We are certainly all familiar with hybrid vehicles as being top performers in the fight for fuel economy supremacy. But what other automobiles make the grade when it comes to sipping fuel in miserly amounts? Here is our list of Top 5 four-cylinder vehicles you should consider when the time comes to purchase your next vehicle.
2008 Suzuki SX4 Sedan: The newest model for Suzuki is a four-door sedan of compact dimensions with front-wheel-drive (FWD) traction and a four-cylinder engine displacing 2.0 liters and rigged with dual overhead cams. It develops 143 hp and ties to a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. SX4 packs class-leading standard features aboard, such as air conditioning, power controls for windows and door locks, four-wheel-disc brakes with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), curtain-style side air bags and 17-inch alloy wheels. The option sheet lists a nine-speaker audio kit upgrade and electronic stability program (ESP) skid controls.
2008 Hyundai Accent: Mellow Yellow is the latest paint chip for Hyundai’s subcompact cars, which segment as a four-door sedan and three-door coupe. Each features safety equipment including curtain-style air bags. Trim levels run from the sedan’s well-equipped GLS to the coupe’s GL and special edition SE stocking a sport shifter by B & M Racing. A new instrument cluster drops into GLS and SE, with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) now stock on every Accent. Power for all stems from Hyundai’s 1.6-liter four-in-line engine scored to 110 hp with a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.
2008 Mazda3: Compact cars from Mazda look muscular with the promise of spirited performance. And they bring optimal space in a five-seat cabin plus lively throttle action from a four-cylinder engine. Mazda3 4-Door skews as a four-door notchback sedan packing a 156-hp 2.3-liter engine. Mazda3 5-Door is a five-door hatchback also using the 2.3-liter plant. Standard equipment on Mazda3 5-door is a sport package with front and rear fascia, side skirts, 17-inch alloy wheels and foglamps. A tire pressure monitoring system is also standard on all Mazda3 models, as are side air bags plus curtain-style air curtains in Sport models.
2008 Saturn Astra: A new compact-class hatchback arrives in Saturn’s 2008 line-up and it appears in two configurations; a five-door version which functions like a sedan and a sporty three-door coupe. Astra’s standard powertrain is GM’s economical 1.8-liter Ecotec dual-cam four-in-line engine which makes 140 hp in concert with a standard five-speed manual or optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transaxle. There are two trim designations for the five-door Astra (XE and XR) and one trim (XR) for the three-door Astra. Six air bags including curtain-style side air bags are standard equipment across the board.
2008 Toyota Yaris: Small is good for Yaris, Toyota’s subcompacts split as a three-door hatchback and four-door notchback. The hatch, tall and stubby with an arching beltline, has surprising space inside with seats for five. Power for Yaris stems from an efficient 1.5-liter four-cylinder plant pumping 106 hp with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic. Fuel economy scores run high. Standard features include air conditioning and popular gear groups in packages, while stand-alone options range from alloy wheels to curtain-style air bags concealed in headliners. The new Sport Grade applies spoilers, Optitron gauges and leather wrapping the steering wheel.
The shift away from fuel-burning 8-cylinder engines is an ongoing challenge for the auto industry as a whole and specifically drivers in North America. With plans by many automakers to stretch the boundaries of what we think about small engines, the future for 4-cylinder powerplants looks bright.
Watch for turbocharging to sprint to the front as a “new” way to boost power and of course variable valve timing will continue to lead the charge. As fuel prices continue to rise, so does our demand for getting more with less. It promises to be exciting as the future of automotive travel continues to evolve to meet a changing world.