We love small turbo engines but it seems there is a ways to go till the technology catches up with the claims, Consumer Reports investigates.
Small turbocharged engines are marketed as delivering the power of a large engine, with the fuel economy of a smaller one. That’s a tempting proposition, but our testing shows these small-displacement turbos are not delivering on the promises.
By now, we’ve tested many cars with these engines, and lots of competitors with traditional, naturally-aspirated power-plants, big and small. Generally, the turbocharged cars have slower acceleration and no better fuel economy than the models with bigger, conventional engines. Looking at EPA fuel-economy estimates (calculated based on laboratory tests), some of these cars’ turbocharged engines seem to have an advantage. But we found those results don’t match the findings from our own fuel-economy tests.