4-cylinder engine vs. 6-cylinder engine - How are they different?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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4-cylinder engine vs 6-cylinder engine - What are the major differences? How do you choose between the two? Click here now to read more and understand better

Are you just hearing about 4-cylinders or 6-cylinder engines? You shouldn’t be. When looking to buy a car, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Tokunbo Toyota or brand-new Mercedes-Benz. You have to be conscious and well informed of the type of engine present in the cars you see on the auto market. You need understand how the engines differ from one another, how their performance compares, how one engine could be superior to the other and what makes the difference. 
One of such things that Naijauto.com thinks you should know about is the difference between a 4-cylinder engine and a 6-cylinder engine. 

1. A 4-cylinder engine – What is it?

Don’t be surprised that the names giving to these engines most times already tells a lot about them. As the name 4-cylinder implies, this type of engine features four cylinders. 


4-cylinder engines could be inline four or slant type

And for the engines referred to as inline four (i4) or straight-four engine, they feature 4 cylinders also but their four cylinders are mounted along the crankcase in a straight line. The could be placed on an inclined plane or upright surface. And the second type of 4-cylinder engine is called “slant 4-cylinder engines” in automotive terms.

2. A 6-cylinder engine – What is it?

This type of engine is kind of different a bit. The inside of the engine mechanism has 6 pistons. Nonetheless, the V6 and straight-six engines have some differences. For front-wheel drive applications, the V6 engine fits better and its more compact. 


Most supercars and luxury cars feature the V6 (6-cylinder) type of engine

And when you talk of an engine having easier access for its maintenance while it also offers great driving balance then, the straight-six engine offers all these features. It is common today to find most supercars having the V6 (6-cylinder) engines featured inside them. Most crowd favorite cars like Nissan GT-R, Acura NSX, and some others feature these V6 (6-cylinder) type of engine. 

3. Differences between a 4-cylinder and a 6-cylinder engine

The cylinder numbers which you hear around e.g. 4 or 6 is referring to no other thing than the actual number of pistons present in such an engine. A 4-cylinder will have four pistons while a 6-cylinder will have six pistons in the engine of the vehicle. So, if you are trying to understand the concept behind 4-cylinders and 6-cylinder engines, you should start by grasping the fact that the number of cylinders in these engines is already specified in their names. Nonetheless, you should also know immediately that the performance factors of the engines are influenced by this difference in cylinder number.

3.1. Engine performance

Obviously, the four-cylinder versions are less powerful compared to the six-cylinder versions. The six-cylinder engines suit the racing cars better as they are faster and bigger as well. While the four-cylinder engines cannot produce such power because they are smaller compared to the six-cylinder counterparts. However, technological advances in the modern four-cylinder engines have now made them posses more power compared to the older versions.


An old 6-cylinder engine will have lower performance when compared to a modern 4-cylinder engine

An interesting example of how these modern 4-cylinder engines’ performance can be found in a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport which features the 2.0L engine version. As a matter of fact, the turbocharged variant of this same car delivers a whooping 240hps. Now comparing this same vehicle’s modern 4-cylinder engine to an old six-cylinder engine inside any 2007 Hyundai car which could only produce 185hps. The gap is very clear, isn’t it? If you are not on a limited budget, you should always choose a newer model car that features a modern 4-cylinder engine over any old car model that has a six-cylinder engine type. 

3.2. Engine’s fuel efficiency

All 4-cylinder engines have an edge over the 6-cylinder ones when it comes to fuel efficiency as they fit well in small cars, burns less fuel and are always a budget buy. If you don’t have wild imaginations of being a Michael Schumacher on the road, you should save yourself a ton of money from your car budget by buying a four-cylinder car. You might thank us later if you do 😊.

3.3. Engine’s carbon emissions

When buying a car, a hybrid car is by far the best option for anyone thinking about the immediate environment and possible carbon footprint of cars. However, if your budget is kind of low and will not allow for such, then a 4-cylinder featured vehicle will be a good alternative.  Reason being that four-cylinder engines releases fewer air pollutants compared to other engine types. And guess what? You would even get lesser carbon emission and better fuel-efficiency if you got a modern turbocharged 4-cylinder engine variant.

Should You BUY a 4- or 6-CYLINDER Car

3.4. Engine applications

Just as you would be aware that more power helps to move the heavy structures of bigger vehicles. Then you wouldn’t surprised to know that most of the models of larger vehicles are powered by 6-cylinder engines. These six-cylinder engines are the most suitable for providing this extra power that is needed. 
And you could also guess that because of the huge size of most of these larger vehicles, it wouldn’t really make sense to have them featuring a small engine such as the 4-cylinder types. Just as it wouldn’t also make sense at all, to have a small vehicle featuring a big 6-cylinder engine that zaps more fuel, produces more emissions and would probably protrude out of the small car’s framework. The best engine types that would fit well into the larger spaces will obviously be the larger 6-cylinder engine types.

4. Conclusion

Did you read this article from the beginning till this part? If you did read it all, then there isn’t much to say anymore as regards 4-cylinder vs 6-cylinder engine differences. You would at this stage know the differences in their various sizes, structures and most suitable applications to vehicles. You would have also known why one type is best for some cars and why the other won’t fit. If you haven’t taken time to read the whole piece and you probably just scrolled to this part, sorry. We advise you go back and spend a few minutes to read through. All the info you need lies up above.

So, if you are really looking to buy a car, Naijauto believes with all the info provided above, you should be able to choose wisely between different cars with either 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engines. Meanwhile, check out our best listings of New, Tokunbo and Nigerian used cars for sale in Nigeria. We have both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder featured cars in our listings. Check them out!

Oluwaseun Solomon
Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

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Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at Naijauto.com. He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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