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The upcoming Chevrolet Cruze will use a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine.

The Pontiac Solstice GXP uses a turbocharged, direct injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
GM goes high-tech to improve fuel efficiency

General Motors has seen the writing on the walls when it comes to efficient vehicles. Although gas prices have dropped more than 15 cents in the past few weeks, Americans are still gravitating towards smaller vehicles that are easier on the wallet when the times comes to fill up the tank.

GM has spent the past few years working on a number of technologies to bring lightweight, advanced, and fuel efficient powertrains to its vehicles and a number of them are already available or will soon be hitting the general populous.

GM's reinvigorated powertrain efforts revolve around traditional gasoline engines, diesels, hybrids, and Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines according to Automotive News. GM is also looking to replace nearly all of its existing four and five-speed automatic transmissions with more efficient six-speed units.

For its gasoline engines -- much like Ford's efforts with its EcoBoost lineup -- GM is looking towards direct injection (DI) and turbocharging to extract V6 performance from four-cylinder engines and V8 performance from six-cylinder engines. GM's current turbocharged DI 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine can be found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Saturn Sky Red Line, Chevrolet HHR SS, and the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. In its current form, the engine delivers an impressive 260 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque.

In the near future, GM will apply turbocharging to its existing DI 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine to boost output from roughly 300 HP to around 400 HP. On the lower end of the spectrum, a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will finds its way into the Chevrolet Cruz -- the replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt -- in place of the existing 2.2-liter normally aspirated (NA) four-cylinder engine.

On the diesel front, GM points to its upcoming 4.5-liter V8 diesel engine which will be used in its light-duty pickups and full-size SUVs. According to GM, the engine itself is 75 pounds lighter than traditional diesel engines and will allow its hefty trucks to achieve 26 MPG on the highway.

When it comes to hybrids, GM is already making ground with its mild hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and Saturn Aura Green Line. Eventually, the company's more efficient two-mode hybrid system -- currently used in full-size pickups and SUVs -- will find its way into the Saturn Vue Green Line and GM's other mid-size cars and SUVs.

Finally, GM is also banking on HCCI technology to extract diesel-like fuel economy from a gasoline engine. DailyTech first brought you news of this technology when Mercedes unveiled its F700 research vehicle. According to GM, adding HCCI to a gasoline engine boost fuel economy by 15 percent and significantly reduced harmful tailpipe emissions.

GM hopes to stay a step ahead of its competitors with its upcoming powertrain advances; however, its competitors likely aren't sitting still when it comes to their own efforts in striving for greater performance and engine efficiency.

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Good to see
By GreenEnvt on 8/26/2008 11:45:22 AM , Rating: 5
Getting more fuel economy without sacrificing power should make everyone happy (how are the torque numbers though?).

I also like the look of the new replacement for the cobalt.

RE: Good to see
By Chris Peredun on 8/26/2008 11:54:04 AM , Rating: 2
I'm having a heck of a time finding the torque numbers, but the European Opel Astra 1.4L Turbo made 140hp out of that tiny little engine, and I saw references to a "weaker 125hp engine" making ~200NM, or about 145lb-ft.

I agree about the looks (and bring back the front-shot in red!) but I wish GM would stop with this divided grille schtick. Remove that "top grille" above the emblem, and put the emblem in the middle of the black area, and it would look much sharper in my opinion.

RE: Good to see
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 12:09:25 PM , Rating: 4
Ask and ye shall receive.

RE: Good to see
By Totally on 8/26/2008 9:56:01 PM , Rating: 1
those modifications to the front end would make the car kind of ugly.

I just wish Ford would show as much enthusiasm to innovate as Chevy does.

RE: Good to see
By Samus on 8/27/2008 5:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm having a heck of a time finding the torque numbers, but the European Opel Astra 1.4L Turbo made 140hp out of that tiny little engine, and I saw references to a "weaker 125hp engine" making ~200NM, or about 145lb-ft.

I drove a 98 Mazda Protege with a 96HP, 1.5l engine for five years back in the day and it wasn't only the most reliable car I even owned (the only two things that failed was the exhaust manifold cracking and the A/C clutch bearing failing, both around 70k, and both less than a few hundred each to replace. It was a 5-speed, and although it was very low performance, it was very light and handled very well allowing me to keep my speed high through onramps and twists.

Some american's might shun 96hp cars, especially if equiped with an automatic transmission, but 30/38mpg fuel economy fully equiped for $15,000 and world-class Japanese construction in the luxury Millenia construction plant make it my favorite car of all time. I wish the same could be said about current Mazda's. The company have lost its roots of making small, nimble, fuel efficient cars. Thanks Ford.

RE: Good to see
By KingConker on 8/26/2008 12:13:54 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the GM Cobalt the American version of the Vaxuhall/Opel Insignia?

Why is it they have to make the US versions appear so drab?

I know you guys over in the US demand and deserve better taste so why put up with an inferior looking car?

RE: Good to see
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 12:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
No. The Cobalt is much smaller.

The Insignia will form the basis of the next generation Saturn Aura.

RE: Good to see
By foolsgambit11 on 8/26/2008 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 5
U.S. Versions have to appear drab because that's what people buy. Why do manufacturers prefer boring cars in America? Because boring cars can't offend. The more dramatic a car's styling, the more dramatically people feel about it. People both like and dislike the car more. That immediately alienates part of the purchasing base of the car.

