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2014 Ford Flex - Moving to a 4cy and CVT

I am currently in the market for a new car. The car I presently own has about 110,000 miles on it. As long as it usually takes me to make a decision on a new car, it will most likely have about 130,000 when I trade it. My question has to do with the decision as to what kind of car to buy. The vehicle I am leaning toward has a 4 cylinder 175 hp engine. I like this particular vehicle for several reasons, safety features, seat height, and fuel economy. My concerns are the smaller engine and the CV transmission. I have never owned a 4 cylinder car in the past and am concerned about the power and longevity of the engine. Will I be able to cruise comfortably and quietly at 75 mph? Will the engine last until it has 130,000 miles on it. I had these same concerns when I went from a V-8 to a 6 cylinder, but worried for no reason. Another concern I have is the CV transmission. From what I have read this transmission works very similarly to a snow mobile I had at one time. As the engine speeds up the v-belt groove of a pulley closes and allows the belt to move out further on the pulley changing the input to output shaft “gear ratio”. The snow mobile transmission gave me many problems, would the car be the same. Any information you can give me on these concerns would be appreciated. Thanks!

Not worth worrying about .

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I drive a 4 cylinder car with 117k on the odometer. It runs fine and has no trouble cruising at 70mph. It’s not a hotrod and I wouldn’t try pulling stumps with it but it has enough power for most situations. That said, I’m not a fan of CVT’s and Nissan CV transmissions have an especially bad rep if that’s the make you’re considering. Others disagree.

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I think brand matters. Many small 4-cylinder engines work great in the crossovers I test. Many CVTs are also smooth and work very well in the real world. Quality is another story. Which model are you considering?

I have friends with over 200K miles on their 4 cylinder cars. They run fine and neither puts out 175 hp. I raced a 122 hp 4 cylinder car for 5 seasons that would hit 118 mph top speed but give 40 mpg on the highway. I know a number of these cars that have exceeded 300K miles. I’ve had 3 turbo-charged 4 cylinders cars that all produced over 175 hp, 2 of which went 200K combined, all 3 of which would cruise all day at 75 mph. No worries about 4 cylinder cars.

I’d stay away from CVT’s in general but especially from Nissan. If your only choice is a CVT, make sure you change the fluid every 30K miles, religiously!

Spec Miata?

92 Saturn SC Coupe with the DOHC 1.9L 4 cylinder.

But a good guess!

It’s meaningless to talk about # of cylinders or HP without considering vehicle weight.
For me, a 175 hp engine would be adequate in a vehicle weighing 3500 lb or less.

I had an '88 Accord with 122 hp I sold at 220k miles to a friend.
Last time I saw it it had 280k, and the engine was the one thing not showing its age.

My 09 Focus is a 4 cylinder and is happily running just fine at 203k or 204k with minimal repairs needed beyond regular maintenance over the past 11 years (engine mounts, water outlet, fuel pump). My in-laws finally scrapped their 05 Focus about 2 months ago (also a 4 cylinder) and drove that thing all over the place with summer camping trips where it was extremely loaded down in the trunk as well as the carrier on the roof rack. That thing had around 280k or 290k when they finally scrapped it (biggest issue they had with that car was the alternator. They probably replaced the alternator 5 or 6 times. Fortunately my father-in-law got extremely proficient changing it on the side of the highway if needed in a short period of time. We did have to replace some rear suspension components in the last few years too, but given the work it was asked to do, I don’t feel that that’s out of the ordinary). As far as I’m concerned, with 4 cylinder engines longevity is no issue. (bonus, my brother’s 04 Corolla has also passed the 200k mile mark some time ago too, again, minimal repairs outside of routine maintenance)