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4-Cylinder Engines Now Outselling V-6s

The V-8 continues to fade in face of rising fuel costs.

by on Jul.26, 2011

Americans are opting for smaller and smaller engines - with or without hybrid technology, like this four-cylinder package in the Lexus CT 200h.

American motorists have proven decidedly stubborn when it comes to downsizing, willing to hang onto their pickups, SUVs and bigger passenger cars despite near-record fuel prices.

But buyers are showing a lot more flexibility with what they order under the hood.  Makers like Ford are scoring big gains with smaller powertrains, such as the EcoBoost V6 offered on the latest version of the F-Series pickup.

In fact, the trend towards smaller engines has not only swept aside the V8 but now threatens to marginalize the V6.  With a number of new models, such as the latest Hyundai Sonata, not even offering six-cylinder options, the Inline-4, or I-4, engine became the most popular powertrain choice among U.S. consumers during the first half of 2011, according to research firm IHS Automotive.

Power Up!

Four-cylinder engines now account for 43% of the U.S. automotive market, up from 26% in 2005.  During the same time period, the six-banger dropped from 43% to just 37%.  And the once all-mighty V-8, that simple of American muscle?  It has dipped from 29% to just 18% over the past six years, with most studies predicting still further declines.


Ford Unveils 40-MPG Gas Engine for 2012 Focus

Who needs hybrids?

by on Mar.24, 2011

So much from so little? The new Ford 2.0 I4.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been a staple of automotive propulsion around the world for decades — in places like Asia and Europe and Australia and Africa, anyway, but not so much here in the States.  Americans have tended to shy away from little 122 cubic-inch engines, but with gasoline at $3.50 and rising, that reluctance is wearing away.

Or so Ford hopes.  With the introduction of the 2012 Ford Focus, there’s a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that promises 160 horsepower, 147 foot-pounds of torque, and, in the specially equipped Focus SFE model, with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 miles per gallon on the highway (the 5-speed manual transmission gets a rating of 28 city, 36 highway).

Your Inside Source!

Ford just showed the guts of this new engine, designed for use in a range of small and smaller Ford products well into the future.  The maker is betting that powerplants like the new 2.0 I4 could provide a viable alternative for more costly hybrids and even the more sophisticated — but expensive — Ford EcoBoost for many customers.