We should bring in some 3-cylinder cars again

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1,707
Location
Ohio, USA
With direct-injection, turbocharging and all of the technology going around these days, a company can easily create a 3-cylinder engine with 115 HP and 50 MPG. What do you all think? Please, do not mention anything about a Geo Metro. I'm talking about a decent good looking Subcompact with enough power for everyday driving.
 
Messages
2,220
Location
Indiana
I would never buy one but it is certainly technologically feasible. Look at the motorcycle market. Heck, my 1983 Honda Interceptor made 100hp/L from a very innovative naturally aspirated 750cc water cooled V-4. I always wondered why Honda never took this very compact and powerful package into a four wheeler. My 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 puts out 116.5/HP/L, so why not? Do you think Americans will actually buy dinksters like this?
 
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Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
I would buy it in a small car.. such as the mazda 2 or ford fiesta. Esp if they actually make the gas mileage IMPRESSIVE and maintain at least 100hp and peppy.. IE 50+ mpg highway.
 
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701
Location
Northern IL
Why not just put small diesel engines in all cars...more power and greater fuel economy, look at the TDI jetta. They also outlast a gas engine if maintained properly
 
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16,271
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
I liked my Justy and Suzuki version of the Metro before GM ruined it. I dont think with the current emissions stds they can tune the engine lean with stratified charge like they did in the 80's unless there is a recent development of cost effective oxide of nitrogen aftertreatment. If you want super good fuel mileage the car wont make 100HP unless they can set up VVTi with an eco or power choice switch. Look at the Smart and its ho hum mileage for size and weight and power. I think we are at an impassable 2500lbs for a car to meet federal crash stds. My old subaru Justy weighed 1800lbs IIRC. that extra 700 lb weight kills town fuel mileage.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
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12,849
Location
UT
I'd never have such a complicated engine when "old school" engines get mid 40s on the highway and are MUCH simpler to work on. If people really were worried about MPG then they/we need to drive 55 mph. My vehicle will nail high 40's to 51mpg at that speed. On regular gas using normal oils and easy to work on. No DI this, boost that or such. Pass on a 3 cyl for this kid. Bill PS: If we could get some common sense out of the east coast with normal regs to get simple diesel engines getting way over 50 mpg. Pipe dream I know. I'd not buy a current diesel engine due to the regs.
 
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3,858
Location
Cape Cod, MA
I have nothing against micro-cars in theory, but I have 2 reservations in practice: 1. What do I do when a Ford Excursion slams into me because the moron was texting? Buh-bye me... 2. If they weren't so horrifically ugly in general, that would be a plus. Apparently the same people who design video games also design small cars...
 
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16,271
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
Some physics: If the Excursion hit you in the drivers door of your Marauder yould be "bye-bye" as he drove through your side door of your well-planted, 2-ton car. Now, if the Excursion hit a micro car in the door, it would most likely be punted out of the way. Or in a more unfortunate happenstance: off the overpass and into the path of a 100MPH ACELA bullet train smile
 
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Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
If people really were worried about MPG then they/we need to drive 55 mph. My vehicle will nail high 40's to 51mpg at that speed. On regular gas using normal oils and easy to work on. No DI this, boost that or such.
This expresses things perfectly. While the speed limit is 65 mph or higher in some areas, cars will get their best fuel economy at slower speeds. Our cars can both break 40 mpg without trying at 55-60 mph. Raise that to 75, and the Fit is lucky to see 34 mpg. The Cruze does about 38 mpg at 75 thanks to having better aerodynamics. It's a tradeoff between going faster and using less fuel. I'd rather save $10 in gas and arrive a half-hour later compared to risking a crash/ticket to spend more on gas. 30 minutes of my time now is an acceptable tradeoff to save $10 in gas now, and potentially hours/$$$$ later dealing with an accident.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,293
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
PS: If we could get some common sense out of the east coast with normal regs to get simple diesel engines getting way over 50 mpg. Pipe dream I know. I'd not buy a current diesel engine due to the regs.
I think it's realy CA that drives this... Somehow a 50 MPG diesel is a "gross polluter" but an 8 MPG vehice can be a "partial zero emissions" vehicle.
 