And why do people in America prefer to buy boring cars over the limited 'stylish' models available (Scions, Minis, etc.)? Even the people who like a radical car's looks might not buy it because, well, what if their friends don't like it? They'd have to put up with people wondering what that means about their character. Much easier choice just to buy an Altima.

Finally, the automobile is, it seems to me, seen more as a tool in America than elsewhere. This is why Americans prefer larger cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. We're willing to pay more for enhanced functionality. But in the end, the car is a tool, and so looks aren't as much of a selling point. BHP is. Torque is. Cubic inches of storage is. Cup holders are.

RE: Good to see
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 1:08:02 PM , Rating: 3
But in the end, the car is a tool, and so looks aren't as much of a selling point.

I would beg to differ. Of course, the functionality & features required are typically the first part in narrowing down your car search. But once you compile your first list, often time, exterior looks and styling do make a HUGE difference in buying decision.

RE: Good to see
By Hiawa23 on 8/27/2008 7:54:01 AM , Rating: 1
I agree, looks are every bit the selling point. Back in 06 I was looking for a new car to go with older 97 Honda Civic. I went to the American dealerships, mind you it had to be small, sporty & compact, then I went to the Japanese dealerships, & it was no contest, I finally narrowed it down to a Mitsu Lancer Ralliart, as I wanted the EVO but that was out of my range, & the main reason I did was because I loved the way the car looked, so looks are very important to many. I look at all the hybrid cars & damn near all of them on the market now, are not attractive at all to me especially the ugly Prius. I can't see myself buying an electric car so it's great to see the auto makers look to more fuel efficient drives as gasoline vehicles will probably be the only vehicles I own, & hopefully this along with other technology will continue to bring gas prices down.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 11:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
I look at all the hybrid cars & damn near all of them on the market now, are not attractive at all to me especially the ugly Prius.
The ugly Prius and other hybrids are selling like hotcakes. Toyota can't even keep up with demand on them. Looks takes a backseat to practicality.

RE: Good to see
By whynot on 8/27/2008 10:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
In the case of the Prius ugly is a selling point. It makes the car instantly identifiable. This is important to many people wishing to showoff how ‘green’ they are.

RE: Good to see
By Ratinator on 8/26/2008 2:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
Alienating people like myself as I think the Scion is ugly as sin only bested in ugliness by the Honda Element.

RE: Good to see
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 8/26/2008 12:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight. The Pontiac Solstice puts out 260 HP, essentially the output of a V6 engine. Yet it's fuel mileage is 19/27, or a bit better than the 430 HP Chevrolet V8 at 16/26. Hmmm, V6 power at V8 mileage, I would say that was, ummm, well, NOT fuel efficient.

BTW, the Solstice weighs less than the Corvette by 300#, so the mileage figures are even more dismal.

RE: Good to see
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 12:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
Gearing, it's all about gearing.

RE: Good to see
By Shark Tek on 8/26/2008 1:20:07 PM , Rating: 3
I second that, the gearing on Corvette Specially the 6th is the one that helps it do that MPG. Drive it without it and you will see how thirsty are those horses.

RE: Good to see
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 1:35:17 PM , Rating: 1
Wrong. Gearing mates the engine's specific torque versus fuel consumption to a particular speed. If too low or too high, you get not ideal MPG results, but may get better performance.

Areodynamic drag is what it's about. It's Cd*Frontal Area.
2008 Z06: Drag area = Cd (0.34) x frontal area (22.3 sq ft)= 7.6 sq ft

Solstice Drage area = 24.8 sq ft.

HP (or torque, take your pick) vaies with the weight and rolling resistence linearly and with the square of aero drag. Overall that makes HP increase to the 3rd power with speed.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 3:10:42 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks Jimbo, I was just about to post that.

RE: Good to see
By randomly on 8/26/2008 6:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
Gearing does directly affect the engine rpm and thus the pumping losses and friction losses. The pumping losses can be substantial.

Rolling resistance varying linearly with velocity and air drag varying by the square of the velocity does not mean HP requirements increase to the 3rd power of speed. That's just bad math.

RE: Good to see
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 8:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
Look it up yourself in any engineering handbook and you will see that is does relate to the 3rd power. While I agree frictional and volumetric efficiency does make a difference as to how much fuel is consumed at a given torque load and throttle position per RPM, both cars should be designed to operate at the optimum in the final gear. Also difference engines have different characteristics. But drag will kill you your MPG and aero drag is the largest component of it.
as well as
don't forget
and also why not this

So you do the math. I'll buy you a beer if it's not to the 3rd power. As a mechanical engineer, I have done the calculations, run the dyno tests, etc. I do not spew BS.

RE: Good to see
By randomly on 8/29/2008 10:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
Power requirements for air drag do go up as the 3rd power of velocity, but not rolling resistance and engine friction losses etc. The total power requirements are the power required for air drag AND the power required for the frictional/pumping losses. Unless the other losses are negligible with respect to the air drag the total power requirements do not increase with the 3rd power of velocity but at a lower rate.

It will asymptotically approach 3rd power at very high speeds where the air drag losses are much larger than the other losses but that's not a region where cars normally operate unless you're on the Autobahn or racing, which is the situation most of the links you posted are addressing.

