4 to go!

IYHO what is the best 4 cyl,past or present?-Kevin

VW 111 1970

I have a Honda VTec 4 cyl in an '03 Civic. At 83K it is great, no problems at all. Very smooth, quiet, zippy, good torque so it pulls strong from 1,000 rpm up to redline. Often the issue with 4’s is they have a rough idle with vibration. I can’t tell if this motor is running the idle is so smooth.

In racing the Offy 4 was dominante in Indy cars for many years.

Chrysler Fours, Like The 2.4L Are Pretty Smooooth. They employ dual counter-rotating balance shafts for your enjoyment.


Ford flathead tractor engine. They run for years, can be fixed in the field with a screwdriver and a rock, and helped feed the world for the past 75 years or so.

I Know What You Can Get Done With A Rock, But What’s The Screw Driver Supposed To Do?


I have a Civic DX which has a non-VTec engine. It is also smooth, even at idle. It is also quite efficient. It is small enough that it is easy to work under the hood on this car.

In terms of efficiency, I am impressed with the VTec engine from the Civic HX. It was designed to burn lean and got great fuel economy compared with other engines from its time. I think they stopped making the Civic HX when they started making a Hybrid Civic.

In terms of reliability, the Chevy Cavalier/Buick Skyhawk from the mid 1980s was a great four cylinder for its time. That engine lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. It was the first car on which I learned to my own maintenance. It was easy to work on and it was quite forgiving of mistakes (like hooking up the spark plugs in the wrong firing order).

The 2.0 used in various forms for the SAAB 900. For performance in a street car the 4cyl used in the BMW E-30 M3,lots of candidates for a performance 4 banger from days past.

I’m not going to claim it was the best, but the little 1.6 liter hemi 4-cylinder that Toyota put in the Corolla in the early 70s was a nice engine.

So was the Ford “Kent” engine that powered everything from the Fiesta and Pinto to Formula Ford racing cars.

Then there was the rear-mounted 875cc SOHC aluminum 4-cylinder from the Sumbeam/Hillman Imp. Sweet!

I’m happy with the 2.2 liter SOHC Vtec engine in my '97 Acura CL. It’s smooth (balance shafts), reliable, economical, and it runs on regular gas.

Keep the mechanic relaxed and happy while he’s busy banging on a tractor w/ a rock?

Yessir the “Kent” was a great little mill-I’m suprised no one has mentioned the"22R" Toyota yet -Kevin

With out a doubt…in my opinion, the most consistent manufacturer of motors, especially 4 cyl. over the past two decades w/o peer is the Honda motor company. I can’t think of another who, year after year, produces 4 cyl motors with the reliability and performance they have. All, without resorting to using turbocharging as a matter of course. One of the first to mass produce 4 cyl motors with 100 hp per liter without turbo help. Who else has with their longevity ?

So any Honda 4 is a keeper.

I like their outboards too…

This engine was basically half of a flathead V-8 ,right? Anyway,reliable ,durable and you could keep on rebuilding them( if only you could convince the old farmers you didnt need to run non detergent oil in it after a rebuild)-Kevin

The screwdriver is to pry apart the things that get stuck together that should not be, while the rock is to bang things back to together that should not have come apart.

Yeah, I think half a flathead V8, or just a slightly upgraded Model T engine. Very simple and easy to work on, but generally didn’t need to be worked on. My brother and I pretty much destroyed the differential on my old man’s Ford tractor, but the engine just kept chugging along.

There is no best 4 cylinder but there are countless very good ones.

Exactly, the 4 bangers have several merits and have been highly refined- one thing though,the biggest 4cyl I can think of right is the Chevy modular 2.9 ,any bigger ones around?-Kevin