By on February 18, 2019

It wasn’t too long ago that four-cylinder engines were the domain of miserable econoboxes. Look no further than the wretched-but-reliable Iron Duke for proof of four-pot motoring misery.

These days, it’s a very different story. Four-bangers are found in everything from high performance sports cars to burly half-ton pickup trucks. We’re already in the realm of 400 hp examples of the breed (the new AMG A45, et al), so for today’s question let’s go one step further: who’ll be the first to build a 500 hp four-cylinder engine for the general public?

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2018

Is the American public ready to accept a full-size pickup truck equipped with a four-cylinder engine under its squared-off hood? GM sure hopes so, as a turbocharged 2.7-liter is set to be the base motor in two of its Silverado trims: the LT and RST.

The EPA has now rated the thirstiness of the new mill, which is set to be one of six (count ‘em) available across all eight trims of the 2019 Silverado.

(Read More…)

By on August 2, 2017

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata cutaway - Image: MazdaIf you were among America’s 1.4 million new vehicle buyers in July 2017, there’s a 99-percent chance your new vehicle requires fuel. Although the vehicles that run off the electric grid are linked to $7,500 government tax credits, they form barely more than half of one percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.

Mazda, you’ll recall, doesn’t sell any electric vehicles in the United States. Mazda doesn’t sell any vehicles with a plug. Mazda doesn’t even sell any hybrids.

So it’s not surprising that Robert Davis, former Mazda USA senior vice president of operations who’s now in charge of special assignments, candidly laid out the case for the internal combustion engine yesterday at the CAR Management Briefing seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.

“The internal combustion engine has a strong future role in transportation,” Robert Davis says. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Georgetown Kentucky Production line - Image: ToyotaForget hybrids. Set aside, for this moment, plug-in hybrids as well. Ignore the EV hubbub and the pie-in-the-sky hydrogen fuel cells. While you’re at it, remove turbochargers and their accompanying displacement reductions from your memory, too.

The naturally aspirated internal combustion engine has legs. The proof is in the 2018 Toyota Camry’s 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder. With no hybrid assist, no turbos, no cord that plugs into your garage wall, and no futuristic fuel source, the new Camry 2.5-liter produces 206 horsepower and hits 41 miles per gallon on the highway on regular 87 octane.

That’s 16-percent more power 24-percent more highway mpg than the 2017 Camry’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder. With improvements in conventional, naturally aspirated, gas-fired engines occurring in such leaps and bounds, it’s no wonder Toyota has bigger plans for the Dynamic Force blueprint. (Read More…)

By on June 9, 2017

2018 Next Generation Honda Accord Camo - Image: HondaThe 10th generation of Honda’s venerable Accord will debut for 2018 without a V6 engine option.

A few months later to the all-new midsize party than the next-generation 2018 Toyota Camry, the new Accord will not follow the Camry’s entrenched path of providing customers with a base four-cylinder and a V6 upgrade.

Instead, Honda will make do with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four already under the hood of the 10th-generation Civic and the fifth-generation Honda CR-V. As an upgrade, Honda will offer the 2.0-liter turbocharged unit from the 2018 Honda Civic Type R. In both cases, Honda has not yet revealed the power output. Honda will continue with an Accord Hybrid, as well.

But the V6 is a goner. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: Volkswagen

Complete with an alternate Miller Cycle that Volkswagen is calling the “Budack Cycle,” the German automaker has evolved its ubiquitous EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for installation in the second-generation 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Horsepower? For a 2.0T, it’s rather unimpressive at only 184 ponies. But Volkswagen isn’t caught up in horsepower per liter figures. Instead, Volkswagen’s own introduction of this “Budack Cycle” 2.0T makes the company’s existing 1.8T — currently on duty in four product lines — sound downright ineffective.

Naturally then, Volkswagen won’t reserve the Budack Cycle EA888 2.0T solely for the 2018 Tiguan. According to Volkswagen of America communications manager Mark Gillies, “It will eventually supersede the 1.8T in the Passat and Beetle.”  (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

2017 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4x4

Spy shots are circulating that show a current-generation Ram 1500 pickup with something missing under the hood.

