Seriously, some people just don't understand. I'm no longer talking to my father for the very reasion; he couldn't see why I'd put a 70hp engine in place of my 100hp engine.
I feel ya.
Ha try and go to Honda-tech (or most any other enthusiast forum) and post a question about swapping in a smaller/less powerful engine and you will get flamed to kingdom come. They all have the same reaction of "You are an idiot", even if you say fuel economy is your goal, they can't comprehend the implications of downsizing. Mak
'85 CRX Si Original EW3 @ 254k...suck it Detroit
'89 CRX HF-Z1 ~ When haste is needed
'97 Civic DX Hatch ~ Formerly 600hp, now 0hp, soon 115hp.
A big reason other than weight for the all-aluminum trend is lower production costs. It takes a lot of man-hours to sand cast iron, but you can die cast aluminum. They usually still have iron liners, so they're plenty tough (and no early deaths from loose sand).
I think part of the bad mileage on small cars these days is emissions. US emissions get tougher every year, and lately it's been easier to make a big engine meet them than a small engine. It's also why VW diesels are missing this year.
Hopefully diesels will be back soon in a much cleaner form, and one of these days we might get direct-injected or even compression-ignition gas engines in econo cars. That and better aerodynamics, weight, gearing, and so on should net some seriously high-mileage cars. Nothing soon though.
It's well documented that for the last 20 years or so the trend for new motor vehicles has been for ever higher horsepower and lower 0-60mph times at the expense of FE. That is where people's priorities are and I can prove it every time I drive to the city, where all the lunatics are busy playing stoplight Gran Prix and driving 15-20mph over on the long stretches.
That said, I too am confused by these small cars getting such bad mileage. If an Aveo only gets 30, and a full-size Buick or new Impala gets 30, then what's the point of the little one? Now bear in mind I haven't researched this, these are my initial opinions, but it seems even among small cars frontal areas (they are really getting taller than they used to be) are growing and Cds are not improving so there's the aero penalty. And they may be geared for the stoplight Gran Prix instead of the freeway so they feel "livelier". Along those lines, the engines are probably cammed to rev higher- again at the expense of FE. And there is no such thing as a "stripper" any more it seems; even the little stuff has power steering (Why? Is everyone that wimpy?), a/t, and all that other power robbing junk.
I think the bottom line is that we who are truly concerned with FE are a tiny minority. The bulk of motorists only gives lip service to good FE, at best.
You make a good point: With all the power-robbing accessories, this wimpy generation deserves all the MPG that it DOESN'T get! A/C, power steering, power brakes, automatic trannies, poor gasoline, soft tires, ...the list goes on & on.
Yay for aluminum engines! Iron sleeves though, boo iron sleeves!
"Boo, iron sleeves!" --- Iron sleeves give far better wear characteristics than "super alloy" aluminum bores. Remember the Chevy Vega? Pure junk! Those aluminum bores wore so fast (& you couldn't overbore them, either)! The sure-fire cure? Press in a set of cast iron liners! Just thought you'd like to know....-Ted Hart
"Heads"??? You do mean "cylinders" I hope! Aluminum heads can last forever IF the headbolts are untorqued in a pattern reversed from installation (prevents warpage).There ain't nothing wrong with aluminum heads. Even air heads make good politicians! LOL!