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TDIMeister February 3rd, 2017 12:06

The age of engine downsizing is over, says Volkswagen
The age of engine downsizing is over, says Volkswagen

The trend of making engines smaller is over, says Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's chairman, marking an end to a decade-long development where engine capacity has been reducing leading to the current vogue for 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engines.

"The trend of downsizing is over," he said at the launch of the new updated version of the Golf VW's most popular car.

"Emissions tend to go up as engines get smaller," he said, referring to the way that small-capacity engines can perform worse in real world Driving Emissions Tests (RDE) due to be introduced in Europe in 2019 as part of the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Testing Procedure (WLTP).

Diess says VW will continue with its current 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine for its smaller cars such as the Up and Polo, but it will not be developing smaller petrol engines than that and its diesel units will not be getting smaller than that current 1.6-litre unit, either.

oilhammer February 3rd, 2017 12:37

That makes sense. If an engine needs to run "balls out" to do what it is asked to do, then it may not be much better than a slightly larger less stressed engine doing the same job.

Not sure where the line is with regards to emissions, but in other performance (power and fuel economy) there is usually something to be said for the smaller turbo engines.

Some examples:

Cruze with 1.4L turbo is much nicer to drive than the normal aspirated 1.8L (speaking of the previous gen Cruze)

Fusion with the 1.6L Ecoboost is suprisingly lively compared to the raspy and thirsty 2.5L.

Even VAG's new-for-us 1.4L turbo in the Jetta S is a night and day difference than the old 2.slo it replaced.

But, when it comes to longevity and low service costs, the bigger simpler engines pretty much always win out. And they generally cost less, too.

turbovan+tdi February 4th, 2017 20:24

No crap Sherlock, lol. Small engines belong in small cars, otherwise you to run the bag off it to make the car move.

pdq import repair February 5th, 2017 07:08

Back in the day, I had a nearly new 4runner with a 3.0 engine, and my brother in law had a nearly new Bronco with the biggest engine they had, 400CI, I think. I got consistently 16, 17,or 18mpg tank after tank after tank. He got 20-22 mpg consistently, I witnessed it at the pump more than once.

That big engine rarely saw 3000 rpm and just ran along at low speeds sipping fuel. Hell he would almost match my 4 runner pulling a travel trailer with it. 14-15 mpg.

I don't know emmisions wise, but my thinking is less gas burned per mile should pollute less. Both vehicles met the standards of the day and still do. Yes we both still have them with over 250K on each and they can pass the sniff tests.

funny thing physics.

john.cipolletta February 5th, 2017 08:27

Huh, VW makes everything to clear their name. It's okay that they are going to produce supersixxxxxx engines.

Dannyboy February 5th, 2017 08:38

Problem in Europe is most countries use road tax system based on emissions output, usually CO2. The higher the output, the higher the tax.this is every year. Then insurance company comes along and basically says the higher the engine output the more you pay. So both together forces people to buy the smallest engined vehicle with best torque they can buy. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now they throw these new regulations in the mix. Should be interesting to see.

Usually any engine over 2 liter is out of most normal people's reach unless you've got a bit of money. North America has it soooo much easier to owning a vehicle in contrast, they only care about levels of emissions not how much is actually being blasted out the tailpipe. Think that 6.7 powerstroke is more environmentally friendly than my
2 liter tdi? According to EPA it is but we all know which one is actually better.

john.jackson9213 February 5th, 2017 10:41

It seems the small turbo engines are well matched to the emissions test cycle. But in real world driving, they get pushed very hard by drivers. That pushes up operating temperatures and sends real world emissions well above the test cycle results.

So it is kind of like schools teaching to the test, because that is how results are measured.

AnotherPerson February 5th, 2017 14:24

I don't see a reason to put out a under 1.6L diesel engine. The only thing i could see this being used for would be as an "Always on generator" for a hybrid system. A electric motor direct drive system with a diesel engine setup to run optimal at a set RPM for emissions and fuel economy would be a great setup.

bhtooefr February 5th, 2017 14:44

The way I'd say to go is... size the base engine for naturally aspirated normal driving (not just naturally aspirated cruise), and sell the base model naturally aspirated. That means, in a Golf-class vehicle, somewhere around 1.8-2.0 liters is about right. And, you can use variable Atkinsonization (as VW is playing with on some engines now) to reduce pumping losses at light load, too.

