A revised four-cylinder engine, dubbed Theta II, started production at Hyundai’s Motor Manufacturing of Alabama assembly plant this week. The 2.4-liter gasoline engine adds direct fuel injection and other revisions to the Korean-designed and manufactured Theta engine.
Theta currently is produced in Namyang, Korea at volumes of more than 2 million units annually, with an emphasis on exports.
Theta II adds gasoline direct injection (GDI) and a variable induction system to produce 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 186 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. This results in an increase of 25 horsepower and 18 pound-feet of torque when compared with the older design. More telling, perhaps, is the excellent specific output of 85 horsepower/liter in a naturally aspirated engine.
In the next Sonata, Hyundai claims that the EPA certification now underway will result in a 35 mpg highway rating, which would be the highest in the class.
Hyundai announced late in 2008 that it would lead the industry with the then newly proposed CAFE standards of 35 mg by 2020. It would accomplish this by achieving that efficiency level five years earlier in 2015. The plans put in place then to do this have served the Korean maker well, and, potentially, gives it another marketing advantage besides its 120,000-mile engine warranty.
Since then, of course, CAFE standards have been revised under the Obama Administration to 35.5 mpg by 2016, and most — if not all –automakers are now pursuing the same technologies that Theta II uses.