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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #137: The low revs of high-stroke misery motors

Instant karma's gonna getcha! How the nice old lady in the GMC Terrain must have laughed as I bounced my carotid artery off the seatbelt of a trendy-bronze 2022 Civic Si-right next to her on the road. The scenario was this: I'd been following her down a one-lane road at approximately 20 mph below the posted limit of 45 mph.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-137-the-low-revs-of-high-s...
28 REPLIES 28
Idaneck
Pit Crew

I’ve had many Hondas; b-series, h-series, k-series and even a c-series motor. All great, but this is disappointing. Maybe the k20 is better but if the Integra only comes with a 1.5l then it’s off my list. Time to get a Coyote before they’re gone.
Brash
Intermediate Driver

1) I assume your Godzilla reference means your deceased Silverado is being replaced with a Ford?
2) Do you think that if you fitted the ZX14 engine to that civic that the resultant car would be as much fun (relatively) as the bike is?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

1) affirmative
2) It would certainly be more interesting than it is now!
hyperv6
Racer

I never understood the I have to rev a lot or it is no good thinking. To me that is like putting a piece of cardboard in the spine of your bike just to think the noise makes you faster. Or worse the sound fed to the audio they now do.

Look I am a results guy and if the results are 8500 or 1500 RPM I don’t care. Just give me good power and torque over a wide range and it matters little where it is found.

My 2.0 Turbo made torque from 1500-just over 6000 RPM. The wide flat range was a joy. The Torque was available low and continued to the upper number it was a blast. 

Even in my V8 Ram Air Pontiac days the range was there and it did not matter where as long as I had it and used it.

Then if you are racing you matched the cam to where you wanted the power to be depending where you wanted it for what you were doing.

jp182
Pit Crew

Gotta agree, more turbo torque means not needing to downshift and redline to pass someone on the highway. It does mean you have to pay attention to the tach Jack.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Guilty as charged!
CitationMan
Gearhead

Can’t believe I have to write this, but revving, downshifting, and watching the tach are all GOOD things. Jeez.
miata93
Instructor

"you matched the cam to where you wanted the power to be"
As well as the rear end gearing.
DaveH
Detailer

That's why I prefer positive displacement blowers over anything. In the stoplight Grand Prix, I'm across the intersection before they've even built any boost and gone 10 feet. Gear or RPM doesn't really matter- it goes.  Sure,after almost triple digit speeds the turbo with same hp/weight will pass me- but those are the speeds when you get arrested, and I never go over that.

 

relton
Advanced Driver

A good automatic transmission would have avoided the whole problem.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

So would calling an Uber!
Tango42
Pit Crew

Jack, I luv ya buddy, but that VQ comment hit me right where it hurts. I've driven a wide range of things over the years, from screaming bikes that didn't wake up till after 9K, to big V8 torque monsters that didn't need to go over 1500 in normal driving. I am admittedly just emerging from a long drought (kids will do that) and picked up a G35 6MT on the cheap to liven things up a bit. I've been thoroughly enjoying my commutes again, and I actually like the feel and sound of the VQ - why so much hate?
Idaneck
Pit Crew

Ever since they came out, they sounded terrible. However, I just got done with a trashed-out brand new Armada and that V8 sounds pretty good. Nissan, the modern day Pontiac.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

If you like the sound of it, then congratulations -- you have a durable, powerful engine that you enjoy, and no drawbacks. For the record, that's how I feel about the Radical double-Busa V8 -- most people think it's garbage but I don't mind the sound at all.

All I'll say is that I personally can't stand the VQ and I'm very far from alone in this. That being said, it's worse in the short-wheelbase Z-cars than it is in the G-Skylines, and worst of all on "track tuned" Z-cars.
FatBabyDriver
Intermediate Driver

I loved the feel and sound of the engine in my G35 as well. I had a G37 service loaner once, and it was thoroughly unpleasant by comparison. Maybe most of the charm was lost when they upsized the engine.
DogGone
Intermediate Driver

The answer, as I see it, is to opt for the cheaper Civic Sport Hatchback 6MT, featuring the square (86 mm x 86 mm) K20C2. While not a powerhouse by any measure, it is a free-breathing, free-revving engine, and a nostalgic trip back to the Honda days of old. As a bonus, the hatch offers a nice alternative to the anodyne CR-V (which, incidentally, is also afflicted by essentially the same "woke" engine as in the Si).
miata93
Instructor

Jack, It seems as though Mazda was able to stretch the redline in the Miata ND engines from 6800 to 7500 without changing the bore/stroke ratio. Maybe it's due to exploiting electronic tuning and direct injection. We recently purchased the Mazda3 Turbo. It is more fun and less expensive than our rotor eating Audi A6 2.7T ever was. It lets us stay away from the distracted and the people who don't understand simple Newtonian physics. The engine also sounds great when you open it up.
The next and perhaps last iteration of the ICE will have solenoid activated valves which will let you go from a 2 stroke for acceleration down to a 4 stroke 2 cylinder for cruising.
As far as the present trend of long stroke "truck engines" in hatches and sedans is concerned, the adage is "HP wins at Bonneville; torque wins at the track."
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The ND story is an interesting one. The car was intended to have a global engine: the high-revving 1.5-liter Skyactiv that I tested in Spain for R&T seven years ago. The two-liter USA engine was a last-minute installation from the Mazda3. It had a budget valvetrain and low-cost materials.

