Not too long ago, four-cylinder engines in most North American market vehicles were seen as an afterthought, something to give the rental fleets and entry-level buyers.
Today however, that perception appears to have changed, certainly among volume brands like Chevrolet. So far this year, GM has reported that four-cylinder powered vehicles are representing approximately 46 percent of total Chevy retail sales, contrasting with just 23 percent in 2007. Higher fuel prices and environmental ‘awareness’ likely play a part, but so does technology.
Today’s four-cylinder engines are much more refined and powerful, to the point that the old adage ‘there’s no replacement for displacement’ doesn’t really apply any more.
GM has spent a huge amount of R&D and engineering on improving its four-cylinder engines, via such technologies as direct injection and turbocharging and according to Rick Scheidt, US Chevrolet Vice President this has resulted in “performance and refinement drivers expect from Chevy in smaller engines that deliver the fuel efficiency they want.”
Efforts toward meeting stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards is also likely a major reason why four-cylinder engines are becoming more popular in the US.
[Source: egm Car Tech]