The 4-cylinder SUVs came into existence as manufacturers transitioned to smaller engines and electric systems to reduce emissions.

The perception of 4-cylinder engines as insufficient for SUV power has evolved over time. Even the Land Cruiser from the early 2000s had a 3-liter, 4-cylinder diesel engine that could easily travel 400,000 miles.

SUVs are often big, practical vehicles. While some have excellent off-road performance and big engines, there are also several excellent 4-cylinder SUV options.

But not everyone makes full use of these vehicles. So, occasionally a customer only requires a roomy daily driver that uses little gasoline.

These crossovers are typically smaller than their more capable siblings, making them easier to park and more economical to own. The SUV, often equipped with a turbo for enhanced efficiency and performance, is not less reliable than conventional 4-cylinder models.

What are Cylinders?

Engine cylinders are only empty spaces. Each cylinder has a piston, which is a cylindrical piece of solid metal. Pistons oscillates in the cylinders to drive your car turn fuel into power.

The procedure begins when the piston descends, allowing fuel and air to combine in the cylinder through an inlet.

This process continues as the piston returns to the cylinder, compressing the fuel and air mixture to make it combustible. Next, the mixture is lit up using a spark plug. The piston is redirected by the spark, and an outlet valve opens to release the exhaust gases. To produce power, the process occurs inside each cylinder very quickly and repeatedly.
The less popular diesel engine follows a similar method to ignite the mixture without requiring a spark plug.

The fuel and air combination is compressed by the engine until pressure causes it to ignite. There are four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesel engines, but comparing the two follows a similar pattern to that of gasoline engines.

What does 4 cylinders mean?

The engine has four cylinders, which is as easy to understand as it sounds.

This indicates that the car is powered by four cylinders, four pistons, and four fuel injectors. The advantages of a 4-cylinder engine are as follows:
In general, 4-cylinder engines are fuel-efficient and an excellent investment if you’re searching for a cheap, dependable car.

Your carbon footprint is less affected by 4-cylinder engines than by 6-cylinder ones. Note that smaller, more maneuverable, and easier-to-park compact cars typically have 4-cylinder engines.

Best 4-cylinder SUVs

4 Cylinder SUVs: Hyundai Kona N

By providing high-performance and pleasant driving qualities in a cost-effective compact crossover car, the Kona N defies conventional wisdom.

In 2023, the vehicle will maintain its desirable blend of athletic handling, breathtaking performance, and charm despite its unusual body shell.

The front wheels receive power through an eight-speed dual-wet-clutch transmission.
The Hyundai Kona N’s base price of $34,700 does not include a destination fee of $1,295.

The back seat has limited space and scratchy interior materials. Hence, on poor roads, the ride quality is incredibly stiff-legged.

4 Cylinder SUVs: Toyota Rav4

One of the fiercest rivals in this market has been the RAV 4’s gas and hybrid engines. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and an eight-speed automated transmission power the gas-powered variant.

While a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 219 horsepower is also included as standard equipment in the hybrid.
The hybrid’s fuel efficiency is also very good. It achieves 38 city mpg and 41 highway mpg.

4 Cylinder SUVs: Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in five different trims, each featuring a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter Smartstream GDI/MPI hybrid engine.

Five trim levels are available for the Hybrid Santa Fe: SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy.

The SE base trims offer numerous interior and exterior features, while the XRT trim is designed for off-road adventures.
All trims with the FWD drivetrain share a combined fuel capacity of 26 mpg. AWD offers lower fuel economy, with a combined 24 mpg and a city/highway 22 mpg.
Between the many trims, the Hybrid Hyundai Santa Fe’s price varies. The Calligraphy trim is the most costly trim, with a beginning MSRP of $41410.

The SE trim has a starting MSRP of $27700, the SEL is $29450, the XRT is $32750, the Limited is $39410, and the Calligraphy is the SE trim.

4 Cylinder SUVs: Subaru Ascent

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is an excellent choice for those seeking a spacious SUV with ample space for up to eight passengers while maintaining a stylish appearance.

There are seven different trims available, each with a different amount of inside and external features.

Base, Premium 8-Passenger, Premium 7-Passenger, Onyx Edition 7-Passenger, Limited 8-Passenger, Limited 7-Passenger, and Touring 7-Passenger are the Subaru Ascent trim levels.

Only the Base and Premium 8-passenger trims come with 8 seats. The other trims all offer plenty of room for 7 passengers. There is a 2.4L Turbocharged SUBARU BOXER 4-cylinder engine in every 2022

Subaru Ascent model.

The Base and Premium models have the highest fuel economy, with highway mileage of 27 mpg and city mileage of 21 mpg.

All 7 models offer 260 hp @ 5600 rpm and 277lb-ft @ 2000–4800 rpm, with symmetrical all-wheel drive available in all trims.

