Four-cylinder engines, which were once primarily restricted to the tiniest “econobox” automobiles, have come a long way in recent years and are now standard power sources in a wide range of vehicle kinds and sizes. While four-cylinder engines are primarily utilized to assist automakers in meeting federal fuel economy criteria, smaller does not always imply slower Combining direct injection and turbocharging allows smaller engines to become as powerful as larger – and less fuel-efficient – engines, with plenty of torque to assure rapid launches and highway overtaking power.
The greatest four-cylinder engines in the top SUVs produce 250 or more horsepower with plenty of torque. Well, in this article, we’ll be listing the best 4-cylinder SUVs. When we say best here, we mean the top-rated ones you should be considering. It’s important to note that this is not a sponsored post and that all the 4-cylinder SUVs that we will be listing are based on their performance and reviews in the automotive market industry.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Best 4-cylinder SUVs
In this section, you should be able to find the 4-cylinder SUV that will serve you best, because we’ll be listing and discussing them. The followings are the top-performing and well-rated ones you should be considering:
- 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE
- 2021 Mazda CX-5
- 2021 Honda CR-V
- 2021 Kia Sorento
- 2021 BMW X3
- 2021 Mazda CX-9
- 2021 BMW X1
- 2021 Volvo XC40
- 2021 Kia Sportage
- 2021 Hyundai Kona
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE
According to our research, the best of the best luxury midsize SUV is the Mercedes-Benz GLE. It calms passengers with a smooth ride and a spacious, comfortable, and overall first-rate cabin that has soft-touch materials, exquisite wood trim, and twin digital screens. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE costs $54,750.
Its engine options range from reasonable to ridiculously fast. The standard GLE 350 has a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a nine-speed automated transmission and achieves 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the interstate, according to the EPA.
The GLE comes standard with numerous driver assistance systems, heated front seats, and an entertainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, satellite radio, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen.
2021 Mazda CX-5
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 will cost you $25,270. It is well-regarded for its precision handling and quick acceleration. Furthermore, it has a 187-horsepower four-cylinder engine as standard. The optional turbocharged four-cylinder produces 227 horsepower and has a fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the interstate.
The engines are both paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The interior of the CX-5 is spacious, attractively built, and elegantly appointed. It has an infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen that is mostly operated via a knob in the center console.
The vehicle includes a slew of cutting-edge driver assistance features, including forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keeps assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
2021 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is near the top of our compact SUV rankings. It provides a comfortable ride, easy-going and precise handling, and quick acceleration. The vehicle’s lone powertrain option is a quick 190-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a beautifully refined continuously variable gearbox (CVT). The 2021 Honda CR-V costs roughly $25,350.
According to the EPA, the CR-V gets 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the interstate. The CR-V has a finely finished inside with enough capacity for six-footers in both the front and rear seats, as well as one of the largest cargo bins in its class. The base model comes with a few critical safety technologies but a bare-bones and annoyingly difficult-to-use infotainment system.
Upgrade to a higher trim for a more advanced system that includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and HD Radio.
2021 Kia Sorento
For 2021, Hyundai has completely redesigned the Sorento. It has a new exterior design and a more premium interior. With 191 horsepower and a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the interstate, the base four-cylinder engine is no wimp. The 2021 Kia Sorento will cost around $29,390.
The optional 281-horsepower turbo-four, on the other hand, is faster and achieves comparable mileage at 22/29 mpg city/highway. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly.
The Sorento comes standard with a full suite of driver-support features, including front automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard features of the infotainment system. Many comfort and convenience upgrades are available to upgrade the Sorento to near-luxury status.
2021 BMW X3
Our top-rated premium small SUV for 2021 is the BMW X3. This 2021 BMW X3 will set you back roughly $43,000. It has the same lively handling and eager acceleration as the brand’s classic 3 Series but in a roomier and more practical package. The base 30i model comes with a 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automated transmission. It gets 25 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the interstate.
The X3’s cabin design is simple, yet it looks and feels as upmarket as you’d expect in this class. Power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and an infotainment system with a 10.2-inch widescreen display, navigation, HD radio, satellite radio, and a 12-speaker sound system are all standard features. While Apple CarPlay is standard, Android Auto is not. Automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning are all standard features.
