Tag: Efficiency

By on September 30, 2019

Hyundai

The Hyundai Venue, a bottom-rung, A-segment crossover of such a diminutive size that you’d be forgiven for thinking it showed up in the wrong market by accident, has undergone testing by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Stretching one inch less than a Kia Rio hatch when measured stem to stern, the Venue is part of Hyundai’s effort to eliminate white space in its U.S. lineup while providing young car buyers with an attainable place to start climbing the Hyundai product ladder. These buyers, the EPA confirms, will not have to worry about lofty fuel bills. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is the much sportier (but mostly the same) liftback version of the Horizon that everyone forgot. It’s a Plymouth TC3, from 1982.

(Read More…)

By on May 8, 2019

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo provided a run-down of his company’s future on Wednesday, revealing a new global architecture slated to underpin a slew of vehicles in the coming decade.

Efficiency was the thread connecting all of Hachigo’s promises — efficiency in development, in manufacturing, and in driving. The company feels it has a good thing in its two-motor hybrid system, so a decision was made to spread it around. As for upcoming models, Honda suggests its future lineup might not be as diverse as it is today. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2019

With environmentalism gradually neutering the internal combustion engine, small motors are increasingly cropping up in cars they seemingly have no business in. While that’s partly the fault of there being so many gigantic automobiles on the market, at least historically speaking, none of it would be possible without increasingly stringent fuel economy mandates.

As emission rules are unlikely to soften globally (we’ll see what the United States does), larger engines are assumed to go the way of the dodo bird — or some other overly specialized creature. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2018

Hydra-Matic 9T50 General Motors

Way back in 2013, General Motors and the Ford Motor Co. signed an agreement to collaborate on transmissions. The deal stipulated that GM would get access to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, intended for rear-drive applications, if the Blue Oval could have the Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed under development by The General for front-drive models — and everyone would save some money.

However, things didn’t play out as intended. Ford is now saying the nine-speed auto doesn’t provide enough of a fuel economy improvement to justify the added cost and weight of an extra gear. It won’t be using it, at least not in its current form. Instead, Ford engineers have decided to use a trio of transmissions with fewer gears for front-wheel-drive units. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf

What a difference a mile makes. Or does it? In the case of the 2018 Nissan Leaf, the second-generation model’s newly enlarged driving range might not sway a single buyer or suddenly place the model ahead of a close challenger, but any improvement in an EV’s travel radius is worthy of a celebration at the company’s HQ.

If you haven’t heard the news, the 2018 Leaf’s range now stands at 151 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s just-released official rating. What was it before? Well, Nissan estimated 150 miles. Hardly shocking, but it’s nonetheless good news as the automaker waits for next year’s arrival of a longer-ranged, more competitive model. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2017

Image: 2019 Infiniti QX50 VC Turbo Engine

At this week’s L.A. Auto Show and Traffic Negotiation Event, Infiniti will reveal the next generation QX50 — an overdue replacement for the aged model formerly known as the EX35. While the introduction of a crossover that’s losing its V6 and rear-wheel-drive platform wouldn’t normally interest me, the model’s new engine does.

Today we’re going to discuss variable displacement and the future of internal combustion engines. Fly or flop, what say you?

(Read More…)

By on October 12, 2017

Image: 2015 Volkswagen XL1, image via sellerToday’s Rare Ride is a nearly-new example of the very limited production Volkswagen XL1. Equal parts efficiency and rarity, this is the first Volkswagen product featured in our Rare Rides series, and probably the most efficient vehicle we’ll ever see here.

Come check out what 260 miles per gallon looks like.

(Read More…)

By on September 16, 2017

2015 Mazda RX Vision Concept - Image: Mazda

Mazda recently announced the testing of its Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine, which promises to burn gasoline with diesel-like efficiency. If it hits its projected launch date of 2019, it will become the first mass-produced motor of its type and is likely to be showered with praise from environmentalists and enthusiasts alike.

