2013: The Last Year of the V6 Engine?

2013: The Last Year of the V6 Engine?

With the V8 engine is losing its foothold, it seems like the V6 engine may suffer the same fate.

Don’t act too surprised, this move has been hinted at since 2010, when the newly designed Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima went on sale.

“Those cars really showed that a turbo 4-cylinder can put out power,” says Devin Lindsay, powertrain analyst at IHS.

Back then, it was revealed that there won’t be a single V6 engine available in the two Korean mid-size sedans. It was an unbelievable decision in the face of the competition from Honda, Ford, Toyota and GM, who were all boasting six-cylinder engines and smooth delivery of over 200 horsepower.

But Kia and Hyundai had what the drivers wanted with little compromise. The Optima and Sonata jumped to the top of the totem-pole in terms of fuel-economy and power. The upgrade in power comes from the addition of direct injection and turbocharging, which optimizes an engine’s use of fuel. Combine that new technology with the lower weight of the Optima and Sonata (possible because the chassis doesn’t need to hold a heavier V6), and the fuel advantages of four-cylinders became a success over the power of a V6.

“It’s a good combination: vehicles are getting lighter, so they don’t need the V6 anymore to give you that performance feel,” says Lindsay


With Hyundai and Kia leading the trend, new vehicles in the mid-sized sedan market are leaving the V6 at home, reserving them for performance vehicles and big SUVs. The 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and 2014 Mazda6 are all vehicles that had V6 options in the past, which are no-longer available.

The most powerful (and thirstiest) is the 2013 Ford Fusion, which uses a turbocharged 2.0L engine which puts out 240 hp and 270 lbs-ft of torque. Compared to the last generation 3.0L V6 Fusion, it makes the same power, 47 more lb-ft of torque and gets at least 5 miles per gallon more than the old V6 model. Even the new Chevrolet Malibu gets 4 mpg over the V6 model from past generations.

Just like how V8s are being phased out, V6s are being saved for unique cases. “We’re seeing a continuation of the same story,” Lindsay admits. Similar to how V8s were saved for high-performance machines and super-smooth luxury cars, V6s are only being used in bigger cars and trucks, like full-size sedans, seven-passenger crossovers and SUVs.

For those who want more power, turbochargers are providing the extra kick of acceleration in the Fusion and Malibu, without greatly affecting fuel economy numbers. Mazda is also offering a high-revving diesel option for those looking for more torque. Want the extra power and fuel economy? Hybrid options are available from Kia, Hyundai, Ford and Chevy. All without a fuel-hungry V6.


The midsize-sedan isn’t the only vehicle breaking up with the V6. Compact and mid-sized crossovers are axing V6 options en masse. The Honda CR-V has managed to stay successful for over 10 years without having a V6 model, and just now the competition is taking notice. For 2013 the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 are only available with four-cylinder engines.

What’s with the four-cylinder domination? It comes to the priorities of the buyers. Mid-size sedans and compact crossovers aren’t made to go fast. Those types of cars are designed to move groups of people, families around, comfortably and affordably.

“RAV4 or CR-V isn’t going off road often, so we’re seeing them being used more appropriately,” Lindsay says about the engine options.

Previous generation crossovers boasted their ability to tow and go off-roading, elements that really needed a V6 to be top-notch. But now with the focus on fuel-economy, automakers have decided to downsize those features, and in the process ditch the V6.

Towing capability in particular is a big loss for the smaller SUV market. “For something smaller -a jet ski, for example- a four cylinder should be fine,” assures Lindsay. Turbo engines such as the 2.0L EcoBoost in the Ford Escape can function well too, but for bigger trailers, there’s no comparison to the V6s of old.

Overall, the loss of the V6 is helping new car owners experience a more fuel-friendly driving experience. For those who still want the power of a V6, the turbo-4 engines out there provide the same performance and better fuel economy. The replacement of the V6 in the crossover is the biggest surprise, but also the biggest benefit. In the all-wheel drive 2013 Ford Escape, the inline 4 equipped models get an increase of 5 miles per gallon over the old V6 in combined driving conditions. That can lead to gas savings in the hundreds of dollars a year, a great advantage to drivers who don’t need the extra towing power of the V6.


If there’s one concern about the new widespread use of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, it’s whether they can stay reliable. Mid-sized sedans and crossovers are perfect for the family and can’t be wasting time at the mechanics. Is the four-cylinder turbo a reliable option?

“In some cases that’s yet to be seen,” says Lindsay. “But Ford’s EcoBoost engines have been taken through a bunch of tests. They showed us the engine wear at 100,000 miles and it wasn’t dramatic at all.”

Lindsay was convinced that the reliability of these kinds of engines is not as worrisome as they used to be.

“Before we used to be nervous at 100,000 miles. Now it doesn’t seem to be as bad,” he says. “Technology has brought us a long way, reliability is a lot better thanks to newer materials.”


So what does the future hold for the V6 engine? Not much, it would seem, especially as automakers look to expand swapping six-cylinder engines for 4-cylinder units, in vehicles outside the norm.

For starters, Ford is already embracing the small displacement philosophy with a turbocharged four-cylinder making its way into the full-size Taurus sedan. By using the same 2.0L EcoBoost engine that’s found in the Fusion and Escape, the Taurus can still move with the best of them thanks to 240 hp on tap. Additionally, the Taurus gets a nice boost in fuel economy, netting 26 mpg combined, including 32 mpg on the highway.

Ford’s emphasis on combining fuel economy with power is fueling a slew of rumors that point to the next generation Mustang getting an EcoBoost engine. Could the economical and affordable V6 model get an even more wallet-friendly EcoBoost four-cylinder? Most likely.

It’s clear that the four-cylinder engine knows no boundaries. Is a four-cylinder half-ton pickup truck next?

  • http://dbcooper.livejournal.com P.F. Bruns

    Graham Chapman would be shedding a tear of joy right now.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W2UWN2Z6J5DEJDDCLEQBSI5CY4 Mark

    I have over 140,000 miles on my 2.0 Ford turbo engine. Doesn’t even need oil between 12000 mile services. Regularly drive 130mph+ on the Autobahn. I guess it’s holding up well.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked