There was a time, during Ford Model T days (1908-1927), when four cylinder engines absolutely dominated the American, indeed world, marketplace. Now it looks like we are returning to that era again, thanks to fears over gas prices, emission regulations and, at the moment, the economic Great Recession or Depression, whichever you care to call it.
Significantly, the striking fact is that nearly 90% of the top-selling Toyota Camry models sold in the U.S. market so far this year has been Fours, up from 82% in 2008. Fours in the Ford Fusion have been running around 65-70% of total sales and four-bangers in the Honda Accord reportedly constitute about three-quarters of those sold here.
Japanese makers led the way with smooth, balanced and efficient four-cylinder engines for the past decades, but there are signs the U.S. is catching up.