Rolling resistance, pumping losses, and frictional losses are a substantial percentage of the total power demands on a normal car on the freeway.

btw thanks for the links, some nice information there. You can drink the beer for me ;-)

RE: Good to see
By Alexvrb on 8/26/2008 11:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
The 2.0L TC Solstice coupled to a 5-speed MT gets 19/28 (as tested by the EPA). The 2.4L NA coupled to a 5-speed MT gets 19/25 (again as tested by the EPA). This is on the same car, with the same drag characteristics. It IS about gearing when manufacturers DO NOT always gear a car for maximum fuel economy.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 12:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
There's too many variables for you to make that conclusion. The 2.0L turbo'd Solstice also has direct injection and less displacement than the 2.4L.

RE: Good to see
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 12:32:42 PM , Rating: 3
Yet it's fuel mileage is 19/27, or a bit better than the 430 HP Chevrolet V8 at 16/26. Hmmm, V6 power at V8 mileage, I would say that was, ummm, well, NOT fuel efficient.

I have an 07 Honda Accord coupe V6, which is 244hp and gets 21/29. Not much better than the 260HP 4cyl turbo in the Solstice.

So whats your point? Is nothing "efficient" unless its a crappy 60mpg golf cart with doors?

RE: Good to see
By HinderedHindsight on 8/26/2008 1:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point he's making is that when it comes to cars, American manufacturers seem to make questionable decisions when it comes to equipping engines. I'll use Ford as an alternate example to GM cars

For the longest time Ford had a solid 200 HP V6 3.0 24 Valve DOHC Yamaha based engine (since the mid 90's). They still use it today in a variety of vehicles (Fusion, Taurus, Escape) and it has been can reach 240 HP without a turbo.

Yet, their cash pony, the Mustang, they continue to equip a noisy 4.0 liter SOHC (bored out from a 3.8 liter they used to use in older Mustangs which only made 150 HP) which does 210 HP.

By all accounts, the 4 liter is less fuel efficient and more costly to produce, and is slower than the 3 liter depending on the vehicle you're sitting in.

This seems to be a staple of American car manufacturing: lots of different engines, instead of fine tuning one platform and using it in a variety of applications. They even have a very powerful and fairly efficient/cheap to produce 3.5 liter, yet they continue to invest almost every year in improving the underpinnings (suspension, gearing ratios, etc) and redesigning the exterior of the vehicle rather than upgrading the platform and giving it a more competitive edge.

And this comes from a person who loves the Mustang as a car and a staple of American history.

RE: Good to see
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 1:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware that the Duratec 30 was a Yamaha design. As far as I know, the Duratec 30 was developed by Ford.

Now, the 3.0 liter 220HP V6 used in the first and second generation Taurus SHO was indeed Yamaha designed as was the 3.4 liter V8 used in the third generation SHO.

RE: Good to see
By HinderedHindsight on 8/26/2008 2:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that the Duratec wasn't directly developed by Yamaha, but it was based off of the same design from those original SHO's. I was just as surprised to find that out the Duratec in my old 2001 Taurus.

Yet another sad mistake on the part of Ford. Because the 3.4 liter V8 was much heavier than the 3.0 V6 used in the first two SHO's, the third gen was a few tenths of a second slower to 60.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 3:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point he's making is that when it comes to cars, American manufacturers seem to make questionable decisions when it comes to equipping engines.
See Jimbo's post on CD's and frontal area. The Solstice's frontal area is why it gets worse mileage compared to say a Corvette. When you drop the same engine into the Cobalt, the mileage improves to 22/30.

RE: Good to see
By Alexvrb on 8/26/2008 11:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Cobalt gains 3 MPG in city and 2 on highway, and its because the cobalt SS has so much less drag than the Solstice? Gee, and here I was thinking about how the FWD Cobalt is geared less aggressively and is slower than its RWD Pontiac comrade.

RE: Good to see
By Solandri on 8/26/2008 2:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's important to remember that peak horsepower is only achieved at one RPM, and fuel efficiency is most definitely not measured at that RPM. Most of the time the engine is only going to be putting out ~15-30 HP to maintain the vehicle's speed. Fuel efficiency is more a measure of how well the manufacturer can tune the engine's performance at that low power output. It can have very little or nothing to do with the engine's peak horsepower, especially now that they're doing tricks like shutting off fuel to cylinders at low power.

RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Good to see
By ziggo on 8/26/2008 6:40:52 PM , Rating: 4
Nobody I know has a car that cruises on the interstate at full throttle. A dyno chart only tells you whjat the engine is capable of producing at a given RPM at WOT.

The most fuel efficient platform would be a NA engine geared so that it would operate at full throttle near the torque peak on level ground at the desired cruising speed. Such a car would accelerate painfully slow though which is why it is not done.

RE: Good to see
By randomly on 8/26/2008 7:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
a properly turbocharged engine at full throttle will be more efficient than a NA engine because of the improved thermodynamic efficiency.

RE: Good to see
By ziggo on 8/26/2008 10:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
False. Turbocharged engines are a wonderful thing. But from a thermodynamic efficiency standpoint they do not help. The energy used to compress the incoming air is essentially captured from the exhaust stroke, causing the exhaust pressure to be higher than for a NA engine.

At full throttle turbo engines have to run pretty rich to keep cylinder temps down. Also turbocharged engines generally have lower compression ratios, which is the only factor for the thermodynamic efficiency of a pure otto cycle.