JOD

Messages
3,577
Location
PNW/WA
Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
No DI this, boost that or such. Pass on a 3 cyl for this kid.
I'm with you on DI, but turbos? This is 100 year old technology that's been used in practice for 30 years. There are turbo Volvo's out with enough miles on them to demonstrate that boosted engines can be both reliable and durable. Bill
Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
PS: If we could get some common sense out of the east coast with normal regs to get simple diesel engines getting way over 50 mpg. Pipe dream I know. I'd not buy a current diesel engine due to the regs.
Government regulations are increasingly not the issues with getting diesels into the US. The issue is cost to manufacture the engines, fears about diesel's marketability, and concerns about the the fuel infrastructure for diesel. The new Fiesta supposedly meets US regs without even trying, but Ford won't bring it in because of fears that it won't sell, not because it can't meet the enviro-standards. Here are Ford's thoughts on their diesel: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_37/b4099060491065.htm
 
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3,941
Location
Ohio
If we all drove around in 3-cylinder cars we'd lower the amount of cabrón emissions, and can claim cabrón credit for it.
 
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5,941
Location
Arlington
I know you said, "Do not mention anything about a Geo Metro..." but I think this is applicable. In the mid-'80s, Suzuki built a turbocharged 3 cylinder. The US got it in the Sprint Turbo. Canadians continued to be able to get it in the Pontiac Firefly. I mention it only because it was able to achieve similar horsepower and torque numbers to Ford's n/a carbureted 2.3 Lima, early carbureted 2.2 Chryslers, and GM's 2.0 OHV and 2.5 Tech IV. It was pretty low tech. It had things like a gundrilled camshaft but it was still just a two-valve head and was using '80s "land of the lag" turbocharger technology. If GM could put a 2.5 in a car the size of a Lumina, I wonder if the 1.0 turbo could have powered that car? It was only about 10 hp and ft-lbs less than the "Low-TechIV" at similar rpms and weighed considerably less than the cast-iron four. Of course they would have had to engineer a transmission for the little 'Zook with proper durability and ratios. The little 3cyl was undoubtedly more expensive to produce than the 2.5 was (GM was only paying about $600 to produce the 2.5. Materials, casting, machining, manpower....all about $600.) So it wasn't financially feasible. I understand that. And fuel was still real cheap so there wouldn't have been any reason to. It's just a question of, "What if?...where would we be today?" IIRC, the early Luminas had a really low CD. Very aerodynamic. A six passenger car getting 45+ mpg freeway? shrug maybe....
 
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19,479
Location
Chicago Area
Yes, we need lighter vehicles. But they are getting larger and heavier! Too bad the extra weight is useless foo foo crud. Old VW rabbits and scirrocos were around 2,000 lbs or less. Now, a GTI is 3,200-3400 lbs!
 
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5,941
Location
Arlington
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Originally Posted By: Spazdog
IIRC, the early Luminas had a really low CD. Very aerodynamic. A six passenger car getting 45+ mpg freeway? shrug maybe....
I had to look it up. Lumina APV (pictured http://chrisoncars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/lumina.jpg ) was specified at .30 cd - quite excellent.
Ahh the plastic dustbuster Lumina van! I was thinking about the Lumina sedan. Couldn't find the drag coefficient of the early Lumina specifically but other W-bodies like the Cutlass and Grand Prix were .29. Not too bad compared to a current Prius with .25
 
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10,195
Location
OH
I'm beginning to think the powers that are in this country (whoever they may be) don't want high mileage vehicles, or we'd have them by now. If you think about how much revenues are generated, not only to all the companies and businesses involved with the production, delivery, and sale of fossil fuels, but also the tax revenues generated, and then think about how vehicles that achieve much higher fuel economy numbers would effect those revenues. That would a be A LOT of revenues lost due to higher fuel efficiency.
 
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