Let's take a 2009 Camry as an example. It runs on a 2.4l, 2360cc to be exact, engine with 4 cylinders. This means that the capacity of all the 4 cylinders combined would be around 2.4 litres in volume. I have noticed with Japanese cars after around 3.0L they add two more cylinders and make the engine a V6. Why can't you have a 3.0L I4? Or a 2.4L V6? How does it change the engine? I'm assuming that for a 3.0L I4 the cylinders would have to be larger to hold the extra volume. Would that mean that it would take them longer to burn the fuel inside and lead to slower acceleration maybe? Finally does it matter if the car is a 4WD or a 2WD?

  • $\begingroup$ if you search you'll find way back there were some truly enormous 4 cylinder engines, but you are right since the 1960's 3L seems to be the magic cut off. It is largely a trade off of part count (ie cost) vs smoothness, but a really interesting question why that particular size is the trade point. $\endgroup$
    – agentp
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ There is nothing inherently there that forces one design over another. The engine configuration is decided based on cost, design goals, and existing experience and tooling. $\endgroup$ Oct 5 '17 at 13:41

To supplement the other answers, there's definitely a little bit of marketing sprinkled in there. In your case, a V6 "seems" like more engine than a I4. Therefore, a greater perceived value by the consumer.


You can have a 1.6 Litre V6 if you want - currently used in formula one... As to how it changes the engine the inherent balancing of inline 4, v4, V6's, inline 6, straight 8 or v8 does make a difference to how smooth the engine runs.

As to 2wd or 4wd it does not affect the engine as long as it has sufficient power.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there an advantage to a 3.0l I4 over a 3.0L V6? $\endgroup$
    – user21954
    Sep 5 '17 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, smoothness when running and balancing, but there is a difference between a 90 degree V6 and a 60 degree V6 : the 60 degree is inherently smoother as the power stokes are more evenly spaced... Then there is the VR6 by VW... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 5 '17 at 11:31
  • $\begingroup$ Mazda made a production 1.8L V6 a few years back. $\endgroup$ Oct 5 '17 at 13:39

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