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What Car Engine Size is Right for You?

There’s not much more important when it comes to car driving than engine sizes, or engine sizes in general if you’re shopping around. Make the wrong choice and you’re probably going to regret it for a pretty long time. To get the right one, however, you need to look at what the differences are, how they affect your driving, and what you should keep in mind the whole time for the long and short term.

All of that sounds like a lot to take in, and it is in all fairness. If you aren’t in the know about cars already, things can always get hectic. The best thing you can do for yourself is to read articles like this from reputable sources like CarExamer and find out what’s what. See also how engine works.

Let’s break it down.

Small Engines

The first choice for a lot of people in their car-buying journey is to look for smaller engine cars. These are usually 1 Litre, 1.2 or 1.4 litre engines, and they’re all roughly within the same kind of power categories depending on what car you buy. They’re usually petrol too (which can be a win on its own).

Generally speaking, these can be the best choice for you too, depending on what you’re going to do with the car after all. The purpose of your car is always at the centre of your driving, so keep that in mind. These smaller engine cars are often the perfect thing for short commutes and long-lasting fuel (with economical driving). They’re typically the cheapest option too. See how catalytic converter works.


  • Perfect for Short distances
  • Great Fuel Economy


  • Smaller Cars
  • Less Power

Medium Engines

Taking things up a notch, this is where the mid-range cars come in. these aren’t usually powerhouses, but they are often a great middle of the road choice. These are things like 1.6 & 1.8 litre engines. You’re looking ta more power already, but more cots too.

With a larger engines size, there are a few things you still need to remember here too. There’s a reason these aren’t often peoples first cars after al. the insurance on them is likely going to be a little more than before. With extra power comes extra responsibility after all.


  • Perfect for Mid-Range Driving
  • Economical and Comfortable


  • Pricier
  • May still be smaller

Large Engines

You probably already saw this one coming, but on the final end of the scale is the larger engine cars, and these are things seriously vague if you don’t know what you’re looking for. They can be anything 2 Litre plus, and that includes everything from your executive or luxury cars like larger Mercedes and Audis through to Landrovers and 4x4s, and then even all the way into the sportier categories. That’s a huge range of cars.

The benefits of these cars speak for themselves. They are almost always going to be much more powerful than anything else on the list, but that, of course, comes with them being the most expensive on the list. With that being said, they’re usually the most sought after (and probably the most enjoyable drive to). That all comes down to preference and the type of car you go for. Getting an executive-level business car is going to be better for commuting 50 miles to work every day or travelling for meetings, whereas a Porsche may be a little faster. You get the idea.


  • Comfier
  • More powerful


  • Vague
  • Expensive

Turbo Engines

One huge factor of engine sizes that can apply to any of these categories is turbocharging technology, and that’s something we need to talk about before we go onto the next level of car engines. The application of a turbo engine can be a complete game-changer to any of the categories and can add more power to cars without needing to be larger engines.

Anything from a 1Litre engine to a 4Litre engine can be turbocharged, and it immediately adds way more power to the vehicle. That means that even with a smaller car, you don’t always have to sacrifice speed or power (like with hot hatches). Don’t forget to add that into your decision!


  • Power
  • Economy


  • Insurance


Taking things away from petrol and diesel engines that cover all of the engine sizes we’ve looked at, there’s another huge up and coming engine type too, and that changes the concept of engine sizes entirely. Electric motors take things in the complete opposite direction. The power of these cars comes from a whole new form of fuel, which is battery-powered electricity. (see here for more)

The benefits of these machines speak for themselves. An electric motor, of course, uses no fuel, which is the biggest selling point. It’s better for the environment and better for your fuel economy (after you get passed the typically higher price tag). It may be a little more inconvenient to find a charging point, but new innovations are coming out all the time to make these better and better for your car choice. They are still complex machines though, and like all cars, they can still have trouble. Keep that in mind.


  • Economical
  • Powerful


  • Can be inconvenient
  • Potentially less power


Finally, before we take this any further, let’s look at another game-changer that is a lot like turbocharging. Things aren’t always as black and white as picking the right engine size. Hybrid technology is probably the best example of that, even if they are complicated machines (and there can be more to go wrong).

When you add all of the benefits of an electric motor to the benefits of a medium engine like most hybrids do, you really can get the best of both worlds. Usually, they are self-charging from the electric side of things, and then the lower fuel usage protects you there too. It’s a win-win without much more price either.


  • Economy
  • Combines all other benefits


  • New
  • Costly

Things to remember: Fuel, comfort, power, purpose, price

With all of that said and done, the rest is up to you. Always remember what you need the car to do before you weight in the engine size. Remember the economy, the cost, the comfort, the power and the price. All of these things reflect differently on each other, and we all have different needs.

Happy driving!

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