Then, if you want to create a high-performance model, turbocharging that is OK - drive the high-performance model normally, and it'll do well - better than a large displacement engine. Drive it aggressively, and the mileage goes to crap, quite possibly worse than the large displacement engine, but truly aggressive driving isn't that common, and you can get away with it. (That said, with variable Atkinsonization, cylinder deactivation, and long gearing, the large displacement engine can get surprisingly good mileage when driven normally, too, and then you have higher reliability than the turbo engines.)

Aggressive downsizing to a 1.4T or smaller, OTOH, means everything's aggressive driving in a Golf.

jdulle February 7th, 2017 18:31

I have a 1 liter 3cylinder engine in my insight. It is fairly slow, because of the tall gearing for FE. I have driven it without the electric and is even slower. If it had a lower 1,2, and 3rd gear it would do well enough without the electric but you would have to rev it up to get enough power. I would assume with many of the smaller engines longevity would be compromised, but the insight seems to be fine, with many having over 300k without having been apart. It is a really light car, around 1900lbs.

GWbiker February 8th, 2017 15:47

I owned a 1987 Chevy Sprint. 2dr, 5sp, 3 cylinder motor, 12' wheels. No power steering, no power brakes, no AC, no power windows. Just 54MPG highway on RUG. Some would call it a "Tin can on wheels".

Made in Japan by Suzuki. Didn't sell too well, I'm told.....however I drove it for three years and 36,000 miles and sold it for what I paid.

GoFaster February 8th, 2017 16:46

My current daily driver is a Fiat 500 with the 1.4 FIRE 16v MultiAir non-turbo engine. No rocketship (not even close!) but it gets the job done. It is overgeared in the interest of mileage. Right now, in winter conditions, it's doing a little better than 6 L/100 km.

In europe the same car had either a 1.2 FIRE 8v or the "TwinAir" 0.9 litre 2 cylinder engine. Apparently the TwinAir was the engine to get (right number of cylinders, historically correct even though it's at the wrong end of the car) but real world fuel consumption isn't any better than with the 1.2 or 1.4 MultiAir.

The FIRE series of engines is in the process of being replaced. The new choices are a 1.0 3 cylinder (replacing the TwinAir and 1.2 FIRE) or a 1.3 4 cylinder (replacing the 1.4 16v FIRE). Interestingly, the new engines only have 2 valves per cylinder and are SOHC with VVT, but no MultiAir, and have a very high compression ratio (13:1) and the cam drive is by chain rather than belt. I think someone's been doing some optimizing to get the same or better power output and economy but with fewer parts and less complexity and less maintenance. I'm totally on board with that.

dubStrom February 8th, 2017 17:38

Why no Passat with 1.4TSI?
I drove the new-to-US 1.4L TSI in the Jetta in November when I was replacing my JSW. It had maybe 2 miles on it so I did not "work it", but it's a quiet and smooth power plant, and the torque was surprising for a small gasser.

The car I drove had a nice package, nice price, and I was tempted. But 5MT, not 6, and the cab felt kind of tight. My unscheduled impact with the handle over the window in my JSW (see signature below) makes me want a little space (gasp) to let the seat belt do its work. I ended up with a Passat. FE is not much lower, so I am happy. Plenty of space in the Chattanooga midsize. I'm happy, but guess what?... I think I'd be perfectly happy with the 1.4L TSI with a 6MT in the Passat. I almost never ask for what the 1.8 TSI can deliver.

bhtooefr February 8th, 2017 19:40

Because the 1.4 TSI would be in boost more often (hurting real world fuel economy), as well as not meeting American power demands for that size of car. On a turbo gasser, you only want to be in boost when driving it hard, otherwise your fuel economy will go to crap.

jpltdi February 8th, 2017 21:29

I am one of those people who got a 2017 Jetta S 1.4 TSI with my $500 dealer card that was going to expire in November. Just filled it up for the second time today, 577 miles on 13.3 gallons, which I calculate to be 43.4 miles per gallon in mixed driving. I tend to drive it like a diesel and use boost a lot. (Not sure if this is good for longevity, but it just feels good to me.) I'm certainly impressed - I can never get much more than 40 mpg with the 2014 Passat TDI DSG.

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