America cho-cho-chooses the four-cylinder engine as its preferred means of locomotion. In fact, the four banger has been the favored choice since taking the lead over six-cylinder engines a few years back. The four-versus-six debate was neck in neck back in 2005, when six-cylinder engines accounted for 43 percent of the market. Now, it's the four pots that own 43 percent of the market.

There's no mystery behind the shift in consumer buying patterns. Fuel prices are higher, four cylinder engines keep getting better and the economy continues to remain flat.

It's also no surprise that a the eight cylinder engine has also fallen out of favor with new car shoppers. In 2005, a V8 could be found powering one in three new vehicles. Today, that powerplant has fallen to powering one in six. Time, as they say, marches on...


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  • 116 Comments
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      And if gas prices plummet again, we'll go right back to driving giant SUVs. We have a short collective memory.
      G37S
      • 3 Years Ago
      @Leather Bear I agree with the slow car fast,fast car slow. I owned the most car enthusiast non-car,a 2002 Saturn Sl1 w/4spd auto and AC. But man was that car fun to drive,it did not have ABS,traction control,or any other item to slow or help me out of a sticky situation. I was actually more cognizant of my speed and car control. I am lucky enough to periodically drive an '08 Infiniti G37S coupe. While it is a very nice car,for the most part it is driven as if it is a 4cyl family sedan.
      oRenj9
      • 3 Years Ago
      The newer generation that has grown up on four cylinders is finally buying more cars. My mother is in her fifties and always swore that she would never buy a four cylinder because they were, "too dangerous to drive; they can't get out of their own way." This a coming from a woman that drives (a Buick) like a grandma (she almost is one). One day, while her car was in the shop, I lent her my WRX. She was absolutely blown away by the torque it produced. She refused to believe that she was driving a four cylinder powered car that felt faster than her old (97) T/A. Now she is pretty much hooked on the idea of a turbo Outback as her next car. I think this illustrates a cultural shift that has been slow to take route in the US. Older people have difficulty forgetting the 87hp slugs they drove in high school. And, since they are the majority fo the car buyers in the U.S., we had to wait for them to be forced to give small-displacement cars another shot.
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @oRenj9
        Your grandma drives stick?
        AcidTonic
        • 3 Years Ago
        @oRenj9
        Well written. As an Evo owner who finally jumped the Domestic ship, I too think the 4 cylinders need a break today in 2011. My Evo simply lays waste to my old Mustangs. Hell even my 32 valve Cobra would be behind my Evo 2.0 4cylinder in a drag race. I mean, 400 horsepower at the wheels is bolt on territory for the Evo. And that's with AWD which is awesome in the rain/snow, and easily better fuel economy. It's 2011, wake up, we've pushed 4 cylinders over 1200 horsepower from little 2.0 liters. The latest Rally cars are around 650hp from their small 4cylinders. You don't need a V8 to make 500 horsepower. Even better is without boost, you only have a 2.0 liter on the highway for mileage. I too thought only V8s were quick, but it's smarter to have a small motor than can add horsepower when needed, than a big motor that can't shed horsepower when needed to get decent mileage.
      pault850
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can we not pretend this has anything to do with people's options. Most dealers put people in a car, with little regard to the persons wants and needs. Sadly this was how I was trained at a car dealer and got fired for being too honest and trying to get them in a cheaper car I felt she could afford. People are getting what the sales men can sell to them, not what they actually want.
      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      Somewhere... [chants] DIESEL! DIESEL! DIESEL! (the clean kind of course)
      Carlos Cruz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Add turbo to an i4 and I think we've got a winner!
      diffrunt
      • 3 Years Ago
      On my 3rd GM 2.4 vehicle,for a total of 80 k miles, love that mill !
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @diffrunt
        On my first honda d series, for a total of 293,000 miles. Still gets 43mpg.
          Turbo 4
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          The Honda D series motor is the most bullet proof motor ever!
          DrEvil
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          Where's the proof? the 293K and the 43 mpg. Please post me a snapshot of your odometer.
          cashsixeight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          DrEvil: http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=4270 No pics of the odometer. Leaks a bit of oil, I have to add a quart every month or two. No big deal. Got the car for $800. :)
      Dennis Baskov
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still personally prefer V6/V8 engines over I4, but that may change once I grow further more or go broke for paying premium on my V6 3000gt lol. It's not surpise I4 are so popular, they are practical and fuel efficient, but they will still lack the sound and power bigger engines have.
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dennis Baskov
        Go to an autocross and watch a full race prep civic destroy basically anything that shows up, then come back to me.
          cashsixeight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          Minis are fat and heavy and have macpherson suspension, not double wishbone like older hondas. Bleh.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          [blocked]
          Dennis Baskov
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          I'm talking about raw engine power. Find me an I4 that can produce 300/330/350 raw hp and then I might reconsider.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          go to the same event and see a MINI destroy everyone else, including the occasional race-prepped civic because of the torque the s/c or turbo puts out and the chassis - love force-fed I4s, especially German-made ones like the VW 2.0T or the Peugeot/BMW 1.6T...
      BG
      • 3 Years Ago
      The new inline 4s are amazing, but most aren't as smooth and quiet as an inline 6 or V12. Unfortunately, I have read rumors that BMW has gone over to the lowest denominator side and will be making V6s. Clearly they must be thinking of stuffing their new V6s into some FWD thing transverse-mounted or some body with a short hood.
        oRenj9
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BG
        Try driving a four cylinder Subaru some time. They produce nearly zero vibration, even when running at 6,500 RPMs.
      stevemartinuk
      • 3 Years Ago
      America cho-cho-chooses the four-cylinder engine as its preferred means of locomotion. In fact, the four banger has been the favored choice since taking the lead over six-cylinder engines a few years back. The four-versus-six debate was neck in neck back in 2005, when six-cylinder engines accounted for 43 percent of the market. Now, it's the four pots that own 43 percent of the market.visit http://www.masterflights.co.uk/
      Christopher
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great Simpsons reference ;)
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        You know, there is a middle ground between a Corolla and something with a Corvette-sized engine.
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          An "enthusiast of your caliber"? Give me a break. A real enthusiast knows that you can get a fun car with any number of cylinders, and some extremely exciting and interesting cars came equipped with a four. Delta Integrale, E30 M3, Lotus Elise to name three off the top of my head. As for your ridiculous comment about people satisfied with 8-10 second 0-60, that's just what mainstream cars do, and what they've done for decades. That they're doing it with smaller power plants is a good thing.
          montoym
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          The 4cyl in my car is plenty quick for me and does 0-60 much more quickly than 8,9, or 10sec. The 4cyl of today are worlds better than what we all had even 5-10yrs ago. When you are getting 6cyl power(and performance) out of a 4cyl package nowadays, I don't see what the problem is. It wasn't all that long ago that the V6 in most mid-size cars was pushing out 200-220hp, now the base 4cyl engines in those same cars are pushing the same figures. With the V6's pushing out figures that the V8's provided not long ago and the V8's giving us power that we'd have had to buy a 12cyl exotic for in the mid 90's. I realy fail to see what the complaints are all about.
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          RunYouOver, several turbo 4's can propel their cars to 0-60 in less than 7 secs. E.G., Chevy Cobalt SS, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Reliant, VW GTI/ Golf R
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        I kicked a mustang SVT's ass with my $1600 STOCK honda prelude on the track. Just sayin'. :P
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          [blocked]
          cashsixeight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          I did, in Shawano WI. Last April. It's an extremely twisty track. Stock SVT Mustang. Stock 89 Prelude with sticky tires. I could corner harder and faster than he could. Hence faster lap times.
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