New Car Technologies: Getting More From Less
Tougher fuel economy regulations and soaring gas prices are forcing American car manufacturers to think small. Instead of relying on big engines for big performance, Detroit automakers are increasingly focusing on how to squeeze more juice out of small engines.
Expecting More From Less
Increasingly, Americans want cars that are more affordable and fuel-efficient, while delivering the same performance as older vehicles, as PE.com reveals. Many of the performance gains are being enabled by new technologies like “direct injection” engines. With usual fuel-injection systems, fuel is mixed with air before it is injected into the combustion chamber. In direct-injection technology, as DigitalTrends.com explains, precisely calculated amounts of fuel are sprayed directly into the combustion chamber, thereby improving fuel efficiency. Variable valve timing and lift (VVT&L) is another technology that has contributed to more fuel-efficient engines. The technology optimizes the manner in which engine values control the flow of air and fuel into the combustion chamber. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, engines that use VVT&L technology are about 5 percent more fuel efficient than conventional engines and yield an estimated $1,600 in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.
Numerous vehicles featuring these technologies are already available in the market, or are on their way. Some examples include the following:
The 2013 Nissan Altima
The latest edition of Nissan’s midsize sedan is a perfect example of the increased performance and fuel efficiency that automakers have begun squeezing out of engines these days, according to a Drivetime used car dealership in Pensacola. The car’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine generates 182-horsepower compared to the 175hp on the outgoing four-cylinder engine. It delivers 27 miles per gallon in city driving conditions and 38 mpg on the highway compared to 23 mpg and 32 mpg with the older engine. The car has a base price of around $20,000 and features technologies like variable valve timing and continuously variable transmission for optimal performance and fuel efficiency.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover HSE
With a turbocharged V6 engine, the 2014 Land Rover’s new Range Rover features a smaller engine than the 5.0-liters V8 in the 2013 model. However, because the vehicle’s new all-aluminum unibody makes it 800 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the new Range Rover still manages to deliver an impressive 340 horsepower compared to 375hp previously. Significantly, the 2014 edition has a rated fuel efficiency of 17mpg compared to 12mpg on the older model and yet manages to offer slightly more cabin space than the 2013 Range Rover. Prices start at $82,000 and go all the way up to $130,000, as MSN outlines.
2013 BMW 328i
BMW has all but phased out its muscular, naturally aspirated inline six-cylinder engines. The company has replaced the 3.0-liter engines with a smaller four-cylinder, twin-turbo engine across almost its entire product line. Even so, the German automaker has managed to extract better performance from the smaller engine. The 2013 BMW 328i is one example. The new model generates 240hp compared to the 230hp on the six-cylinder engine thanks to technologies like variable vale timing, direct fuel injection and turbo charging. Even though the 2013 version of the sports sedan is bigger and more luxurious than the outgoing model, MSN Autos claims that it still manages to deliver 23mpg city/33mpg highway compared to 18mpg city/28mpg highway previously.