Best modern petrol engine - Project C


I have read a lot of negative things about the ecoboost engine. Which of the modern petrol engines are proving most reliable and long lasting?


Best modern petrol engine - daveyK_UK

any petrol engine by Subaru

Best modern petrol engine - SLO76
As a general rule Japanese designed normally asperated petrol engines are the most reliable in the longterm. Honda, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota rarely having any vices at all and thus the reason why there are so many elderly examples still running on our roads today.

I've never had a problem with any I've sold over the years and even Western manufacturers have realised this. Ford used a Yamaha design in most of their range until the ecoboost took over and the Mk II Focus 1.8 is a Mazda unit.

That's not to say the latest VAG TSi engines won't prove robust but it's true in most cases that simplicity is best. Normally asperated engines simply have less to go wrong and as they deliver less torque they put transmissions under less load too, thus the reason why so many modern turbocharged cars are known for DMF and other transmission problems.

If I were to pick an engine that would last beyond 150k without giving any trouble today I'd probably be looking at Mazda's skyactiv petrol range with particular focus on the low stressed 2.0. I've bought, sold and ran loads of 3's, 6's and MX5's over the years without a single engine fault of any kind.

Edited by SLO76 on 24/06/2017 at 09:49

Best modern petrol engine - skidpan

The VAG 1.4 TSi (2013 onwards) 140/150 PS is without a doubt the best petrol engine I have ever driven in truth its the best engine I have ever driven. Its power/torque and economy combination are simply stunning and refinement is a match for anything.It piulls from 1500 rpm to the red line (which you rarely need to venture anywhere near) in a totally linear manner with no turbo lag or power drop off.

We are now on our 2nd (first in a Seat Leon, now a Skoda Superb) and would not swap for anything else.

We have tried several other "modern" petrol engines but none come close. The Toyota 1.8 looked great on paper but even with 148 bhp in an Avensis Tourer its was very poor, we were comparing it to a Focus 1.6 TDCi at the time. The Mazda 2.0 petrol in the 3 (think its 122 PS) and the 6 (145 PS) were equally disapointing especially the 3 which even the wife found difficult the believe it was a 2 litre.

The Honda 1.8 was very disapointing but in fairness that was about 10 yesrs ago but I cannot imagine more recent ones beeing better. Honda have now replaced it with a 1.0 tripple with a turbo which suggests something.

All non-turbo petrols tend to have a pretty narrow power band with peak power and torque high up the rev band. They will go quick but you have to be prepared to take them to the top end of the rev band which is not good for a relaxed drive or fuel economy.

I will stick to turbo's until electric becomes a viable choice for long trips and the cars cost sensible money.

Best modern petrol engine - SLO76
I would agree regarding drivability skidpan but when it comes to long term durability I'd favour normally aspirated simpler deigns and that's the question here.
Best modern petrol engine - nellyjak

As SLO76. suggests.....anything Japanese.!

I'm always swayed towards them because of reliability and longevity...I've had Mitsubishi and Toyota (mainly Toyota) and had sterling service out of all of them.

Both I and my wife drive Toyota models (N/A) and have done for the past several years, without any issues.

Edited by nellyjak on 24/06/2017 at 10:29

Best modern petrol engine - 72 dudes

Agree with skidpan that the 1.4TFSi in our Q3 is very impressive.

Many years ago I had two successive company cars, a Passat 1.8T and an Audi A6 1.8T. The 1.4TFSi is more torquey and both smoother and quieter, and the cylinder on demand technology is good to have allowing you to tailor your driving to make the 2 cylinders cut out under certain conditions. I can drive along a level dual carriageway at 70 MPH running on 2 cylinders.

Ours is coupled to the DSG box and economy is nowhere as good as skidpan's Superb. Overall average is around 37 MPG so far, although I managed 45 MPG cross country on the way to Luton airport (about 65 miles). That's allowing for the optimistic fuel computer.

Longevity? Don't know. This engine has already been replaced by a 1.5 in the Golf so I expect all other VAG/Skoda/Seat engines will follow soon.

Best modern petrol engine - skidpan

I would agree regarding drivability skidpan but when it comes to long term durability I'd favour normally aspirated simpler deigns and that's the question here.

Modern normally aspirated petrol engines aren't the simple things they were back in the days of the Cortina. Variable valve timing, twin cams, fuel injection, all things of science fiction back in the 60's and 70's. Dads Honda Jazz had 8 spark plugs on a 4 cylinder engine and no one on here suggests that was complicated. The Mazda Skyactive petrol has the highest compressions Ratio I have ever seen on a petrol, when I was racing we would have loved that level but it was simply not possible.

But the only extra items a turbo engine has are basically the turbo and an intercooler. The turbo is simple and has been fiited to engines for many years. The intercooler is just a radiator with no water in it.

