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Buick Regal GS

The current generation Chevrolet Malibu is available with I4 and V6 engines

The 2011 Kia Optima SX (pictured above) like its Hyundai Sonata relative will only be available with four-cylinder engines
CAFE leads to engine downsizing for GM

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 engines.

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 turbocharged.

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.

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RE: Sounds almost too good to be true...
By acer905 on 8/31/2010 9:51:41 PM , Rating: -1
Well... one possible catch could be engine longevity. The i4's that I've seen run the engine fast, some hit 3500RPM @ 70MPH. That extra 1000 RPM over a V6 could rip up the engine pretty bad, especially if people punish them, which they will because of the possible horsepower.

RE: Sounds almost too good to be true...
By chromal on 8/31/2010 10:10:45 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not convinced that there's any longevity issue whatsoever with an I4 engine. My 98 Honda civic's 1.6l I4 made it to 210K miles before needing a replacement head gasket, and that was mostly likely because my daily commute home takes me from 5400ft elevation to 8700ft elevation up a 7% grade at highway speeds, and, I, well. Sort of beat it around. A bit... And I ran that gauntlet from 2006 (130K miles) to 2010 (210K miles) before needing to start thinking about the head gasket (it was still drivable even then).

I4s don't have to be high-rev. For example, look at Mazda's non-turbo'd 2.5l I4 in some versions of the 2010 mazda3, mazda6. With 167ft-lb of torque at only 3000 RPMs, its bore:stroke ratio is 'undersquare' it can tick along with relaxed 1750-2500 RPMs in most situations, but still pull from those speeds when you press the gas pedal. No clue what GM is planning with theirs, but I assume it will be an I4 or H4 (boxer) layout, depending upon the displacement.

See also: Ford Ecotek I4 2.0l turbocharged engines. Basically, there's an amazing variety of ways to handle four cylinders, no 4-cyl engine cliches hold up all the time with this diversity.

RE: Sounds almost too good to be true...
By acer905 on 8/31/2010 10:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
I also haven't known anyone with modern I4's having any issues. For a while i had an 06 Cobalt with the 2.2 I4. It wasn't an amazing engine, but it never had any problems. I actually plan on getting a Mazda sometime down the line since Pontiac was killed off.

By Spuke on 9/1/2010 12:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
Wait for the Cruze, it's a way better car than the Cobalt.

By YashBudini on 9/1/2010 12:05:02 AM , Rating: 1
As strange as it may seem either Honda or Toyota had a 4 cylinder who's longest lifespan under load occurred at redline. But I don't keep old issues of R&T and C&D around anymore for reference, I just got sick of the bullshit status that buyers thought they were obtaining and the fact that cars really are mere money pits.

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