The major benefits are size and weight. They also allow a smaller displacement engine to act like a larger one when necessary. Thus you can act like a small engine when cruising at low loads and still have the power on demand like a larger engine.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 10:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
At full throttle turbo engines have to run pretty rich to keep cylinder temps down
Not with Direct Injection you don't. DI, boosted engines are run lean as hell. You also don't have to run as low of a compression ratio either as VW's run 10:1 and GM runs 9.2:1. I wouldn't be surprised if these new DI, turbo engines coming from Ford and GM run even higher than 10:1.

RE: Good to see
By ziggo on 8/27/2008 10:52:36 AM , Rating: 2
I have a DI turbo engine. My target afrs are still around 12 under full boost. The compression ratio isn't stellar either.

It could be designed to help, but the engine I have uses the DI cushion to up the boost to 16lbs. In any case, from a thermodynamic efficiency standpoint, NA cars are the way to go.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 11:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
I have a DI turbo engine. My target afrs are still around 12 under full boost. The compression ratio isn't stellar either.
Ours are WAY leaner. Different tuning I suppose. What kind of turbo are you guys using? We have a K04 variant and it is capped to 20 psi in stock form.

RE: Good to see
By randomly on 8/29/2008 12:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's not necessarily true that the energy the turbo uses to compress the incoming air is captured from the exhaust stroke because of critical or choked flow. The mass flux of air becomes independent of the downstream pressure and so the turbo does not change the back pressure on the exhausting piston. The energy is drawn by the turbo results in a lowering of the exhaust temperature, and thus you are extracting more thermodynamic energy than you were before. This increases the engine efficiency.
This is particularly effective on Diesel engines.

If you are forced to lower the compression ratio because you running near the predetonation limits of the engine with a particular fuel you of course lower the efficiency of the engine which may chew up most of the added gain from the turbo.

The drawback to turbos are the added expensive, complexity, maintenance, and response lag. But properly used they CAN improve the thermodynamic efficiency of an ICE.

RE: Good to see
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 8:11:38 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Although dyno tests are performed at WOT as well as partial throttle. At the partial throttle is where you will be cruising and the car's gearing will be adjusted to run at the optimal specific torque per fuel mass at highway speed. The torque requirement is calculated from the Cd, frontal area, mass, and rolling resistance (see my post above).

I'm glad there are a few here that actually know what they are talking about when it comes to speed, torque, HP, MPG, the first and second laws of thermo, etc.

RE: Good to see
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 8/27/2008 12:51:40 PM , Rating: 1
The point is: "GM goes high-tech to improve fuel efficiency" is a crap assertion.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 1:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
The point is: "GM goes high-tech to improve fuel efficiency" is a crap assertion.
Er. They are. What's crap about it?

RE: Good to see
By Chaser on 8/26/2008 12:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
As a C6 Corvette owner the Corvette is a car of extremes. Driving on the highway with very little traffic to help maintain 65 miles per hour in top 6th gear over a period of time will gain you 26MPH -with a tail wind. :) Under all other circumstances the Vette gets 16. ALL other circumstances. The Solstice on the other hand will get 19 when driving it hard, but maintain a noticably higher average in "everyday" city driving and get 27MPH when on the highway in almost all circumstances.

RE: Good to see
By theapparition on 8/26/2008 2:03:33 PM , Rating: 3
Have to disagree. My wife's stock 08 C6 is getting an average of 24mpg. That's a combined average, made up of mostly city driving.

I'd suggest your foot is just a little bit too heavy. I also fall into that catagory, so don't be offended. Both my C5 and C6 get an average of closer to 20mpg.

My two vettes don't count since they are "slightly" modified.

Climate, driving conditions and tuning all make a huge difference. With a good tune, you should really be able to gain performance and increase gas milage, signifigantly. The cars come pig rich from the factory.

RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 2:12:19 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. I mean hell my dad's Trans Am gets 27 mpg at 75-80 mph and its a hell of a lot less aerodynamic than a Vette.

What I'm really wondering with the Vettes is why they haven't introduced the 3-valve heads on them yet. They demoed them like 3 years ago.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 3:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if we're going to use real world driving. My Solstice gets 28 mpg on commutes with a lead foot. 30 mpg on 80 mph freeway jaunts (with some point and squirt driving) and 33 mpg on that same freeway drive if I manage to keep my foot off the floor.

Other drivers report much higher freeway figures but they're also driving at 60-65 mph. A place I don't go.

RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 5:00:03 PM , Rating: 1
Ok and? I think that turbo-Ecotec is a great engine. I know it gets good fuel economy and makes great power.

RE: Good to see
By fxnick on 8/29/2008 2:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
3 valves on a pushrod motor? ive never heard of such a thing. they must have been using a different engine.

RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 2:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know what options or whatnot you've got. But all the C6 6-speed owners I've talked to are getting 28-29+ MPG on the highway at 75 mph. At 65 it should be even better.

RE: Good to see
By lightfoot on 8/26/2008 2:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
As a Saturn Sky Redline (the solstice's twin) owner I have to say that you're exactly right. For me it's almost impossible to get less than 25 MPG in the Sky regardless of driving style, but on the highway I can regularly get 30-32. The 27 MPG quote is for the non-turbo charged 2.4L V4, not the 2.0L turbo-V4. The EPA highway of the Solstice/Sky is 29MPG. In any case it is wrong to say that 16 vs. 19 city mileage is a minimal difference - It's HUGE the Corvette uses 18.75% more fuel in city driving, and 11.5% more fuel on the highway. Not to mention the fact that the Corvette is going to cost you double the amount up front. Is the ‘Vette a more efficient engine? Yes it is, but large engines typically are.

The whole argument is silly - these are both performance cars - mileage is not a major concern. What really matters to owners of these cars is this: the Corvette will do in 3.7 seconds what the Sky/Solstice takes 5.5 seconds to do. That's the 0-60 time, and that is why people buy these cars. And they both get incredible mileage while having the ability to do so.

If you really want mileage, then buy a Smart car. It will cost you 1/6th the 'Vette, and 1/3 the Solstice and it will beat the socks off both of them in MPG - you just have to settle for a 12+ second 0-60 time.

RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 5:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
Buying a SMART car is the dumbest thing you can do. Other far larger cars can nearly match its MPG and don't involve driving a gift box for a car (not even a shoe box).

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 6:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
don't involve driving a gift box for a car (not even a shoe box)
LOL! Kinda looks like my Logitech mouse.

RE: Good to see
By lightfoot on 8/26/2008 10:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree, but econo-boxes aren't performance cars and they shouldn't be compared. The Smart car is only slightly smaller than the Sky/Solstice and thus was a good parallel. If you don't need to haul cargo, and only need a single passenger they will both do the job. However, if all you care about is fuel economy, the Smart is the better choice.

RE: Good to see
By walk2k on 8/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Good to see
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 2:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah and they were beaten by GM by more than that. Just not on 4 cylinders. GM and Ford have had a host of turbo-charged and super-charged vehicles throughout the past 60 years.

Your arguement = epic fail.

RE: Good to see
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 8:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
Read the latest Car and Driver and you will see that turbo's of the 80's were a failure. Manufacturers tried them at the time for fuel efficiency, but soon returned to N/A engines. Less cost, more reliable, and eventually more efficient but advances in control systems. Today's turbo engines are much, much better than those of the 80's.

RE: Good to see
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 8:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
...because of advances... typo

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 9:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there a turbo Corvair?

RE: Good to see
By Alexvrb on 8/26/2008 11:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
19/28 (22 combined) for the 5 speed MT, actually. 16/26 (19 combined) for the vette IS pretty good. I think that is more a testament to how efficient LS-series engines are. Pushrods can be powerful and efficient. :P Anyway. Yeah, the Solstice weighs 270 lbs less. But the vette has less drag, and has an extra gear. Remember, 5th and 6th are overdrive gears for the current LS3-equipped vettes.

If you want a more fair comparison, look at the weaker (especially in torque) 2.4L NA engine in the base Solstice. Slower AND less fuel efficient (19/25 for the 5MT). Compared to the 2.4L ecotec, the 2.0L DI TC ecotec produces more power and is more efficient. So using DI and TC engine combinations in their engine lineup all the way from 1.4L on up could be used to boost power or fuel economy - depending on the model, sometimes both.

RE: Good to see
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 12:11:34 AM , Rating: 2
In real world driving, the 2.0L gets 2-3 mpg better than the 2.4L on average. PLUS the added benefit of NOT having to drive like a grandma to get good gas mileage. I got 30 mpg on a 170 mile mountain road and country road drive with spirited driving on the mountain parts. The 2.4L cars in the group got 26 mpg.

RE: Good to see
By Amiga500 on 8/26/2008 12:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
On turbo they'll not be too bad.

But there is no replacement for displacement - at the low end esp. you'll find the engines a bit gutless.

RE: Good to see
By TimberJon on 8/26/2008 12:54:57 PM , Rating: 3
Ah ah ahh... VGT (Variable Geometry Turbine) technology for Turbos is already being used by Porsche and GM was one of the first to jump the bandwagon with promises to use the same technology in its 'upcoming' lines using turbos. That time is here, and I'd be very interested to see that the turbo's being used contain VGT tech. That essentially eliminates turbo lag and the need for blow off valves, while keeping the power band steady from zero on up. That will keep your low end intact.

This is how companies need to win the market..
By Doormat on 8/26/2008 11:58:15 AM , Rating: 3
IMO, far too long Ford and GM had let marketing run the company, jingoistic songs in ads featuring crappy products ("This is our country..."). Now innovation is making a comeback - its good to see GM at least forging ahead and making innovative products. HCCI is really interesting, if it works as well as promised.

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By Staples on 8/26/2008 1:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Their focus on big vehicles and lack of efficiency for 20 years too long has made me think that the people running the company were incompetent. But who is really to blame? Them or their customers?

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By Solandri on 8/26/2008 2:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well the customers were to blame for choosing to buy gas hogs instead of fuel efficient vehicles. But the car company's marketing was to blame for fueling the SUV trend since they made an obscene amount of profit on an SUV (typically >$10,000) compared to a regular car (a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars).

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By fuzman on 8/26/2008 3:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
I work for a Toyota dealer in Canada...

We can't get enough Prius, Yaris sedans, or entry level Matrix and Corollas due to their fuel efficiency. The Saturn dealer next door is having a hard time trying to sell their European designed and manufactured Astra, because they are priced higher than an equivalent Matrix.

The domestics are crying foul over what they can do to provide a better vehicle...all they have to do is go to their European divisions and the solution is at hand.

As for the efficiency of the diesel... check out this link of a test of a Peugeot 308 diesel done in Australia.

travel 1,192 miles on a single 60-litre tank of diesel...averaged a staggering 90mpg on a 9,000 mile road trip around Australia, securing a place in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records.

Now will the domestics learn their lesson. This not meant to be a start of a discussion of Diesel over Hybrids...there are benefits for and against each.. End of discussion.

