The ongoing trend of downsizing and forced induction is necessary for newer engines to be compliant with the ever more rigorous emissions regulations, and some brands like Volvo, hybridize, turbocharge and supercharge their engines.
All of this means that these engines are becoming more and more complex, which further raises the question of long-term reliability. Even though these Volvo engines have shown a great deal of short-term dependability, it’s hard to tell how they’ll do in the long term.
The car industry is ever-evolving and car manufacturers are finding newer ways of making reliable engines. And even though the engines produced today are way more compromised when it comes to complexity, the engineers working on designing these engines are also more and more skilled.
According to Consumer Reports, a few brands make turbocharged engines that are more reliable than an average naturally aspirated engine. Those brands were Honda, Lexus, BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Subaru.
Honda has been building reliable turbocharged engines for years now. Even Toyota, which is the usual Japanese king of engine reliability, cannot match Honda in this regard. This is mostly because Toyota has been a little bit slow at implementing the downsized turbocharged engine tactic.
The Honda Accord, for example, uses a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine has won multiple engine awards for its reliability and dependability. This engine puts out up to 205hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, but it retains a decent MPG result in the process.
The incredible efficiency of this engine is a double-edged sword because, in some instances like in really cold climates, the 1.5L has an issue reaching optimal operating temperatures on idle or on shorter journeys. But in general, the 1.5L Honda turbo 4 is a sturdy engine, and after about 5-6 years into production, it seems like longer-term reliability is also great.
The Honda 1.0L turbo 4 also seems fairly reliable, and all the optimal engine temperature issues have been successfully resolved for this engine. Honda has been on a hot streak when it comes to efficient consumer turbocharged engines for a few years now, and it does not seem like Honda is slowing down anytime soon.
As reputations go, the one associated with Lexus does not get any better. Lexus cars have long been praised for amazing build quality and reliability, and the turbocharged engines found in modern-day Lexus models are also superior in reliability.
This comes as no surprise to many Lexus enthusiasts because Lexus has always been considered a safe buy. The Lexus 2.0T engine is one of the most reliable Lexus engines of all time. Besides reliability, this engine also offers decent 240hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Even though Lexus has mostly offered naturally aspirated engines that have topped the engine reliability charts, this 2.0T offers the same level of reliability but it also increases the efficiency and torque. No matter how you look at it, the 2.0T is a win-win for both Lexus and Lexus customers.
Just like Lexus, Porsche has been topping many reliability charts in recent years. And considering that the 911 is Porsche’s bread and butter, the turbocharged flat 6s found in newer 991.2 and 992 generations also offer amazing power outputs and great reliability as well.
Some questioned the reliability of the 3.0L turbocharged flat 6 when it came out, and thought that the increased complexity was bound to take a toll on the reliability of the engine. But it seems like that’s not the case, as newer 992 generations are offering almost the same engines like the ones found in the 991.2 generation.
The 3.7L turbocharged flat 6 found in the newest 992 Turbo S is one of the most impressive engines in recent years. Not only does this engine offer great reliability, it also offers an amazing power per liter output if you consider that the Turbo S offers 641hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
This power output enables the Turbo S to sprint 0-60mph in less than 2.5 seconds, and a top speed of 205mph is also impressive. If you pair this engine with the latest generation of the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission, it seems like the 992 Turbo S offers one of the most sophisticated powertrains in the entire car industry.
What are the drawbacks of turbocharged engines?
Even though it may seem like turbocharged engines offer a significant step-up in the car industry, there are some aspects in which a turbocharged engine pales in comparison to a good old naturally aspirated beater.
Slower throttle response is one of them. No matter how good a turbocharged engine gets, it will never offer a comparable throttle response to a naturally aspirated engine. The torque curve is also not as linear as the one found on naturally aspirated engines. Plus, on bigger motorsports engines, they don’t sound all that great either.
Is a turbocharged engine better than a supercharged engine?
Turbocharging and supercharging are the two most popular ways of forced induction. The greatest drawback of a turbo is the boost lag, and the greatest drawback of a supercharger is the lackluster efficiency.
Some also consider superchargers to be more reliable, but this is rather questionable as turbochargers have come a long way in recent years. It seems like superchargers tick more boxes, but turbocharging is becoming more and more common.
Is a turbocharged engine better than a hybrid engine?
Hybridization is slowly becoming more and more relevant, and it is only going to increase as time moves on. But the question of which of these two ways of boosting the engine is better depends on what you want to achieve from the engine.
A turbocharger is better at higher speeds, and a hybrid engine saves more fuel, mostly while city driving. We will have to wait a few years before hybrids become more popular, and only then can we truly decide which of these two offers more qualities over the other.