The automotive industry is downsizing when it comes to engine displacement.
It’s amazing to think some engines today have less displacement than a soda bottle, and you might be surprised to hear just how many are used in today’s vehicles. With emissions regulations worldwide getting stricter, automakers are working hard on improving fuel efficiency while maintaining some level of adequate performance.
So next time someone tells you there’s no replacement for displacement, you might want to point them in this direction. There are plenty of engines under 1.6 liters of displacement that provide quite a punch, while others are admittedly lackluster. Here are the 10 smallest engines you can buy right now:
Smart 0.9L Turbocharged Three Cylinder
The Smart Fortwo is one of the smallest cars available today, measuring just 8.8 feet long and 5.5 feet wide. Needless to say, it doesn’t need much to get going. Under the hood is a minuscule 0.9-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine providing 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to take the subcompact to 60 mph from a standstill in 10.1 seconds. The Smart Fortwo isn’t going to be winning any drag races, but it does return 32 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway when equipped with a manual transmission.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Smart Fortwo Review
Ford 1.0L Three-Cylinder EcoBoost
It has been a couple of years since Ford introduced its first three-cylinder engine ever in the U.S. and now it can be found in various models across its lineup including the Focus and Fiesta. Sporting 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, fuel economy can further be improved with optional Auto Start Stop technology. Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and Auto Start Stop, the Ford Focus returns 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway thanks to its small 1.0-liter engine.
Mitsubishi 1.2L Three Cylinder
Found in the Mitsubishi Mirage, the 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine from the Japanese automaker helps the subcompact return 37 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Those are pretty much figures that rival some of today’s hybrid offerings, but there’s a significant price to pay when it comes to performance. The small engine provides a mere 74 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque and it’s just as bad as it sounds.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 1.4L MultiAir Turbo Four Cylinder
Used in various Fiat models including the 500, FCA offers a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 135 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. When squeezed into a compact car like the 500, it actually provides ample performance for a fun driving experience. Fuel economy comes in at a respectable 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Fiat 500 Review
General Motors 1.4L Four-Cylinder Turbo Ecotec
GM brought out a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec engine for the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze. The powerplant is rated at 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque and is capable of returning a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with an available six-speed automatic transmission.
General Motors 1.4L Four-Cylinder Naturally Aspirated Ecotec
Then there’s a naturally aspirated version of the 1.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec engine found in the Chevrolet Spark. When paired with an available CVT, the powerplant returns 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway in the Spark, but it does only provide 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque.
Volkswagen 1.4L Turbocharged Four Cylinder
Late last year, Volkswagen introduced the EA211 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in its popular Jetta. Producing 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the engine returns 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway in the four-door Jetta.
MINI 1.5L Turbocharged Three Cylinder
Named one of WardsAuto‘s 10 best engines of 2015, the MINI 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder mill borrows BMW’s TwinPower Turbo Technology. With 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, the MINI Cooper comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission but can also be had with a six-speed automatic. The coupe model gets 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway when using the manual transmission, while the auto returns 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Honda 1.5L Turbocharged Four Cylinder
It might feel like Honda took forever to give its Civic a turbocharged engine straight from the factory, but it is finally here. The new 2016 Honda Civic has won many fans over and we even named it AutoGuide.com‘s Car of the Year. The turbocharged 1.5-liter mill generates 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and when paired with a CVT it returns 31 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Thankfully, Honda has recently confirmed that it will offer the turbocharged engine with a manual transmission, but we will have to wait for official fuel economy figures.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Review
Toyota 1.5L Naturally Aspirated Four Cylinder
Found in the Toyota Yaris, the 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine generates 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, showing just how much benefit a turbocharger provides to a small-displacement engine. But we’re going to guess if you’re shopping for a Yaris, chances are, you’re not looking for something that’s fun-to-drive. It does however return 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, so there’s that.