By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 5:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's impressive mileage to be sure. I'd want a little more than 90bhp though. And the 2.0L model is around $36,000 USD. I'd pass at that price.

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By Spuke on 8/26/2008 6:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's impressive mileage to be sure. I'd want a little more than 90bhp though.
Americans aren't going to drive a 90hp car. That's why ALL the imported US cars come with the bigger engines.

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By Lord 666 on 8/27/2008 2:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
The 2006 jetta tdi in my driveway has 100hp and is fun to drive... its the 177lb of torque that makes the difference.

Granted, jetta couldn't make it over 100mph, and i've tried.

RE: This is how companies need to win the market..
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 11:24:41 AM , Rating: 2
The 2006 jetta tdi in my driveway has 100hp and is fun to drive
Diesel cars in the US haven't sold well at all for reasons we are all familiar with. I won't rehash them. Considered that the best selling US cars (and trucks) are one's that are making almost double (and more than double) your cars output, it's safe to assume that Americans don't like low hp cars. We have spoken with out wallets.

I had a car that made 98hp, it sucked. Never again.

By Spuke on 8/27/2008 1:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
We have spoken with OUR wallets.

Reason for name changes
By sirokket16 on 8/26/2008 12:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
There is a reason why domestic car companies change the names of their vehicles every generation...

and why Toyota continues moving towards #1.

RE: Reason for name changes
By theapparition on 8/26/2008 3:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not that your post deserves a reply......but can you name me many foreign cars that have held the same name longer than either Corvette or Mustang?

RE: Reason for name changes
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 3:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
Chevrolet Corvette: 1953
Ford Mustang: 1964
Porsche 911: 1963
VW Beetle: 1938
Toyota Corolla: 1966

RE: Reason for name changes
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 3:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
Honda Accord: 1976
Toyota Camry: 1980
Honda Civic: 1972
Nissan Maxima 1976
Nissan Altima: 1993

Guess which car has been around longer?

Mitsubishi Galant: 1969

RE: Reason for name changes
By Jimbo1234 on 8/26/2008 8:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
Add another one to the list from the oldest car manufacturer (1871).

Mercedes S-Class: 1954

RE: Reason for name changes
By acer905 on 8/27/2008 12:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
Chevrolet Suburban: 1935

RE: Reason for name changes
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
Penis: 12 inches

RE: Reason for name changes
By theapparition on 8/28/2008 7:33:45 AM , Rating: 2
Subtract 20+ years from the Beetle's longevity, since it wasn't marketed in the US for a very long time.

I mean, if we're just going to use names, than why not throw Impala, Malibu, and GTO in there. The reason is because there was signifigant gaps in US availability.

I say, I'm somewhat confused by your reply. Don't know if you're agreeing with me or not.

I wonder how GM will do in the new economy
By retrospooty on 8/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: I wonder how GM will do in the new economy
By Murst on 8/26/2008 11:58:22 AM , Rating: 3
I think Ford and Toyota are actually equal in quality for the new models (this probably has as much to do w/ an increase in quality from Ford as a decrease in quality from Toyota).

Its actually kind of surprising how crappy small cars have been from US companies. They have some pretty decent offerings in Europe. There's been some success with Corvette (I still think its the best sports car in its price range), and Ford has had success with the Taurus in the 90s, although the new models don't seem to be doing too well. The Neon was pretty decent too (for the price), but it got discontinued I think.

By HinderedHindsight on 8/26/2008 1:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the quality situation is interesting. Mercury (sub brand of Ford) is rated #2 in quality behind Lexus. Ford itself is still slightly behind Toyota in initial quality, but as of last year, had fewer recalls across their product line as a whole.

The main failure of the Taurus was all in the marketing. They kept marketing it mostly to car rental agencies under equipped. People got a bad impression from that and the fact that the upgraded engine stayed at 200 HP for 10 years. Meanwhile, Nissan, Honda, and even Toyota standardized around beefier, but just as efficient engines, with better overall designs.

Doing the whole car rental thing may have been an initial sales boost to Ford, but they became complacent with the Taurus and kept focusing on SUVs. This hurt the Taurus' image in the long run.

The Neon was a horrendous case of bad design decisions. Of course the Dodge faithful kept buying and littering the highways with them. No one in recent history comes to mind that would equip a vehicle with a 3 speed *automatic* transmission. It was cheap, but caused a lot of quality issues. The more recent Neons finally got a good makeover, but not before the bad images were set in peoples minds, and ultimately, it was discontinued in favor of the Nitro.

RE: I wonder how GM will do in the new economy
By andrinoaa on 8/27/2008 6:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
Are you insane? The taurus was the ugliest car ever made. It looked like it had melted in the sun. When stacked up against the local (australian made/designed Fords), god it was awful.
The neon came over with a 3 speed auto when the japs were putting 4& 5 speed boxes in. These cars proved (in our minds ) your cars were crap.
As others have said, I don't see any giant leap forward in economy.
Yanks still want large cars? The oil crunch may subside for a while, but I bet the next one will bite deeper and harder.

By Spuke on 8/27/2008 11:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yanks still want large cars?
Yes, we STILL want large cars and we're STILL getting them. We downsized from trucks and SUV's to mid-sized sedans and compacts. Camry's/Accord's, Corolla's/Civic's are NOT small cars here. Look at the US automakers websites and you'll see what we're talking about. Do some comparisons.

