal for a Sporty Mini or a CUV like an Escape to be 3 pot powered.

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