The base trim of the Subaru Ascent costs $32,795; the most opulent and spectacular model, the Touring, costs $45,945.

Volvo XC40

Despite the Volvo XC40’s advanced age, its competitors have failed to dethrone it from the top spot in the market for subcompact luxury SUVs. The Volvo XC40 B4 Core, which has a starting MSRP of $36,550 in the USA, offers the finest value in the portfolio.

The B4 Plus and B4 Ultimate are the two subsequent models in the range priced at $40,950 and $44,700, respectively. Due to the AWD and more powerful B5 engine, the Volvo XC40 costs $2,000 more in every situation.
Volvo’s XC40 is the best premium subcompact SUV due to its extensive capabilities and success, making it a formidable competitor.

The city car excels due to its competitive space for passengers and their belongings, along with numerous convenient storage options. Particularly the B5, which has good performance and a smooth drive. Thanks to its tuned ride and handling, the XC40 rarely makes a mistake.

Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevy Equinox is a budget-friendly 4-cylinder SUV with a starting MSRP of $25,800, ideal for those seeking a smaller vehicle.

The LS, LT, RS, and Premier trim levels for the 2022 Equinox are available. Additionally, buyers have the choice between an AWD and a FWD layout.
The 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine from Chevrolet, despite being a turbocharger, produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque.

You can count on a Chevy Equinox to get good fuel economy, whether you plan to spend more time driving in the city or on the interstate.

The Equinox, with a 14.9 gallons gasoline tank, has an estimated fuel economy of 26 mpg in cities and 31 mpg on the interstate.

Ford Explorer

A midsize crossover SUV with 3 rows of seating and room for up to 7 passengers, the 2022 Ford Explorer comes with 8 different trims—Explorer, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum. Thus, the Ford Explorer offers a wide range of options.

The Ford Explorer has three alternative engine choices for each model, including the 2.3L EcoBoost 1-4, 3.0L EcoBoost V6, and the 3.3L Hybrid.

The 4-cylinder in the Ford Explorer does not offer as much torque as the V6 and Hybrid engines, but you shouldn’t be dissatisfied with the 310lb-ft of torque at 3500 RPM.

According to EPA estimates, the Platinum Ford Explorer gets 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the interstate at higher speeds. The base trim of the 2022 Ford Explorer costs $34010, while the Premium trim costs $52125.

GMC Terrain

The 2022 GMC Terrain is a small crossover SUV that comes next. Although it may not be the roomiest of compact crossovers, this SUV has five seats, and drivers have praised both its performance and variety of features.

SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali are the four trim levels offered for the 2022 GMC Terrain. A 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission are standard across all models.
The Terrain’s estimated city and highway fuel economy ratings are 25 mpg and 28 mpg, respectively.

These aren’t the finest figures we’ve seen on this list, but they’re also not horrible; to get the best fuel economy, you might just need to drive a little more carefully.

Compared to other SUVs of comparable size, the 2022 GMC Terrain’s performance capabilities leave something to be desired, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the power to get you where you need to go with ease.

Honda CR-V:

For many years now, one of the most well-liked and dependable small crossover SUVs in the USA has been the Honda CR-V.

Eight trim levels are offered for the most recent model: LX, Special Edition, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The most recent CR-V has an In-Line 4-cylinder turbocharged engine in every grade.
Non-hybrid engines offer optimal performance, with 190 horsepower at 5600 RPM and 179 lb-ft of torque at 2000–5000 RPM.

Despite lacking power, hybrid engines still offer a respectable 143 horsepower at 6200 RPM and 129 lb-ft of torque at 3500 RPM.

The fuel efficiency of the Honda CR-V varies depending on whether it has a hybrid or standard engine, as well as an AWD or 2WD powertrain.

Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is the next SUV and one of the top four-cylinder SUVs. One of the most opulent SUVs we’ve discussed on our list, this premium mid-size SUV has enough room for five passengers.

The 40 TFSI, 45 TFSI, and 55 TFSI e Plug-in Hybrid trims of the Audi Q5 are offered, along with Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige packages.

The 2L 4-cylinder engine in the Audi Q5 can produce a maximum torque of 236 lb-ft. Note that the 4-cylinder engine’s output is 201 horsepower, and its fuel economy ratings are 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the interstate.

The Hybrid 55 TFSI is the finest choice for performance in terms of torque and horsepower. This trim’s 4-cylinder hybrid engine can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, producing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.

The starting price for the Audi Q5’s many models ranges from $43300 for the 40 TFSI to $64800 for the 55 TFSI e Plug-in Hybrid.


Although using a 4-cylinder engine in an SUV may not be conventional, more and more car makers are coming to the conclusion that having fewer cylinders means more in terms of performance.

The potency of the 4-cylinder engine has been recognized by household names like Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Audi, and Subaru.

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