Are Small Cars Really Fuel Efficient?

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In a developing country like Pakistan, consumers think that small cars have better fuel efficiency. The reason behind this perception is people’s want good average car. With increase in population, the cities and the distances are expanding. Hence, most of us want to have an automobile that gives the best mileage.

For this reason, you must have noticed a lot of smaller cars hitting the road. The reason being that they have a smaller engine and are cost-effective. But then the question arises, is engine the only option, or small cars are really fuel efficient.

Perception About Small Cars: 

Despite progress, this perceptions is developed regarding automobiles, their parts, displacements, engines, etc. But, since it is an era of technology, these perceptions have to be corrected.

Due to these perceptions, people believe that 1300 cc or above cars consume more fuel compared to the ones below 1000cc. However, this perception is not entirely accurate. Apart from the engine’s displacement, fuel consumption and efficiency mainly depend on vehicle’s power to weight ratio.

Small Cars and Engine Displacement: 

One calculates the engine’s displacement in the cubic centimetres, and it is the total volume of the air displaced by the pistons in engine’s cylinders. While Horsepower or torque is the unit to measure engine’s output. 

Horsepower indicates sustained work; a car can do while pulling the engine’s power. For easy understanding, think of displacement as a bottle; the bigger the bottle, the more fluid. Thus you can drink more and in case of the engine’s output, take it as a bottle’s calorie (energy).

This example would surely help you better understand the relation of the horsepower/torque and engine displacement.

Are Small Cars Fuel Efficient? 

People argue that smaller engines are fuel-efficient, that may be true in one circumstance. But if we compare the smaller car with the bigger ones, it is not the whole truth.

If we take an example of a smaller car, let’s say 660cc, with five passengers in it; it’ll require more power than the bigger cars since the vehicle is loaded. Furthermore, it needs more fuel while accelerating at high speed or climbing uphill. Meanwhile, if we take a 1300cc car, it would require less power than the 660cc. Also, the forced power and acceleration in smaller cars would cause vehicle’s premature wear and tear  than bigger cars.

A Study in the UK: 

For this purpose, a study was done in the UK last year; drivers believed that smaller engine was more efficient. However, the Emission Analysts found out that it’s the opposite, and that consumes more fuel because they have to do extra work, and even they have to accelerate harder; hence more power is used.

For this purpose, researchers tested 500 vehicles for three hours on Britain’s roads, half were diesel, and the other half were on petrol. The results indicated that the cars traveled 18% fewer miles than the manufacturers’ actual assumptions.

Technology and Fuel Consumption: 

It is worth mentioning that these days, the technology is more sophisticated, and modern-day engines are much more efficient in fuel consumption. Considering the power to weight ratio, manufacturers do deploy a specific engine in the cars- Still, people believe that 1300 engine isn’t fuel-efficient and better off with the 1000 cc car for its better fuel consumption.

However, this concept is incorrect. Let us take an example of Suzuki Swift; it offers the 1.3-liter engine compared to the 1-liter engine because it can carry its weight and perform its tasks efficiently. However, this speculation again does not lead to the conclusion that more significant engines are always fuel-efficient. For example, in Swift, an engine with 1.6-liter capacity would need more fuel because it will produce more power than the standard size.

Likewise, in the case of the Toyota Belta, it offers 1000cc engine, which is slow and sluggish even in the market compared to the 1300 cc engine version, which has a slightly better power to weight ratio.

After this discussion, a specific question must have popped up in your mind, i.e., if the power to weight ratio is essential, then why the car manufacturer doesn’t give us the best engines. If we talk about Toyota Corolla in our market, it offers three types of engines, which are 1.3 liters, 1.6 liters, and 1.8 liters.

The answer to the above question is that apart from the engine, the car manufactures offers other wide variety of factors which provide different configuration and trims. This is because a single-car caters to different customers, and each of them has a different preference, as some prefer the economy, while others prefer performance.

The government takes automobiles’ tax on the engine displacement of the cars; therefore, in a developing country like Pakistan, smaller engine displacement is preferred mainly due to taxation.

Calculating Power to Weight Ratio: 

If we want to calculate the power to weight ratio of the vehicle, we need to divide the car’s Horsepower by its curb weight. If the number is higher than your car has excellent performance. Apart from the power to weight, there are other important factors, which are essential in determining a vehicle’s efficiency.

These factors include how you drive your car, tyre pressure, fuel quality and vehicle maintenance, etc. That is why fuel consumption cannot be the only reason proportional to the engine size.

Even though we have little options in our market regarding our automobile, it’s always good to buy the vehicle of your choice. The car which fits your criteria instead of buying what everyone else is buying.

People who believe that 1000cc car is more fuel-efficient than the 1300 cc car, must correct themselves. 

Reason Behind Misconception: 

There is misconception that manufacturer does not provide necessary information. The detail includes power to weight, car’s curb weight,etc. So, instead of focusing on the engine for fuel efficiency, look for other factors i.e., torque/horsepower. 

So if you are buying a car, do keep in mind that bigger engines perform better under stress or load. 

Recommended For You: 

14 Ways To Improve Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

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