For the ND2, they brought the two-liter up to the 1.5 specs and gave it the engine it should have had all along.

Under the category of "mea culpa", after driving the world 1.5L car I was certain that the 2-liter ND1 would be even better, and I said so. It wasn't.
Nick_D
Intermediate Driver

I've got the FWD version of the 1.5 Skyactiv-G in my Not-a-Toyota Yaris. It does like the upper end of the tach and sounds good doing it, but one must remain mindful 106hp equates to roughly 49 hair dryers.

I'd also note that max speed in gear across Civic Si generations remans about the same, but the Cahokia Mound shaped powerband alters the equation from the K-powered ones (particularly that from the K24 in my Accord Sedan 6MT).
CJinSD
Instructor

I looked at a road test of the new Si. It is 0.8 seconds slower to sixty miles per hour than my fifteen-year-old Si was when the same magazine tested it. They do claim that the new one gets considerably better gas mileage, but that's not what I bought the car for all those years ago. A Honda powered by a low-revving heat pump is like an Alfa Romeo powered by a low revving heat pump, only more so when you consider that the long-running Alfa twin-cam didn't really sing at high engine speeds once displacement exceeded 1,600 ccs.
kyree-williams
Detailer

Ah, so you ordered some sort of Ford Super Duty. That solves the mystery; I was wondering what the surprise truck was. I'm surprised you didn't buy a 3/4-ton instead of the Silverado 1500 (even if it did have Max Tow and the 6.2, IIRC?), to begin with...given that you tow race trailers and such.

Out of our four cars, one is square, two are oversquare, and one is undersquare. One of the oversquare ones is a flat engine, which makes sense; I can't imagine having an undersquare flat engine, because the block would otherwise be unnecessarily wide.

- 2005 Town Car Signature Limited: 4.6-liter "Modular 2V" V8 -- 90.2 x 90 mm (square)
- 2011 LS 460L AWD: 4.6-liter "1UR-FSE" V8 -- 94 x 83 mm (oversquare)
- 2022 Outback Touring XT: 2.4-liter "FA24F" turbocharged H4 -- 94 x 86 mm (oversquare)
- 2022 X5 xDrive45e: 3.0-liter "B58" turbocharged I6 with PHEV capabilities -- 82 x 94.6 mm (undersquare)

Just out of curiosity--and completely unrelated--what do you think of the final Lincoln Continental versus the Cadillac CT6, as far as the way they drive and ride? Despite being transverse-FWD-based, I find myself drawn more to the Lincoln's design. But what say you?

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I *want* to prefer the CT6, because it's what we always asked for: a clean-sheet RWD sedan somewhere between a Five and a Seven. But the Continental has a much nicer interior and more traditional styling. I could be happy with either one, but I suspect I'd be happier in the Continental.
Flashman
Technician

So, is the title a reference to Traffic? Such an obscure, maybe even clever, pun. My 28-year-old Porsche 968 has decidedly oversquare dimensions (104 x 88 mm). Nonetheless it has a redline of 6400 RPM (I have bumped the rev limiter on occasion), probably because it was designed as a V8. Not what one would expect from a sports car, but it compensates by having decent torque. This is what you need in normal around-town driving, when you don't use 6 speeds. It does have a little bit of a rumble, which could also be interpreted as compensation.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The 968 is one of those cars that should be terrible but instead is a real joy. I'd love to own one and should have gotten in when they were fifteen grand.
turbobill
Intermediate Driver

I have to take exception to one thing you said. "long stroke engines also have more torque than their short stroke equivalents". By equivalent I assume you mean same displacement and everything else being equal?

Not necessarily true.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I miss revy happy engines. The new Civic is a slight disappointment to me in the engine department.
mhealy1
Advanced Driver

Your graphic illustrates another potential problem with long stroke engines: ring and bore wear. The pistons travel a greater distance, at a higher speed, than the pistons in a short-stroke engine. Now of course, modern materials may overcome that issue up but…did anyone notice that undersquare Hyundai/Kia motors have gained quite the reputation as oil-burners?
hyperv6
Racer

I never understood the need for sone for high RPM only.

To me you learn the engine and get what it gives.

Or with most modern Turbo engines give me a wide flat torque curve. Then you just worry about keeping traction not to pop the waste gate.

Even now the V6 in my truck makes power 3,000 to right around 6,000. I just drive it where it works. To me this is what makes cars interesting.