RE: I wonder how GM will do in the new economy
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 12:07:15 PM , Rating: 4
My Cobalt has been fantastic. Then there's cars like the new Malibu, the Pontiac G8, and the Saturn Aura.

And I find Toyota's cars far more ugly than GM or even Ford's. Honda's are starting to look good but Toyota's keep getting uglier. They look like a retard trying to look mean.

By retrospooty on 8/27/2008 9:58:53 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, Toyotas have taken a big ugly pill lately. But US cars have been ugly with very few exceptions since the death of the muscle car decades ago. Exceptions: Corvette (sex on wheels, always has been, every model) New Camaro/Firebirds look nice etc... but do they last? Not likely.

So basically...
By Amiga500 on 8/26/2008 12:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
GM are turning to the likes of Opel for their smaller, lighter technology? And Ford USA to Ford Europe.

And if they are not - why not?

No point in (quite literally) re-inventing the wheel.

Hopefully with the worldwide market all pulling in the same direction for improved vehicle efficiency, greater improvements can be made with the increased R&D resources devoted to the problem.

RE: So basically...
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 12:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
And if they are not - why not?

Because the average American does not want smaller. They want the same, but better....meaning, bigger cars, sports cars, SUV's, trucks...but to get better gas mileage than they currently do.

I guarantee you that if each company offered a small car for $15k and an SUV for $30k, both of which got the same fuel economy, or close to it, you'd see many more of the SUV's on the road.

After all, they tried that "small car" crap here back in the 80's at the end of the last oil embargo. Americans, quite frankly, didn't want them.

RE: So basically...
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 12:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
After all, they tried that "small car" crap here back in the 80's at the end of the last oil embargo. Americans, quite frankly, didn't want them.

What you talkin' bout Willis?

Honda can't keep up with demand for the Fit (up 72% year over year) here in America. In fact, the second generation model is launching a month early.

The Civic (up 15%), Cobalt (up 16%), Versa (up 17%), Sentra (up 5%), Corolla (up 7%), Focus (up 26%), etc. are all experiencing HUGE gains this year.

About the only mainstream small car that is doing poorly is Saturn's "new" Astra :) :) :)

RE: So basically...
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 12:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
You're parsing my post.

As I said, people want the current large sized cars - Accords, Malibu's, SUV's, Trucks, etc. But they want better fuel economy because the cars are too expensive to drive.

So, my point was that if the current large cars could be produced with higher efficiency, then you'd see those selling more as they have in the past.

After all, the only reason people are moving to smaller vehicles is the price of gas - NOT because they want smaller cars.

RE: So basically...
By theapparition on 8/26/2008 3:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
Of signifigant note is that the Honda Fit is still far larger (interior space) than the 80's econo-boxes. Not only that, it also offers ergonomics and amenities that were unheard of back then.

All else equal, we've seen that most Americans have gone for "bigger is better" type cars/trucks. Exhibit A: Hummer H2.

Only when hurt in the wallet did American buying patterns shift. Gas basically quadruppled in 2-3 years.

Smaller cars are all the rage now, but have yet to demonstrate a sustained trend. But I'll bet the farm that when people get used to the buget impact, you'll start seeing larger vehicles again. Likewise, you'd see plenty of large cars in Europe if they could be afforded.

RE: So basically...
By Hoser McMoose on 8/26/2008 3:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
In some sense though you're sales numbers are kind of proving the previous posters point: People want bigger and better at the same price and the same or better fuel economy.

Look at the Honda Fit for 2009, it is roughly the same size as a Honda Accord from 30 years ago and has a more powerful engine.

The Civic, Corolla, Focus, etc. are all getting bigger and with more powerful engines but keeping the same fuel efficiency (or at least close to it).

Put quite simply, North Americans have NOT bought into small cars at all, we've just redefined what we used to call a mid-sized car to be a 'subcompact'.

RE: So basically...
By mdogs444 on 8/26/2008 3:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
orth Americans have NOT bought into small cars at all, we've just redefined what we used to call a mid-sized car to be a 'subcompact'.

Very true. Like how until 1996, the Civic was a subcompact. Now its just a compact. In the 1980's, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry were considered compacts, no larger than a Pontiac Sunbird or Cavalier. Now their a midsize. The new 4 door Honda Accord is almost like a Maxima, which is considered an Executive.

By masher2 on 8/26/2008 12:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
> "Although gas prices have dropped more than 15 cents in the past few weeks..."

Gas prices have dropped just over 40 cents since their highs of last month:

RE: Actually
By foolsgambit11 on 8/26/2008 1:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
And 40 cents is "more than 15 cents." I think he was just trying to ensure that no matter how people interpreted "the past few weeks", his statement would still be accurate. He could have been more precise. He could have said, "In the past two weeks gas prices have dropped 12.4 cents." Or, "In the past 3 weeks prices have dropped 19.5 cents." However, he could also have said, "In the past year, gas has gone up 93.6 cents." Or even, "On Feb 22, 1999, the average price was 90.7 cents. Gas costs more than 4 times what it did that week, exactly 9 and a half years ago. The price of gas has gone UP more in the past year than a gallon of gas cost less than ten years ago."

It's true that for the past 7 weeks, gas prices have been falling, and that they've fallen approximately 10%. But nobody expects them to fall back into the $1.20-$1.40 range that gas would be if it only kept pace with inflation over the past 10 years. So let's not get too giddy about recent price drops. Not yet.