However, as we progress deeper into the millennium, it’s becoming evident that more and more automakers are willing to embrace electricity as the next solution to efficiency. That makes Mazda a bit of an oddity, maybe even a dinosaur, and we were wondering when the company would give in to electrification. Especially since it has already partnered with Toyota to tighten its grasp on the technology.  (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2017 Mazda 3 - Image: MazdaMazda announced on August 8th what had long been rumored. The small Japanese automaker has successfully overcome the remaining issues which held at bay mass production of gasoline compression ignition.

Essentially, Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engines, due first in the next-generation 2019 Mazda 3, is intended to bring diesel-like ignition to small, supercharged four-cylinder engines, along with diesel-like fuel economy. However, the gas-fired Skyactiv-X engines will be wildly cleaner than diesel powerplants. Mazda has said in the past that these HCCI engines will likely limit the need for continuously variable transmissions. We also learned, with Mazda’s latest pronouncement, that the company’s Skyactiv-X engines will be significantly torquier than their Skyactiv-G predecessors.

If Mazda can live up to its pronouncements — the company says the engines are “still under development and figures are subject to change” — it’ll be a win for both the environment and driving enthusiasts. And because Mazda also claims a 20-30-percent improvement in fuel efficiency, it’ll be a win for your bank account, as well.

We wanted to see exactly where Mazda’s alleged fuel savings will put Mazda’s current products on the EPA’s miles per gallon scale, so here are the results of some quick math. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

Infiniti four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine, Image: Infiniti

It was 1998 and my friend Tom had just picked up a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI AWD.

“Ok, go ahead and floor it, but don’t rev it past 5,000 rpm,” Tom said.

I mashed the throttle and … nothing happened.

We were moving, but it was at the pace of a Toyota Corolla and nowhere near the rate of acceleration promised by the 2.0-liter turbo’s claimed 195 horsepower.

Disappointed, I left my foot on the throttle for a few seconds. Suddenly, I heard the whistle of the spooling turbo and a sudden shove of boost kicked in.

Four-cylinder turbo engines from the ‘90s were all similar to this. While they generated relatively big power at the top end, they also suffered from massive turbo lag and had fuel economy similar to a much larger V8.

Nissan’s new Variable Compression Turbo engine promises big power, minimal turbo lag, and decent fuel economy using some new trickery.

Is this the holy grail of turbocharged motors?
(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2016

2014 Red Bull F1

The complaint most often tossed at Formula 1 is that despite being the (alleged) pinnacle of motorsports, its relevancy to road cars has disappeared.

That same feeling is what brought us to the current formula of tiny 1.6-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines, all coupled to a complex hybrid system. Since that move, the racing series has focused more on engine development that in almost any era before, and with that comes a breakthrough in the way we look at thermal efficiency.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

Honda-ARC-Line-2

Henry Ford’s way of building cars was so 20th Century, so Honda tried something new.

Workers at the automaker’s new Thailand plant now stay in motion all day, moving with the vehicle as it travels down the assembly line, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

Volkswagen 1.5-liter TSI engine

Diesel? What’s that?

Volkswagen is embracing a far less controversial type of fuel with its new 1.5-liter TSI engine, unveiled yesterday at the Vienna Motor Symposium.

The ultra-efficient four-cylinder uses variable turbine geometry (VTG) in its turbocharger to generate peak torque at a low 1,300 rpm, then maintain a flat torque curve until about 4,500 rpm. This leads to fuel economy gains and a better driving experience. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2015

2016 Buick Encore

General Motors announced Monday a new trim for the 2016 Buick Encore that will use a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four, which will be the first application of a new global-engine platform. The car will go on sale this fall.

According to GM, the new mill produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque — an 11 percent gain in power and 20 percent gain in twist over the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine currently doing duty in the cute ute. The two engines share only similar displacements. The current mill is rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also a new Encore trim called Encore Sport Touring and it has a spoiler and 18-inch wheels and body-colored door handles and back to the engine.

(Read More…)

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