Turbocharged Engines May Not Deliver On Fuel Efficiency Claims

February 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Car Buyer Complaints

According to a series of news agencies, automakers have been designing new technology and improving existing technology in order to make vehicles more efficient while attempting not to compromise the engine’s performance.

Reports indicate that automakers have decided to work on developing small, turbocharged engines, which reportedly improve power by delivering the same type of power of a larger engine with the fuel efficiency of a smaller one. According to experts, these promises fall short, which could be a reason for concern to motorists who are looking for smaller, more efficient vehicles that are competent when it comes to engine performance.

Experts from Consumer Reports have tested a series of vehicles with the small turbocharged engines and several other models with traditional engines, big and small. The reports of each individual road test can be found in the Consumer Reports website.

Researchers decided to look into the results of these tests to analyze the data and verify if cars with smaller and turbocharged engines live up to promises regarding performance.

Experts say that in most cases, vehicles with turbocharged engines have a slower acceleration and offer fuel economy that is not any better than vehicles with larger engines. Multiple turbocharged engines seem to have better EPA fuel-economy estimates, which are based on laboratory tests not on real-world driving, however, once these vehicles are tested on real roads, the fuel-economy results do not look as promising as the EPA estimates.

Consumer Reports researchers have indicated that the collection of EcoBoost Ford Fusion vehicles recently tested are equipped with small, turbocharged engines. The models come in two different engine sizes but in spite of the engine size, these models’ 25-mpg shows this family of sedans doesn’t get any better fuel economy than most sedans. Vehicles with conventional engines like the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima and the Honda Accord get better fuel economy than the EcoBoost Ford Fusions.

Out of the EcoBoost family, the model with the largest engine, the turbocharged 231-hp, promises to deliver the power of a full V6 engine while offering great fuel economy. What researchers found is that it gets about 22 mpg and a reduced refinement and acceleration when compared to vehicles equipped with a V6.

Experts say that something similar happened with the Chevrolet Cruze. The model with the smaller engine got the same fuel economy as the model with the larger engine in real-world tests.

Automakers promise turbocharged engines are better because they pump extra air into the engine, which would make the device deliver more power. In order for the engine to have its pump of air increased, the engine needs extra fuel. By requiring more fuel to make the engine work harder, the vehicle will end up using more gas than traditional engines.

For a full list of vehicles with turbocharged engines that have been tested by Consumer Reports, follow this link.


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