So in reality a turbo engine is no more complcated than the VVTI Toyota and Honda thingies, possbly less so in the head department.

We have had turbo's for over 20 years now (most on diesels) and have never had a single issue so why suggest they may not be durable.

Lets live in the 21st century, the hot tube ignition single cylinder engine is no longer made.

Best modern petrol engine - SLO76
Agree that VVT systems do complicate matters somewhat (was stung for £600 on a VVT Astra recently) and turbocharging has been around for an age but in my experience (sold thousands of motors over the years) turbocharged cars are more trouble than normally asperated motors as they age. Though nowhere near the bother modern DPF equipped diesels are.

While it's more than just a case of bolting on a turbo, it's more complex than that a big part of the problem is down to the more eager driving characteristics of typical performance car owner and part of it is down to poor maintenance as turbocharged cars run with typically higher under bonnet temperatures thus fresh good quality oil is even more vital. Too many are neglected and as turbos run at very high speeds any loss of oil pressure to them will result in failure, often catastrophic engine failure as the turbo blades break up and are ingested by the engine.

The latest lower pressure more mainstream turbocharged cars may fare better, I predict they will but again they won't take neglect as well as a normally asperated engine and too many sadly don't maintain their cars properly.

The number of times I've went to view a (no offence ladies) female owned motor that hasn't seen spanners in years is frightening. Usual answer "it's got an Mot though" shows one of the biggest reasons for engine problems on older cars, too many of them think an Mot is also a service bizarrely. One old Peugeot 106 I was offered had oil like treacle and an engine about to seize.

Edited by SLO76 on 24/06/2017 at 12:02

Best modern petrol engine - jc2

Ford Sigma(Yamaha)but not the VVT version and the Ford Rocam(1.3 & 1.6)

Best modern petrol engine - John F

Which of the modern petrol engines are proving most reliable and long lasting?

Clearly this is impossible to answer. I would never buy a car unless its engine and gearbox had been around in significant quantities in many countries for several years. By the time a reputation for durability has been achieved, it has ceased to be modern!

Best modern petrol engine - eustace

Most modern petrol engines, even if naturally aspirated, still employ direct injection. The mazda skyactiv engines also fall under this category.

There is still a lot of debate about carbon buid up on direct injection engines, and the jury is still out on whether this has been resolved.

I don't believe any manufacturer has clearly communicated how they have resolved this issue.

The only non DI injections still out there, on Japanese / Korean cars, to the best of my knowledge are; on the Toyota Avensis and the Mitsubishi ASX

SLO76, would like to hear your views on potential carbon build up issues on DI engines...

Best modern petrol engine - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

My 1.4 Tsi , 150 hp, Skoda has an amazing amount of torque and power and the economy is up to 55mpg on long runs. So far the most amazing engine I've had.

Reliabilty remains to be proven

Many years ago I had a Corrado G60 and that had even more , supercharged, stomp- 170hp iirc - but only 37mpg. Only kept that for a year.

Edited by Glaikit Wee Scunner {P} on 25/06/2017 at 16:25

Best modern petrol engine - SLO76
"SLO76, would like to hear your views on potential carbon build up issues on DI engines..."

We did have problems with this on the Mitsubishi Carisma 1.8 GDi when it came out but more modern systems such a Toyota and VAG get round it with dual port fuel injection.

I've never encountered problems with any I've sold or ran over the years but it is still a concern. Unfortunately most modern engines are likely to either already have it or likely adopt it for economy and emissions sake.

I'm no engineer for that matter and can only go on personal experience and to date aside from those early Mitsubishi examples I've never had any trouble with any Japanese petrol engine, even those with GDi and heavy mileages.
Best modern petrol engine - lucklesspedestrian

Another vote for the VAG 1.4 TSi engine. We have it in its 122 bhp form in our 2014 Golf. It's a revelation. No discernible drop off in grunt or flexibility from our previous Mondeo (140) TDCi but smoother, sweeter, likes to rev and averaging 48mpg over the last 12 months. Also no reliability issues so far, touch wood.

The old Honda 1.8 VTEC engine we had in our 2000 Accord was also a fine motor but less economical and only really came alive above 4000rpm or so.

Best modern petrol engine - Avant

I agree - the VAG 1.4 TSI is a superb engine - as I've mentioned before we have this in SWMBO's Audi A1, and it's not only more fun to drive than my diesel Volvo but actually more economical. The 2.0 TSI that I had in the last two Octavias is an equally brilliant engine. I'm sure these engines are as economical as they are because it takes little pressure on the accelerator to make spirited progress.

But also let's hear it for the BMW straight-six. I had this in an old Z3 and am being sorely tempted again to get another oldish 'fun car' with this engine. Plenty of zing when you need it but smooth and torquey (like the TSI) when you need to pootle, as one does for most of the time on UK roads.


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