2021 Mazda CX-9
The Mazda CX-9 has a sportier personality than other midsize three-row SUVs. It handles well enough to make the average shopping trip exciting, and its turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine can compete with larger V6 engines seen in other models. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 costs around $33,960.
It produces 227 horsepower on standard fuel and 250 horses on premium fuel. The EPA estimates 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for fuel efficiency. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, but it feels out of date when compared to rival midsize SUVs’ eight- and nine-speed transmissions.
Riders in the CX-9 enjoy a well-designed and lavishly decorated cabin, as well as a well-designed entertainment system with a 10.3-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and six-speaker audio. Mazda offers a comprehensive array of driver assistance systems as standard, including lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front collision warning with pedestrian detection, automated emergency braking, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
2021 BMW X1
The BMW X1 is near the top of our list of luxury subcompact SUVs. It’s difficult to beat with its smile-inducing cornering ability, substantial passenger and baggage space, and snappy acceleration. The price of this 2021 BMW X1 is roughly $35,400. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automated transmission. The X1 has a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
The X1 may be one of BMW’s most affordable automobiles, but it lives up to the brand’s expectations with a well-crafted dashboard trimmed with high-quality materials. Power front seats, automatic climate control, certain crucial accident-avoidance safety systems, and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, seven-speaker audio, navigation, and Bluetooth are all standard.
2021 Volvo XC40
The Volvo XC40 sets apart among luxury subcompact SUVs due to its distinct outward appearance and roomy, comfortable, and tastefully built inside. The 2021 Volvo XC40 costs around $33,700. It also performs admirably with either the base 187-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 248-horsepower option.
The former achieves an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, while the latter gets 22/30 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive. The XC60’s cabin is one of the most appealing and functional in its class, with a big tablet-like infotainment system touch screen and luxury materials such as real wood.
Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and many driver assistance technologies are standard. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and HD Radio.
2021 Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage, like several other cars included here, offers purchasers the option of non-turbocharged or turbocharged four-cylinder engines. You can get it for a price of $23,990. The base 2.4-liter engine makes 181 horsepower, but if you can afford it, the more powerful 2.0-liter 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available in the top SX Turbo version. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the interstate.
The Sportage’s biggest feature is perhaps its comfy and tastefully designed cabin, which is decorated with expensive materials. The basic entertainment system has an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, six speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity. A number of important accident-avoidance measures are standard, including forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
2021 Hyundai Kona
The Hyundai Kona is one of the best subcompact SUVs that has a striking design and an appealing and finely cast interior. It has a well-balanced ride and handling and an optional 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
You can get this 2021 Hyundai Kona for about $20,400. The regular four-cylinder has 147 horsepower and a six-speed transmission, but it only gets 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway; the turbocharged four gets 28/32 mpg city/highway.
The predicted reliability is somewhat above average, but Hyundai’s warranty coverage is particularly comprehensive. The base model includes a nice entertainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as vital safety measures such as forward automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.
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FAQs about 4-cylinder SUVs
What is the most reliable 4-cylinder vehicle?
Determining the “most reliable” 4-cylinder vehicle can be subjective and may vary depending on individual experiences and preferences. However, some brands like Toyota and Honda are generally known for producing reliable vehicles, including those equipped with 4-cylinder engines. Models like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Honda CR-V have historically been praised for their reliability.
Is a 4-cylinder enough for an SUV?
Yes, a 4-cylinder engine can be sufficient for many SUVs, especially smaller or compact models. Modern 4-cylinder engines have improved significantly in terms of performance and fuel efficiency, making them suitable for daily commuting, city driving, and even some light off-road use. However, for larger SUVs or those designed for towing heavy loads, a 6-cylinder engine or larger might be more appropriate.
Does Toyota make a 4-cylinder SUV?
Yes, Toyota offers several SUV models equipped with 4-cylinder engines. Some examples include the Toyota RAV4, Toyota C-HR, and Toyota Highlander (in some markets).
What is the strongest 4-cylinder engine?
