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Old 04-18-2010, 02:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
Allch Chcar
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Coast, California
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Cordelia - '15 Mazda Mazda3 i Sport
90 day: 37.83 mpg (US)
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In all actuality your 3L was probably underpowered compared to the amount of sophistication on Foreign small engines. The big 3 have been big on V8 for years and when it comes to sophistication the switch from OHV to DOHC and from Iron Blocks to Aluminum is all old technology but it's as modern as the American motor companies have been until the gasoline price spike. Maybe it was a lack of competition and the King of the Hill approach that has become American capitalism which seems to only degrade in competition, now is the time to start pointing out our past problems, hindsight is never 20/20 especially since the past is written by the Conquerors. Having driven a few minivans; a '96 Ford Windstar, '98 Olds Mobile Silhouette, '00 Toyota Sienna, and a GMC Safari. The most powerful? the Sienna with a two Dual overhead cam which is also the smallest displacement a 3.0L v6(all are v6 vans) and they all pretty much get the same MPG except for the Safari which is an AWD :P. Surely the Sienna is the newest one of the bunch but the domestics used the same engines with minor changes until the minivan market disappeared entirely.

A side story. The Sienna is owned by my grandma who's other car is a nonfunctional 92 Camaro. She apparently loves v8s but when she got a loaner Camry, while the Sienna was in for a clogged IAT $$$, it had a v6 and it scared her to death how fast it was . The 3.0l Toyota Sienna gets a whopping 200BHP 200ft-lbs of torque and in all truth is pretty fast when it's pushed especially when it's out of OD(automatic tranny fail) and even more so compared to my truck . It'd be hard for me to imagine 200+BHP in something 1000lbs lighter like a Camry. Her Sienna spins 2k RPM in OD at 55 and there's almost no lack of power till 60+mph despite the vehicle being very tall and fairly wide and 4k lbs.

This whole 4 cylinder, Ethanol, Turbocharged thing gets me thinking. Most Daily driven cars only need 10-20 hp if they aren't driven 70-80mph. But I've seen relatively "aero" compact/midsize cars need something in the order of 20HP to maintain 70mph and 30HP to maintain 80mph in the Focus,Civic,RX-8. Most 4 cylinder are designed to accommodate that kind of travel and so they spin 3k+ rpm in Overdrive at that speed. With Ethanol and turbocharging which are actually are more efficient when they are done together. With Gasoline, even premium grade, the AutoCompanies usually run the Air:Fuel mixture rich for Regular Naturally Air fed engines under any kind of moderate load or high RPM say 4k+. With Ethanol they might be able to run the mixture closer to Stoich with boosted air pressure, at a lower RPM, and still come out ahead of a V6. Turbo's work under load and that would mean even more fuel with Gasoline just to keep the engine cool whereas with Ethanol keeping too cool is usually the problem. Direct Injection helps make up some of the disadvantage Regular grade Gasoline has but Ethanol is still better in every way except range per gallon and price per BTU.

At least Ethanol is a buffer against high fuel prices slowing the Economy. When Gasoline hits $3 averages over the Summer there should be some recovery in the Ethanol market and you should know Gasoline would be more expensive if there was no Ethanol at all.
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