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I have been looking for another vehicle after I crashed my last car. In my looking, I have realized that 4 cylinders are generally cheaper to purchase and better on gas. My problem is that I live in the moderately hilly and curvy part of southern Ohio near Between Lancaster and logan. I have been told by some that 4cyls don't have enough power to tackle bills with ease. This they say causes increased engine wear thereby lessening the life of the engine and costing more in gas and engine maintenance. Basically, they think that a 4cylinder is too weak for anything but flat land excursions. I thought I would call on the wise and more rational minds on RT to answer this question. Thanks .
 

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Depends on the car and the 4 cylinder. Some make good power and some are pretty weak. Generally if you are buying, say, a Chevy Malibu, with the base 4 cylinder, you will be disappointed with the power. If you get the upgraded engine you should have plenty of power.

My Equinox has the base 4 cylinder. It does ok around town but it's way too weak for the mountains. And at interstate speeds of 75-85 mph it doesn't get better mileage than the 6 cylinder because it has to turn high rpm to maintain speed.

I wouldn't worry about the reliability. I've had plenty of cheap cars with wimpy 4 bangers. Every single time the motor outlasted the rest of the car. We're talking 180k or more miles.
 

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My favorite every day driver is a base model 2003 Dodge Caravan with the 4 cylinder. I travel with it to my in laws in West Virginia. It will kick into passing gear on the longer hills. I pull a 5 x8 utility trailer with it which it handles well, it will pull the boat, a 18 foot fiberglass one, but it really needs more power I think. Still, it pulls it. It gets 4 more miles per gallon than the wife's newer model 6 cylinder Grand Caravan. I do prefer the Grand Caravan when on a trip though. It just turned 210,000 miles and is starting to burn or maybe it's leaking oil. It does spot the driveway now. About a quart between changes, about 3000 mles. Still runs good, but other stuff is starting to wear out. Struts, headliner, trim.

I am in the market for another vehicle myself, I would buy a newer version just like it if they still made one.
 

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That 4 cyl. antipathy may be based on out-of-date knowledge. My RAV4 has a 2.5 liter 4 cyl. engine. It has zero difficulty with VT/NH grades. It gets better mileage at 65-70mph on the Interstate than on narrower slower roads - because the tranny stays in 5th or 6th gear all the time. Even my previous vehicle, a Prius C with a 1.5 liter gas engine, handled the Interstate alright at those speeds, and got over 50 mpg doing it.
 

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My last 4 cars and one truck (Tacoma) were and are 4 cyl,
Like VT said , I have a 2.5 L 4 cyl in a Mazda CX5, SUV, That has more power than I ever ask from it,



It is a bit hilly here , and it goes as well as any bigger engine.

That 4 cyl , being under powered is a bunch of bull,
unless its an older 4 banger . The newer ones got plenty power.


Jim
 

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Is 4 cylinder enough?
Yes, depending...

If you can get a horsepower number for a car you might be interested in you can get a good idea of its ability to pull you uphill.
A small light weight car with ~120 +/- HP, you're probably good..... 98 HP, maybe not so good.

I don't think reliability will be a problem with a low powered machine as long as you keep fresh oil in it.
I had a Toyota we overloaded horribly while traveling to races all over the nation.
On some uphills I thought we were going to have to pull a bike off the trailer and ride it, not haul it.
Several 3K mile trips, loaded down with the gas peddle to the floor much of the time, never a problem.
.
 

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^^^ Mag's got a point. Look at the power ratings. For example Jim's Mazda CX5 can be had with 2 motors. One makes about 150 HP and the upgraded 4 cylinder makes 184 HP (I think.) It doesn't sound like a big difference but I've rented Mazda cars with both motors and that bigger motor is much, much smoother when maneuvering in traffic and on hills. I took a Mazda 6 with that same engine through Los Angeles on Interstate 10 at speeds up to 100 mph a couple years ago. The car didn't even seem to be working hard at that speed. But I had a smaller Mazda 3 with the smaller motor and I felt like I had to whip the hell out of It just to pull away from a stop sign. The transmission and gear ratio matters too. I really think you'll be happiest with the upgraded 4 cylinder over the base engine in most cars.
 

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I'd say go with a straight six...good gas mileage...enough torque for hills and towing...and runs like a raped ape for an easy 200K.

Don't know if ya can get them anymore though...everything now is V6 - V8

Props to the RAV4...my wife then daughter had one from 99 to 13...4cyl all wheel drive all the time. Passed 8cyl pick-em-up trucks in the snow as they fish tailed up our steep roads here in my area... Pennsylvania.


My Baby...a 2013 Jeep Patriot Limited 4cyl 4x4 Trail Rated...HA...stop me IF YOU CAN !!!





Just finished putting new rubber all 'round...it WILL handle anything you and Winter can throw at it !!


Before that one...I had a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee STRAIGHT SIX bought used in 2004...ran until 2016 when an electrical problem in the dash required a new dash console replacement...they didn't make them new for years...they do sell old replacement dashes with miles on them...but my electrician said I could buy one for $1,700...he would put it in for $500...and it could last 1 year or 5 years...told me he would only guarantee 1 year...

so, off I went to buy the 2013 Patriot in 2016...coming off a 3 year lease with only 26,000 miles...less than 10K a year. Price Tag: $15K OTD
 

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I have a 2010 Ford Focus, in 80 mph from Utah, Idaho, and Montana averaged 30 mpg. No problems in the hills or mountains. Doesn't have a hitch so can't say on towing.
 

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Just remembered a 4 cyl car that did have power issues on the Interstate. There is one long, significant grade between Windsor and White River Jct. on I-91. Going in that direction, my 1990 Chevvy Metro slowed down some. The 1000cc engine could have been responsible.
 

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^^^ Sounds like you just needed to pull over and let the squirrels rest for a bit VT!
Hah! It was a kinda squirrelly car, Spike. Didn't handle very well, and had lousy braking. Attracted deer too. It come into the road quite a ways off; I blew the horn and stomped on the brake peddle. The car gradually came to a stop, well beyond the deer, who had bounced off my fender.

After the fender and other miscellaneous repairs were done, I sold it cheap to a co-worker - and bought a 1978 Caddy Coupe Deville.
 

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IMO Chevy screwed up when they quit making the 3.5 and 3.9 V-6 engines. They had plenty of power and would run forever. My 06 Impala 3.9 v-6 has 203,000 miles and still runs great. My Chevy Malibu had the 3.5 v-6 and at 169,000 it ran perfect also. Can't get a new Malibu now with a v-6 anymore and have to get the 4 banger. The older 4 bangers didn't have a lot of power and because of the higher rpms they didn't usually last as long as the v-6 either. The new 4 bangers often have turbos so they have more power but my experience with turbos I don't want any car with a turbo on it. If you are only going to keep the car a few years then okay but high mileage can expect the turbo to be the first engine component to fail and they aren't cheap either. When warranty goes out then I would get rid of it. I will not buy a used car or truck with a turbo for that reason.
I knew people that had 4 bangers and when they wanted to pass they would shut the a/c off to have more power to pass. I did have a Toyota p/up I bought new in 1984 with the 22r 4 banger and it had 228,000 miles on it when I sold it. The engine still ran quiet and strong like new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow there were some great lines in this thread"Let the squirrels take a rest" "turn the ad off to pass" haha. That's rich.
 
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