Why do newer cars tend to have smaller/less powerful engines?

InternetSwag

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Is it because of fuel economy? Surely that can't be the only reason? Is there something I'm missing?

Example;
2012 i20 1.6l engine 91kw
2016 i20 1.4l engine 74kw

Why would I want a less powerful engine? Unless they are trying to make you buy an i30 or an Elantra? or are the newer engines configured in a way that you won't feel the 17kw difference?

Ford Fiesta, same story
2010 Fiesta 1.6 Titanium 88kw
2014 Fiesta 1.4 Trend 71kw

(theres also the ecoboost, so idk how that plays into things)

I see this quite often now, some cars also have 900cc turbos or 1l turbos. Which is cool and all, but how is that better if it has the same power as the previous gens 1.4l? idk. I'm not a car guy, so educate me?

Also, it's kinda weird that the Ford Figo has 88kw, but a fiesta will have like 71, unless you opt for a very expensive version. Like, that just seems weird to me, imagine pulling up next to a figo in your fiesta and hes faster than you ok nobody is gonna pull up in a fiesta but still. Its weird.
 

370z

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I think you hit the nail on the head with all your reasons
 

Neuk_

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I am not sure about the examples you supplied but if you look at say a VW Polo which now comes with a 1l turbo engine unless you get the GTi, the 1l turbo is lighter, uses less fuel and has less emissions than previous generation engines.
 

Datura

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Shrinkflation.

These fekkers don't give a toss about the environment and petrol prices are not enough of a driver of international sales to be a cause. I stand to be corrected. I am hazarding assumptions and guesses here.
 

AntiThesis

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Turbo is the key there - throw a turbo into a light engine and suddenly you've got enough power to make it usable. Add to that the savings in emissions tax and the ability to "tune" the engine/turbo combination more and it makes sense for manufacturers. Turbos aren't as unreliable (citation needed) as they once used to be so the newer cars are reasonable - your mileage may vary obviously, a turbo engine from one manufacturer may very much not be as good as another.

Good reddit thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/4w1vke
 
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garp

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More efficient, smaller, turbo/super-charged engines, often putting out the equivalent power of their larger engined forebears at much lower fuel consumption (or at least that's the theory).

It's the reason why many manufacturers dropped the link between engine size and badging - the badging is now supposed to represent the equivalent of what a more traditional normally aspirated engine would be like e.g. a Merc C300 is now actually a 2L engine, but has the same performance that, for example, a 2000 model C300 might have had. Marketers are trying to decouple engine size from output.
 

TEXTILE GUY

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More efficient, smaller, turbo/super-charged engines, often putting out the equivalent power of their larger engined forebears at much lower fuel consumption (or at least that's the theory).
Do ya think CO2 emissions maybe come into it - I think there are tax breaks on this in the EU?
 

agentrfr

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The reason is tax and turbos

You can design a turbo to only "kick in" at moderate to high RPMs of the engine.

Instead of a 1.5 L engine producing say 90 kW, you can turbo a 1L to 90 kW just before red line. You are now in a situation where the 1L performs roughly the same in full out performance as a 1.5 L, but the rest of the time you are driving normally you get the fuel efficiency benefit of a smaller engine operating under a higher relative load and closer to it's maximal efficiency point

Also almost everywhere in UK/EU you get taxed on fuel consumtion / fumes in urban areas, so people want smaller engine cars that dont cost as much to run around in the city
 

Gtx Gaming

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I am not sure about the examples you supplied but if you look at say a VW Polo which now comes with a 1l turbo engine unless you get the GTi, the 1l turbo is lighter, uses less fuel and has less emissions than previous generation engines.
VW want's you do think that, until its tested in the real world :p
 

mr_norris

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When I bitched to Kia about americans getting the 1.6 engine in the Rio they tuned me that they can't bring that here because it would compete with the 1.6 Cerato. Kind of makes sense, and I guess the market is pretty small here, so they were trying to separate things. I'm sure there is more to it though.
 

Hamster

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Owned a 2007 Polo 1.9 TDi - amazing car/engine. Enough power, great fuel economy.

Owned a 2012 Elantra 1.8 - great car. Drove different but much nicer to do long trips with, heavier on fuel in town but never missed the turbo.

Owned a 2016 Kadjar 1.5 EDCi - great car. Better fuel economy than the polo had and I swear it had more power.

Now own a 2017 Peugeot 2008 1.2 Turbo - great car. I do the same distances I did in the polo, get there in the same time (9-10 hours) and I swear to you - all the power I need is there.


Now none of these are are sports cars but they are all capable of breaking the speed limit fairly quickly. Each one of them has a smaller engine than the previous, fuel economy changed f0kol really but emissions got better.

Next car - hopefully nothing. I'd rather have a bicycle :ROFL:
 

Splinter

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There was a loophole in some regulation where engines smaller than 1000cc got a tax deduction or rebate or laxer emissions rules or something. Was aimed at motorbikes, iirc. Thus the one liter engines will normally be slightly under 1000cc.
 

LCBXX

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The 1L Ford Ecoboost and Merc M133 engines are masterpieces.
 
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