The Real Truth Behind Turbo Fuel-Efficiency

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Turbo, turbo, turbo… Turbo all the things. At least that’s how modern era vehicle manufacturing seems to be all about. Manufacturers promise amazing fuel-efficiency and mind-blowing performance, but is that really case?

Say the word turbocharger a few years back, and all everyone could think was power, acceleration, sports cars, and hooniganism. Oh how have things changed. Say turbocharger now, or even better, use the word EcoBoost, and most people seem to think of green leafy trees and even hybrid power plants. Why? Genius marketing campaigns.

Fuel-efficiency-centric automotive websites like Consumer Reports, Green Car Reports, and The Globe and Mail, have currently reported that it’s nearly impossible to match EPA testing figures displayed on window stickers, during real world testing—even when their journalists and test drivers are master’s of hyper-miling.


See, the thing is that turbos are excellent for delivering horsepower out of engines with small displacement, but in order for them to deliver peak fuel-efficiency they must operate on a very narrow and fine range. If you’re anywhere outside that range, you’re SOL and quickly burning more fuel than a naturally aspirated engine with large displacement would.

Test results for the Ford Focus, Escape and other EcoBoost models have shown that if driven the way “most” people drive, they deliver worse fuel efficiency than their naturally aspirated counterparts. Which begs to ask the question, are turbocharged engines simply in existence to please the various environmental and government agencies around the world? Most likely.

What do you think?

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Story via: [The Globe and Mail]

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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