Manufacturers are preparing for
upcoming CAFE changes which will require corporate fleets to average
34.1 mpg by 2016. As a result, a number of auto manufactures are
turning to direct injection, turbocharging, hybrid
technology, and full
electrics to boost their fleet fuel economy.
General Motors is taking a big step,
according to GM
Inside News, to improve the fuel economy of its bread and
butter midsize sedans. The next generation Chevrolet Malibu (due out
as a 2012 model) will reportedly only be available with four-cylinder
The current generation Malibu is
available with a four-cylinder base engine and an optional
six-cylinder engine like most other midsize sedans on the market.
It's likely, however, that the next Malibu will use two new
four-cylinder engines featuring direct injection technology -- the base
engine will be normally aspirated while the uprated motor will be
GM already uses this approach with the
new 2011 Buick Regal. The base Regal is available with a 2.4-liter
four-cylinder engine producing 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. An
optional 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine producing 220 hp and
258 lb-ft of torque will be made available later in the model year.
An even more potent Regal GS will come later next year with an
uprated turbo four producing 250+ hp.
Another manufacturer that is going
four-cylinder-only is Hyundai (along with its accompanying Kia
brand). The 2010 Sonata is currently only available with a 2.4-liter
four-cylinder engine (24/35 mpg). The 2011 Sonata will be available
with a 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder which outpowers and outgrunts
the optional V6s in other midsize sedans while delivering 22 mpg in the
city and 34 mpg on the highway. Both powertrains will also make their
way into the upcoming 2011 Kia Optima.
Toyota's Camry and Honda's Accord are
both due for complete redesigns within the next two years, so it
would be interesting to see if they too go for a top to bottom
four-cylinder engine lineup.
quote: As for the Mazda 6. It's another failure for Mazda in the U.S. midsize market (just like the previous generation Mazda 6). The Sonata has been killing it in sales and the was actually the number 10 selling vehicle (car or truck) in July.
quote: Mazda had a relatively clean design with the first generation Mazda3 and Mazda5 and then went psycho with the huge "Joker grin" on the '10 Mazda3 and '11 Mazda5 -- not to mention they downsized the Nav screen on the 3 -- WTF? The "new" Nagare design language was so poorly received that Mazda has already ditched it:
quote: Hell, Hyundai's are rated far better than Mazdas in reliability, although I haven't had any issues with my 3s other than a parking brake handle that became loose (was fixed under warranty).
quote: The previous generation Mazda6 was too small for the midsize market, so Mazda overcompensated by making the new one much larger and threw in a big 3.7-liter V6 as an optional engine. That's turning out to be a mistake as well for them as they still haven't seen a ROI.
quote: That being said, I'm eyeing the Kia Optima SX myself to replace my 3s. 274 hp, 34 mpg, HIDs, heated seats (front/rear), cooled seats (front), panoramic roof, GPS, Infinity sound system, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, push button start, backup camera, memory seats, etc. for less tan $30k? Sign me up! ;)
quote: Subjectively speaking, that big ass grille on the Sonata isn't pretty either. Come to think of it, all styling is downhill.And that person who designed Nagare left on his own free will to Renault; saying Mazda ditched it isn't accurate one bit.
quote: Far better? Try almost the same.
quote: How is this a mistake by giving what people American's want? They have the Europe version which is smaller and what people didn't want here.The V6 is just Ford's anyhow, it isn't like they wasted money there either. Most have 3.5l V6s in this class, how is it big?
quote: If you're buying Japanese, you'd be crazy to get anything other than a Toyota or Honda.
quote: I think Hyundai's have shown remarkable improvement,
quote: I guess the Sonata makes sense if you don't need or want AWD,
quote: There's always room for huge improvments when you're at or near the bottom.
quote: getting 34+ mpg on the highway at 65 mph:
quote: The Sonata has been killing it in sales
quote: You are basing your aversion of Mazda on 2 examples of anecdotal evidence?
quote: In fact, Mazda is avoiding turbos on their upcoming sky gasoline engines and will rely on HCCI, or using normal gas without spark plugs.
quote: 155HP and 150lbft of torque isn't bad either.
quote: The upcoming 2.2 liter diesel engine for the Mazda6 has 173HP, but more torque, at 310lbft. Gets 31-33city and 43 highway. Uses the small/large turbo approach to work better than the variable geometry.
quote: It's coming to the US for the poster above me.
quote: Still skeptical? I'm sure for good reason.
quote: Except for Ford's school bus diesels in the F250 and up.
quote: Doesn't mean they aren't good engines. Just loud.
quote: I am kind of curious as to how they are going to achieve the gas mileage CAFE standards. Just using my 2006 Mitsu Lancer Ralliart
quote: This will probably be bad for sales. You might like the way it sounds, but a lot of people just won't want a four cylinder engine.
quote: Of course they won't have the off idle torque of a 3.5L+ V-6
quote: I don't know, people really like that new Sonata. Not to mention, when you tell people that this 4 cyl has their previous V6's power
quote: Making a Turbo 4 drive like an NA 6 is a serious challenge however.
quote: No matter what you do, GM hasn't made a smooth/good sounding 4-banger yet. Actually most 4-bangers sound like arse anyway.
quote: I guess I'm one of the few who still love the sound/feel of a smooth v6/v8 engine.
quote: To realize an auto giant like GM is following the footsteps of Hyundai... at least do it better, but in this case, they do it worse. How sad.
quote: GM also hasn't released new I4s or turbo I4s in the past few years while Hyundai just released new ones.
quote: I am genuinely baffled. Did you bother to read the blog?
quote: Plus, it never needs a spark plug change.
quote: You *obviously* missed my sarcasim. Diesels don't have spark plugs by design silly rabbit.
quote: How often do spark plugs get changed nowadays?
quote: It just cracks me up that seemingly all of a sudden American car makers are starting to wake up and smell the change.
quote: Even with a turbo, it won't be like driving a 6, and considering how poorly the vast majority of America drives, you really need the sudden power a good sized 6 can provide for sh!t driver avoidance.
quote: It'd also make upping the horsepower far easier since then all you need is a boost controller.
quote: I'm sure tuning software exists out there. HPTuners is out there for LSx model engines.