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: 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.