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Consumer Reports testers explore the trade-offs for fewer cylinders

‘Talking Cars’ Episode 26 asks if three cylinders is enough

Published: March 11, 2014 12:30 PM

Chevrolet Impala
New 2.5L four-cylinder engine.

As car companies reduce cylinder count to improve fuel economy, combinations that once seemed crazy could become commonplace. Episode 26 of “Talking Cars with Consumer Reports” looks at some vehicles that push the envelope.

First up, our deputy editor, Jon Linkov, our senior engineer, Gabe Shenhar, and I discuss our three-cylinder Ford Fiesta SE SFE. Paying $995 more drops off one cylinder and adds a turbocharger. Next up are our impressions of a four-cylinder Chevrolet Impala press car. Suffice to say that having two fewer cylinders doesn’t hurt our impression of the big Chevy.

While the Maserati Ghibli is far from an economy car, it manages to “get by” with only six cylinders. Then again, those pistons are sourced from Ferrari. Promising as it sounds, the initial impressions of our test car are mixed. We revel in the sound but question how compatible it is with rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Next is a brief discussion of the new Jeep Renegade. Debuted in Geneva, this smallest Jeep shares a Fiat 500L platform.

We finish up the episode answering viewer questions. Electric car fans and debunkers take us on about the Chevrolet Volt and the Tesla Model S. Astute viewers ask about dripping BMWs and Subaru Outbacks. We end with a rather arcane 1980s TV reference that happens to match how many cylinders I like.

As with the other reports, this episode is also available free through the iTunes store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube and the audio via SoundCloud.

Also view:
Talking Cars Episode 25: 2014 Top Picks
Talking Cars Episode 24: Jeep Cherokee & Mazda3
Talking Cars Episode 23: Mercedes and cars we love
Talking Cars Episode 22: 2014 Detroit auto show
Talking Cars Episode 21: Best and worst of 2013
Talking Cars Episode 20: Fancy cars

Tom Mutchler


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