The tiny engines we love

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT -

Our love af­fair with big en­gine cars is over.

With the devel­op­ment of tech­nolo­gies such as tur­bocharg­ing and di­rect-in­jec­tion over the past decade and some im­pres­sive weight-sav­ing, many car­mak­ers have been pur­su­ing the con­cept of en­gine-down­siz­ing with a pas­sion.

Here are three that we reckon do it best. SUZUKI SWIFT RS So, Suzuki has re­leased a new ver­sion of its pop­u­lar Swift. The new Swift is on av­er­age 135kg lighter than the old one. But here’s some­thing re­ally out of left field, the most ex­pen­sive, top per­for­mance ver­sion ac­tu­ally packs the small­est, yet most pow­er­ful en­ the true spirit of down­siz­ing, Suzuki has jammed a fan­tas­tic 82kw/160nm 1.0-litre three-cylin­der turbo-petrol en­gine into the $25,990 RS model. It brings a bril­liant small-dog-that­thinks-its-a-big-dog growl. SKODA KODIAQ AM­BI­TION The Skoda Kodiaq is a large SUV the same size as a Hyundai Santa Fe, but the en­try-level ver­sions are pow­ered by a 1.4-litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine. A closer look at the num­bers re­veals Skoda’s 110kw Kodiaq out-torques the Santa Fe (250Nm ver­sus 241Nm). The $44,990, 1.4-litre Kodiaq Am­bi­tion+ 4WD can even tow the same 2000kg on a braked trailer as the Hyundai. BMW 318i A BMW 3-se­ries with a three­cylin­der en­gine? That’s right, the new 318i has the 100kw/220nm 1.5-litre turbo-triple from the Mini, but matched to an eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box. It’s an idio­syn­cratic but still-im­pres­sive ex­ec­u­tive car and it costs (just) less than $60k. More im­por­tantly, the 318i is a sweet drive. Less weight up front makes the lit­tle BMW an even bet­ter steer and while it isn’t rapid, it’s far from slow.

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