Consumer Reports Scrutinizes Small Turbo Engine Results

PR Newswire - February 5, 2013

Small tur­bocharged engines, mar­ket­ed as deliv­er­ing the pow­er of a large engine with the fuel econ­o­my of a small­er one, but Con­sumer Reports tests find they often fall short of expec­ta­tions.

Find out which automak­er mod­els are includ­ed in the report.

Con­sumer Reports tests many cars with small, tur­bocharged engines, and lots of com­peti­tors with tra­di­tion­al, nat­u­ral­ly aspi­rat­ed engines, big and small. Based on the EPA fuel-econ­o­my esti­mates, which are cal­cu­lat­ed based on lab­o­ra­to­ry tests, some of these cars’ tur­bocharged engines look bet­ter. But CR’s engi­neers found those results don’t always trans­late to the real world dri­ving and in Con­sumer Reports’ own fuel econ­o­my tests.

The lat­est exam­ple of under-per­form­ing small tur­bocharged engines is the col­lec­tion of 2013 Ford Fusions with Eco­Boost engines – small, tur­bocharged four-cylin­ders with direct injec­tion — which were recent­ly test­ed by Con­sumer Reports. The small­er engine – a 1.6-liter pro­duc­ing 173 hp – is a $795 option over the basic con­ven­tion­al 2.5-liter Four on Fusion SE mod­els. But that car’s 0–60 mph accel­er­a­tion time trails com­pet­i­tive fam­i­ly sedans, and it deliv­ers just 25 mpg, plac­ing it among the worst of the crop of recent­ly-redesigned fam­i­ly sedans.

The most direct com­par­i­son among the vehi­cles Con­sumer Reports has test­ed is the Chevro­let Cruze. CR test­ed both a Cruze with the base 1.8-liter con­ven­tion­al four-cylin­der, and one with the small­er 1.4-liter tur­bocharged Four. While the 1.4-liter feels mar­gin­al­ly more pow­er­ful in dai­ly dri­ving, it was bare­ly faster to 60 mph, and got the same fuel econ­o­my as the larg­er engine.

The Hyundai Sonata Tur­bo, Kia Sportage Tur­bo, and Ford Escape 2.0T are exam­ples of cars with tur­bocharged four-cylin­der engines that are less fuel effi­cient than V6 mod­els in the same class, Con­sumer Reports found.

Con­sumer Reports has also found some tur­bocharged four-cylin­der mod­els that do deliv­er good fuel econ­o­my and accel­er­a­tion: BMW’s new 2.0-liter tur­bocharged four gets 28 mpg in the new 328i Sedan and deliv­ered improved mileage in the 2012 X3 SUV by one mpg, with essen­tial­ly iden­ti­cal pow­er and accel­er­a­tion.



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