In 2021, the title of the strongest 4-cylinder engine belonged to the Mercedes-AMG M139. This engine, used in the Mercedes-AMG A45 and CLA 45, produces over 400 horsepower, which is impressive for a 4-cylinder engine. However, advancements in engine technology are continually being made, so newer models may have since surpassed this performance level.
What is the disadvantage of a 4-cylinder?
While 4-cylinder engines have improved significantly over the years, they do have some potential disadvantages compared to larger engine configurations:
- Less power: Generally, 4-cylinder engines produce less power than 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engines, which can affect performance in certain situations.
- Smaller displacement: With smaller engine sizes, 4-cylinder engines might not provide as much low-end torque, which can impact towing and heavy-load capabilities.
- More stress: Smaller engines may experience higher loads and stress, which could lead to more wear and tear over time.
Which car engine is better: 3-cylinder or 4-cylinder?
The choice between a 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engine depends on the specific vehicle and its intended use. In general, 4-cylinder engines are more common and tend to provide a better balance between performance and fuel efficiency. They also tend to be smoother and offer more power compared to 3-cylinder engines.
On the other hand, 3-cylinder engines are usually smaller and lighter, which can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. They are often found in smaller cars and some compact SUVs. However, they may not provide as much power or refinement as 4-cylinder engines.
Does a 4-cylinder consume more fuel?
Not necessarily. Modern 4-cylinder engines are designed to be more fuel-efficient than their predecessors. In many cases, a well-designed 4-cylinder engine can offer excellent fuel economy, especially in compact cars and smaller SUVs. However, larger and more powerful 4-cylinder engines in bigger SUVs might consume more fuel than smaller engines in compact vehicles.
Should I buy a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder?
The choice between a 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine depends on your driving needs and preferences. Here are some considerations:
- Fuel efficiency: 4-cylinder engines generally offer better fuel economy, making them suitable for daily commuting and city driving.
- Performance: If you value more power and acceleration, a 6-cylinder engine might be a better choice, especially for larger vehicles or towing needs.
- Budget: 4-cylinder models tend to be more affordable than 6-cylinder ones.
- Environmental impact: smaller engines with fewer cylinders generally produce fewer emissions, contributing to lower environmental impact.
What is better than a 4-cylinder?
The answer depends on your specific needs and requirements. If you are looking for more power and performance, engines with more cylinders, such as 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engines, might be better options. However, these engines often come with a trade-off of lower fuel efficiency and potentially higher costs.
Why is a 6-cylinder better than 4?
The superiority of a 6-cylinder engine over a 4-cylinder engine depends on the context. In terms of performance, a 6-cylinder engine typically produces more power and torque, making it suitable for larger vehicles or those with towing needs. However, 6-cylinder engines tend to be less fuel-efficient than 4-cylinder engines. It’s a matter of finding the right balance between performance and efficiency based on your driving preferences.
Which engine is best for long distances?
For long-distance driving, a reliable and fuel-efficient engine is ideal. Both 4-cylinder and some 6-cylinder engines can be suitable for long-distance travel, depending on the vehicle’s size and weight. Many modern 4-cylinder engines are designed to provide sufficient power and excellent fuel economy, making them a good choice for long drives, especially in smaller SUVs or sedans. 6-cylinder engines can offer more power and smoother performance, which might be advantageous for larger SUVs or those carrying heavier loads during long trips.
Which is better: 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder?
The “better” choice among 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, or 8-cylinder engines depends on your specific needs and priorities:
- 4-cylinder: Offers good fuel efficiency and is suitable for daily commuting and smaller vehicles.
- 6-cylinder: Balances power and fuel efficiency, making it suitable for larger vehicles, towing, and those seeking a balance between performance and economy.
- 8-cylinder: Delivers high performance and power, making it suitable for heavy-duty tasks, high-performance vehicles, and those who prioritize acceleration and towing capabilities.
And that’s it for this article, in which we’ve listed and discussed the best 4-cylinder SUVs you should really consider. We also addressed some questions people frequently ask about 4-cylinder SUVs. We hope you were able to find your new favorite one with our guide. If you do, kindly share it with others to also help them find theirs. Thank you for your time; see you around!