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Consumer Reports has taken aim at at small-displacement, forced-induction engines, saying the powerplants don't manage to deliver on automaker fuel economy claims. Manufacturers have long held that smaller, turbocharged engines pack all power of their larger displacement cousins with significantly better fuel economy, but the research organization says that despite scoring high EPA economy numbers, the engines are no better than conventional drivetrains in both categories. Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, says the forced induction options "are often slower and less fuel efficient than larger four and six-cylinder engines."
Specifically, CR calls out the new Ford Fusion equipped with the automaker's Ecoboost 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The institute's researchers found the engine, which is a $795 option over the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder, fails to match competitors in acceleration and served up 25 miles per gallon in testing, putting the sedan dead last among other midsize options.
The Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Sonata Turbo and Ford Escape 2.0T all got dinged for the same troubles, though Consumer Reports has found the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the BMW 328i does deliver on its promises. You can check out the full press release below. You can also read the full study on the Consumer Reports site, or scroll down for a short video recap.
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, having stared at the Impala across the showroom floor for a year, gets nips and tucks all over inspired by its larger brother. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the base car will get a stop-start system and 23 city miles per gallon, 35 highway, each number representing a one-mpg improvement over the 2013 car. Output is 196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.
Opt for the 2.0-liter turbo and, while power holds steady at 259 hp, torque goes up by 14 percent to a striking 295 lb-ft (a figure Chevy calls best in the class). The final details include newly programmed transmission shift points and faster shifts, for better engaging and enjoying the added power.
Looks-wise, the grille's been reshaped to be more in line with the new Chevrolet look, a narrower upper grille hovering over a larger lower grille.
The last time General Motors had a diesel passenger car in the US, it was the 1.8-liter 1986 Chevette. At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show today, GM is unveiling the much-anticipated 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. The compact bows with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that boasts 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, with full twist coming on at just 2,000 rpm. What's more, the common-rail, direct-injection diesel features an overboost function that allows the engine to deliver up to 280 lb-ft of torque for 10 seconds at a time. Even with 10 more horsepower and 110 more pound-feet of torque than the available turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder in the Cruze, the 2.0-liter diesel engine can return up to 42 mpg (highway) bolted to its six-speed automatic transmission.
If you're counting, that figure meets the less powerful Cruze Eco with a six-speed manual transmission. More importantly, the auto transmission Cruze Diesel matches its main competition, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, in highway fuel economy. The Cruze 2.0 TD (as it will be badged) can also handle up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20), whereas the Jetta is rated only for B5. General Motors has not released city fuel economy for its newest diesel, but we do know how much it will cost you to jump behind the driver's seat.
GM will kindly ask for $25,695, plus an $810 destination fee. That marks a $2,115 premium over a loaded Cruze LTZ Auto and $2,640 more than the Jetta TDI, though the MSRP will net you a leather interior, 17-inch alloy wheels and an Aero Performance Package, as well as a two-year maintenance plan and five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Compared to the gas-powered Cruze, you also lose a couple cubic feet of rear cargo space thanks to a 17-liter diesel emission fluid tank. That urea fluid, which helps put the clean in clean diesel, will need to be refilled at least every 10,000 miles.