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4 clyinder vs 6 cylinder

I plan to buy a small suv in the near future. I had a 4 cylinder car( Chevy 2) many years ago and it lacked power pulling an A/C in Texas. How good are the current engines or should I just go with a 6 cylinder?I have a large 8 right now.

I think you will find that four cylinder engines have improved since the Chevy II days. I believe that this engine was available only in 1962 and 1963, displaced 153 cubic inches, and was rated at 90 horsepower. In those days, air conditioning was not really common in most parts of the country. Did your Chevy II have factory air? I owned a 1985 Ford Tempo which nad a 4 cylinder engine and factory air conditioning and it worked reasonably well. My wife thought that the car was noisy, but it had adequate power. A year ago, I drove a Honda Hybrid Civic on a 400 mile round trip. It had adequate power and wasn’t noisy. I’m certain that we ran the air conditioning. I think you need to drive or rent a car like the one you are considering and see what you think.

I have two friends that owned the Chevy II with the 4 cylinder engines. One hated the car and the other really liked the car. I remember riding with the friend that hated is car. I did think that the idle was a little rough. However, the car did get good gasoline mileage for its time period.

Just a quick addition to my comment above–I remember Consumer Reports commenting that the Chevy II 4 cylinder engine “vibrated like something from the early days of motoring”. Today’s 4 cylinder engines are much smoother.

Buy the whole car, not just the engine.


it was one of the under dash models that I had to have installed. It was in 1962 as I recall.Thanks for the reply. Ben

I have driven both RAV-4s and Foresters with the A/C running, and I can report that they definitely have power that is more than adequate. Knowing Honda’s engine technology, I am confident that a CR-V would also have more than adequate power.

Which small SUVs are you considering at this point?

the rav and the crv are high on my list. was also thinking about the VW Jetter since I have a friend who loves it.

You might want to take a look at the reliability ratings for the VW Jetta before you make a decision.

VWs handle really wonderfully when new, and in general, the new ones are very impressive. Unfortunately, after a few years, they are prone to a high incidence of electronic and mechanical problems that are very difficult to diagnose and very expensive to fix. And, VW dealerships are reknowned for having the absolute WORST customer service in the industry.

If you are planning to get rid of this vehicle before the warranty expires, a VW might be a good idea. On the other hand, if you are planning on keeping it for the long term, you should take a look at the long-term reliability of this brand of vehicles.

I definitely like the idea of renting the vehicle you want to buy and getting to know it. Both Toyota and Honda have excellent 4 cylinder engines, smooth running (since 1979) and sufficient power (recently). I do not know how Detroit is coming along with 4 cylinder engines, but they have not been stars in that arena. I sincerely wish someone would sell a small SUV or a light truck with a 4 cyl long stroke Diesel engine in USA. But maybe thats too much to hope for.

Yep,live with it a week,if you drive it a fair amount the quirks should show up-Kevin

My dad bought a used 1963 Buick LaSabre in 1966 that had a Mitchell Mark IV add-on unit where the evaporator and fans were in a box mounted under the dashboard. It worked really well–it would get the passenger compartment so cold that it could be used for a freezer.

If your demands are moderate and do not include trailer hauling of much consequence, and we are talking about car based SUVs most manufactures have found that not providing 4 cyl options without enough power is a sure way to loose customers. 4 cyls from Toyota and Honda are always near top of the pack in overall performance. Good choice…

I sincerely wish someone would sell a small SUV or a light truck with a 4 cyl long stroke Diesel engine in USA. But maybe thats too much to hope for.

If the price were reasonable, they would sell all they could make. I’m with you, what’s the hold up ?

The 4 cylinder on the 2010 Equinox is pretty good.

Is it common for the impression a car from 45+ years ago impacted on you to still affect your judgement?

For me the experiences that my 1962 T-Bird gave me are just water under the bridge,fond memories,nothing I apply to vehicles today.

Lack of a global Nox Emission spec. Toyota has 2.8L for the Tacoma. It meets the Euro, but not the EPA spec. To meet the EPA you need a $3000 emissions after treatment system. You can see what it does to the price.

back in the 80’s, a chevy V8 got a pick up better mileage than a 6 cyl. model, because it was easier for the engine to get the truck moving, not straining the engine. even unloaded. mind you though, this was in the 80’s.

Twotone has a very good point. Consider what you need/want the ability to pull a given trailer with the A/C on. Look for that ability. That is determined by towing capacity that is available from the manufacturer for any specific car or truck you might consider buying.

The number of cylinders is two generations away from your question. You need, among things, enough power, # of cylinders is not a measure of power. Enough power is just part of the question, as you also need enough braking ability.

Go to the specs for any car or truck you are considering and look at the towing capacity.

Are modern 4cyl engines adequate? Absolutely. Does that eliminate 6cyl engines? Not if power and smoothness are priorities. Since you’re considering a Rav4, you can test drive both the 4 and 6 and choose the one you like. While the 6 does use a bit more gas, it’s surprisingly efficient, and it’s quite a bit faster and smoother.

There is often less than 10% difference in a 4-cyl and 6-cyl vehicle, such as the RAV-4. Choose the one you like best. If the 4-cyl works well for you, then buy it. Just don’t expect to save much money on gas.

Unless you are pulling a trailer, buy a 4 cylinder; they have plenty of power and run smoothly. Gas will soon be back to $4 and you’ll be glad you did.