4 Cylinder vs 6 Cylinder – What are the Differences?

When buying a vehicle, whether it’s a brand new Mercedes-Benz or a used Toyota Camry, you have to understand the type of engine it has and how it is better or inferior to other types. The most popular categories are four and six cylinders. Having an in-depth knowledge of 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder will help you make an informed purchase decision.

What Is a 4-Cylinder Engine?

The straight or inline four-cylinder engine features four cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase. The surface on which they are placed could be upright or an inclined plane. The second type is often referred to as slant four-cylinder engines.

4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder
A 4 cylinder engine. Source: ViewTech

What Is a 6-Cylinder Engine?

A 6-cylinder engine features 6 pistons inside the engine mechanism. However, there are differences between a straight-six and a V6 engine. The former one offers great driving balance and easier access for maintenance while the latter one is more compact and fits better in front-wheel drive applications. The supercars these days are littering with V6 engines. You will find them in crowd favorites like Acura NSX, Nissan GT-R, and more.

6 cylinder engine.
A 6 cylinder engine. Source: WhichCar

4 Cylinder vs 6 Cylinder – The Differences

The number of cylinders refers nothing more than the number of pistons inside the engine. So, when you are trying to grasp the concept of 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder engines, the first thing you have to understand that the different names refer to the number of cylinders. However, that difference in cylinder numbers also influences the performance factors.

Performance – The six-cylinder versions are more powerful than their four-cylinder counterparts. They are bigger, faster, and suit better the racing cars. The four-cylinder engine is smaller and cannot produce that much power. However, modern 4 cylinders have more power than their predecessors because of the technological advances.

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For example, an old 6-cylinder in a 2007 Hyundai produces 185 horsepower. You will get the same power from a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport featuring a 2.0-liter engine. The turbocharged model can deliver even more power – 240 horsepower. So, it’s always better to buy a new 4-cylinder than an old model car with a 6-cylinder engine.

4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder
A 6-cylinder 2014 Porsche Cayman S. Source: Teslamotors.com

Fuel Efficiency – A four-cylinder will always be a budget buy because it burns less fuel and fits in smaller cars. If you don’t imagine yourself as Michael Schumacher whenever you drive in an empty highway, buy a 4-cylinder car and save a significant amount on your car budget.

Carbon Emissions – If you think about the environment and are conscious about your carbon footprint, a hybrid car is the best option. But, if the budget does not allow, purchase a 4-cylinder car instead. It is a good alternative since it releases less pollutants into the air. The turbocharged version has even a better fuel-efficiency and less carbon emission.

Applications – Six-cylinder models are more suitable for vehicles with larger engines because the extra power helps in moving their heavy structures. On the other hand, smaller, compact cars use 4-cylinders.