RE: Actually
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 2:23:38 PM , Rating: 1
I think if we started opening the taps on our oil reserves, we'd see prices around $3.00 a gallon for a while. No it's never going to go back to the prices of old. But that's because the world is a different place now. Demand is far higher. But the more supply dumped into the market, the cheaper the price.

Even if prices do go down I think development of these turbocharged engines and diesels will continue. Because the fear will remain of higher prices. Plus the new CAFE standards aren't that far away. I'm all in favor of turbo-charged I4s and V6s. They're more fun and easier to get power out of. I'd love to have an Grand National. Cause most young punks don't know what they are (they might after the new Fast & Fagurious movie hits) and aren't expecting it when you blow them away.

RE: Actually
By foolsgambit11 on 8/26/2008 3:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree. The developing world has been growing at an amazing pace. Maybe some day we won't have to call them developing. The greater demand for a limited resource is probably responsible for most of the price of oil at this point (i.e. the 'speculation' price increase has just about settled out of the price per barrel). Increasing supply could help some.

But in the best-case scenario, Kaufmann said, the United States could only produce an additional two to four million barrels of offshore oil a day - not enough to shift the global supply-demand balance in a world market that now consumes about 86 million barrels a day and is growing fast. About a quarter of that consumption now occurs in the United States.

While that story argues that not much good would come of expanded drilling, it would be something. An approximately 3% increase in supply would probably cause a dramatically greater than 3% drop in cost. However, due to refining capacity restraints, not all of the that decrease in the price of oil would be seen in the price of gasoline.

But what if we could reduce demand for gasoline by 3%? Barack Obama claims that greater attention to vehicle operating efficiency (tune-ups, tire pressure, and driving style) would save as much gas as expanded drilling would produce. If we could drop global demand by 3%, we could see price drops substantially greater than 3%.

Both combined (the something for everyone approach) could have a dramatic, beneficial effect on the price of oil and gasoline. On the other hand, China, India, and the rest of the world haven't stopped growing. Much of Africa hasn't started growing rapidly, but it may. The increased supply will be offset by increased demand. So instead of a drop in price, even with offshore drilling, we shouldn't expect prices to drop. We can really only expect that prices will go up a little less than they would without drilling. But at least that's something.

Every little bit helps. On the individual level, improving fuel economy by keeping your car in shape and driving for fuel efficiency is part of the short-term solution. On the governmental level, increasing supply through drilling helps, and policies that reduce demand, like promoting hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles, are another part of the short-term solution.

RE: Actually
By roastmules on 8/26/2008 5:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think if we started opening the taps on our oil reserves, we'd see prices around $3.00 a gallon for a while.

Where is this oil reserve you are speaking of? I don't know of any oil reserve that is there to balance out market economics.

I don't like high prices, but we should not use the SPR for anything short of a world war or major natural disaster.

Also, the SPR has only 700 million barrels. World-wide, (when talking oil, we must use global figures as oil is a global commoditiy.) oil consumption is about 87 mbd (million barrels per day). Extracting the SPR at maximum rate of 4.4 mbd, it would impact 5% of the market for 160 days. Oil rates are about 50-60% of the price of a gallon, so that 5% would impact price of a gallon of gas by 2.5%, or about $.06-$.08. Is saving 8 cents a gallon (for 160 days), or a total of $13*, worth it to have no reserves in case of a hurricane, meteor or world war?

CAFE standards are bad: either they are "command economy" or they are socialist effects. The market economoy method would be to increase the mileage and tax on gas-guzzlers (i.e. make 20MPG a gas-guzzler), and increase the tax on fuel at the pump. Let demand drive the desire for more fuel effecient cars.

* 160days/365days/year * 15,000 miles per year / 30 Miles per gallon * $.08/gallon =~ $13.
PS. If my math is wrong, please correct me. I'm not perfect, but I try to be accurate.

By Polynikes on 8/26/2008 12:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Gotta say, that Cruze looks 1000x better than the Cobalt or any Cavalier ever did.

RE: Wow...
By andrinoaa on 8/27/2008 6:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
After seeing the T-Rex and APTERA, these cars look so yesterday! Where is the innovation? I am waiting to change my name to George Jetson! lol

Too much for nothing
By japlha on 8/27/2008 2:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why are cars built with the capability of speeds of 200 km/h or more when the maximum speed limit I've seen is 120 km/h? (I'm in Canada)
I'd be willing to purchase a cheaper, less powerful vehical that can only do 120 km/h if it's more fuel efficient and has acceptable acceleration.
Could engineers produce more efficient vehicals if they only had to make it go 120km/h maximum?
Does anyone actually drive at 200km/h or more everyday (autobahn excluded)?

RE: Too much for nothing
By Spuke on 8/27/2008 2:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Why are cars built with the capability of speeds of 200 km/h or more when the maximum speed limit I've seen is 120 km/h?
Drag has more to do with top speed than hp although it does play a good part. You will more than likely see higher top speeds as cars get better aerodynamics in order to meet stringent fuel efficiency requirements. It's already happening.

It doesn't take much hp, maybe 50 hp with decent aero, to reach 120 km/h. Now, in order to get decent acceleration to that speed, it takes much more than 50 hp to do it.

By BB33 on 8/26/2008 12:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
The pressure on Dodge, Ford and GM to step ut thier game if you will, will produce quick and substantial quality gains IMO.

Nothing new but very late
By pojs on 8/27/2008 9:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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