4 cylinder vs. 6 cyliner

I am looking at buying a used SUV, and need more info about the difference between 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder. I know that 6 is more power, but I just am not sure I need it. I live near the beach, and drive interstates, but not off road or in hilly, mountainous places. Can I get by with a 4 cylinder?

You certainly can get by with a modern 4. Drive one, see if it’s ok. Only if you plan to heavily load your SUV would you ‘need’ a 6.

6 is not always more power than 4. The Magnum’s v6 is 175hp. The S2000’s 4-banger is 200. You need to look at the specific horsepower and torque ratings of whatever car you’re looking at to figure out how much power it has.

If you drive interstates and live at sea level, you could get by with any engine you want, assuming you’re not planning on towing anything. If you are, that changes the equation entirely - you need to tell us what you plan to tow and/or haul.

Sometimes There’s Not Much Difference In Fuel Economy Between A Four And A Six In Certain Makes / Models. However, It Looks Like The Journey SE Gets 3 To 4 More MPG City And 2 To 3 More MPG Hwy With The 2.4L Four !

That’s 10% to 25% better than with the 3.5L six.


If I was going to tow a trailer and/or haul heavy cargo, I would get a six cylinder engine. Otherwise, test drive models with a choice or the two and decide whether or not you can live without the extra power.

Keep in mind horsepower isn’t everything. I think power-to-weight ratio is much more important.

You need to take a look at other factors such as:

Does either of the engine choices use a timing belt?
If one of the engine choices uses a timing chain, as opposed to a timing belt, the one with the timing chain is preferable, IMHO.

A used vehicle with a timing belt will be part way (or perhaps all the way) toward the required timing belt change, which ranges anywhere from every 5 yrs/60k miles (whichever comes first) to every 7.5 years/105k miles (whichever comes first).

You will potentially save lots of maintenance $$ by buying a vehicle with a timing chain.
Do your due diligence on this topic.

They 6-cyl Journey gets 16/24 (city/highway) and the 4-cyl gets 19/25. If you drive mostly on the highway, there is little difference.

I’ve never driven a Journey but it’s rather hefty weight (3800 pound for a 2WD base model and 4200+ pounds for the AWD model (which is V6 only) leads me to think that the V6 would be the better option. The 2.4L used in the Journey is the same engine used in the much lighter Caliber and Sebring. I have driven a 2.4L Caliber and I wasn’t terribly impressed with it’s performance (or any other aspect of the car), so I imagine the 4 cylinder Journey would be an absolute dog in terms of performance.

…and, Consumer Reports rates its reliability as “well below average” (i.e.–like most Chrysler products nowadays–unfortunately).

So much depends upon who makes it and your use. An Escape or Chrysler non hybrid 4 is a dog, a CRV 4 or RAV4 4 has plenty of power plus reliability. In many SUVs, the poor mileage is more of a design function and awd than the motor which makes less difference then you think. It’s a question you can’t generalize about.

Unless it’s a small SUV…I’d go with the V6.

It’s NOT HP that’s an issue…it’s TORQUE. A 4-cylinder may have higher hp then a 6 cylinder…but ONLY because they are achieving it through higher RPM’s.

If the 4-cylinder is on the border of being strong enough to move the SUV you might find it actually gets WORSE gas mileage then the c-cylinder. GM had this problem in the mid 80s with their S10/S15 SUV’s. The 4cylinder or that wimpy 2.8l V6 got WORSE mileage then the 4.3l V6. The reason was the 4.3l didn’t have to keep down shifting when going up hill or passing on the highway. That 2.8l was a DOG…You couldn’t maintain highway speed on anything more then a 1% grade.

With that monstrosity, I’d go with the v6 version. I’m kinda surprised they don’t have an SRT model of it like they do everything else