The picture on the side of the milk carton contains at least two cylinders, as this unusual Ram variant has dispensed with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ familiar V6 and V8 engines. Yup, this Ram packs an inline-four. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 2.0T

Updated with pricing more reflective of the U.S. market for this M-B Canada press car.

There’s no replacement for displacement. Or so I was taught during my formative years, a period in which I read multiple buff books per month and listened to old men attempt to define torque.

But Audi USA announced last week it would slot the engine from its smallest sedan, the A3, under the hood of Audi’s largest utility vehicle, the Q7.

This week, I’m driving a 4,045-pound, $70,465 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan. Labelled the E300, this heavily optioned E-Class is equipped with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine related to the 2.0-liter in the company’s front-wheel drive, entry-level sedan, the CLA.

4,000 pounds. $70,465. 2.0-liter inline-four. Y’alright with that? (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2016

Audi Q7 2016

Audi’s Q7 can now be optioned with a downsized motor — which is perfect for that tiny cross-section of America that doesn’t feel the need to prove itself with a big engine but also wants to own the largest and most expensive crossover Audi offers.

Huzzah? (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2016

Audi-TT-quattro-sport-concept-rear-side-view

Four-cylinder engines have come a long way since the tepid entry-level powerplants of yesteryear, but despite gains in power and refinement, it’s still a four-banger.

That stigma, as well as cost, has led Audi to ditch its production plans for one of the hottest four-cylinders ever developed, reports Autoblog. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2016

Driving Matters Mazda6 Times Square Mesh Board South, Image: Mazda USA

Our own Timothy Cain was smitten after spending a week with the midsize Mazda6. It’s a hard vehicle to hate. With its sexy, sculpted sheetmetal, it’s one of those cars you turn back to look at after you park it.

But the Mazda6, even with its willing chassis and sporting demeanor, is still missing many ingredients, one of them power. Call it the Miata Effect, or simply realize that Mazda doesn’t have its own V6 to stuff under the Mazda6’s long hood. Mazda’s midsize sedan isn’t nearly close to the most powerful option in the segment.

That may change though thanks to the Mazda CX-9 and its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

(Read More…)

By on May 16, 2016

2016 Ford Edge Front 3/4 View, Image: © 2016 Kevin Mio/The Truth About Cars

The Ford Edge has always grabbed my attention due to its styling.

From a distance, the look — especially that of the second-generation Edge — is certainly pleasing to the eye. The front grille, fog light assembly, stylish wheels and a nice silhouette give the midsize crossover an Edge — pardon the pun. And the 2016 model can be configured in a number of ways to suit consumers’ needs, with a choice of powertrains and a nice choice of optional equipment.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details, and that’s where the Edge starts to lose its sharpness. The main issue is one we’ve seen here before: quality of the fit of the exterior panels of the Edge. However, I have another major gripe about the Blue Oval’s lifestyle-mobile, and it sits under its misaligned hood.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2016

2016 Honda Accord Sport at Sunset Front 3/4 Image: © 2016 Jeff Jablansky/The Truth About Cars

Quality of life is about making the best of your surroundings. There isn’t a car on the market today that reflects that ethos more than the Honda Accord.

After years of growing to make room for smaller models in the lineup, the Accord — which has gathered accolades as the most reliable choice in the family car segment for decades — has skipped having a midlife crisis, and is still playing like a kid. It would be easy to say the Accord has always been a favorite for us, but as the competition improves, we wanted to come back and give the Accord another go.

Here’s what we learned after several days of puttering around southern California in the Accord Sport, the value-priced model that hits the sweet spot of what you have and what you want.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2016

2016 Lexus IS 200t Exterior

Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.

Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.

Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.

Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2015

 

Oh yessss!!! (photo courtesy: www.britishv8.org)

Nicholas writes:

A friend recently acquired the carcass (very deliberate choice of words) of a Bugeye Sprite. We were discussing what engine might go into it, and I was thinking that the turbo three-cylinder Ecotec would be a light but sufficiently powerful choice. However, I know very little about what is involved in turning an engine 90 degrees to run the rear wheels.

(Read More…)

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