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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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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.

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