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.