The standard engine for a given model will usually be powerful enough for highway driving with moderate loads. However, if you drive on hilly roads, tow a trailer, or equip the car with air conditioning and powerful enough for highway driving with moderate loads. However, if you drive on hilly roads, tow a trailer, or equip the car with air conditioning and power windows and seats, you will probably need a bigger engine. Although a smaller engine is generally cheaper to buy, run, and maintain, if it doesn’t have the power to match the car’s size and weight, it may prove costlier in the long term than a larger engine which doesn’t strain under its load.
The diesel engine usually lasts many thousands of kilometers longer than a gasoline engine, but can be more expensive to maintain. Unlike the gasoline engine, the diesel has no ignition system or carburetor. Instead, diesel fuel is injected at high pressure into combustion chambers above the cylinders. There the mixture is so compressed that its heat ignites the fuel. A diesel engine will give slightly better fuel economy than a gasoline engine of comparable size.
On the minus side, you will pay more for the diesel-powered model of car than for the gasoline model. Because diesels are hard to start in cold weather, you will need a block heater. In fact, a diesel won’t start at all at – 15 degree C (-5 degree F) unless you have installed a block heater and a battery warmer, kept it in a heated garage, or added a fuel conditioner when you filled up. Compared to gasoline engines, most diesels tend to accelerate more sluggishly and idle more noisily. Although it’s a little cheaper than gasoline, diesel fuel may be hard to find in remote areas.
The turbocharged engine can deliver more power on demand than an engine of the same size with no turbocharger – and without sacrificing much fuel economy. Exhaust gases – normally wasted – are recycled to spin a turbine connected to a compressor. The compressor pumps extra fuel and air into the cylinders at very high pressure to boost the engine’s power, particularly when you accelerate or drive at high speeds. At one time found only in high priced sports car, turbocharged engines are now available in many regular automobiles.
Front-wheel drive. Because the weight of its engine is over the traction wheels, and because it is pulled by its front wheels rather than being pushed by its rear wheels, a car with front-wheel drive handles better than one with rear-wheel drive, particularly around curves and on slippery roads.