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Small car engines the most popular

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines are more popular in cars than larger engines and continue to increase in popularity, according to new research by the Power Information Network of J.D. Power and Associates. The engines are now in 55.8 percent of the new cars sold or leased in the U.S. during the first half of 2013.

The latest numbers represent a 13.1 percent increase from 2008. During the same five-year period, six-cylinder engines have declined by 7.8 percent, while V-8 engines have dropped 4.9 percent. The research firm noted that automakers are offering more cars with four-cylinder engines partially due to consumer demand for cars that get better gas mileage and as a way to meet the federal government's stricter fuel-economy requirements, which are currently being phased in. These more fuel-efficient cars also tend to be less expensive than the same models with larger powertrains, which means a lower monthly payment on a car loan.

In 2008, 10 brands did not offer engines smaller than six-cylinders, whereas today, there are just three brands that offer only six-cylinder engines or larger.

J.D. Power noted that in the future, automakers may offer even smaller, three-cylinder engines. Currently, only Smart offers three-cylinder engine models in the U.S., but other automakers, including Ford and General Motors, may offer these small power plants in the next few years.

Would you try a three-cylinder car?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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