With the V8 engine is losing its foothold, it seems like the V6 engine may suffer the same fate.

Don’t act too surprised, this move has been hinted at since 2010, when the newly designed Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima went on sale.

“Those cars really showed that a turbo 4-cylinder can put out power,” says Devin Lindsay, powertrain analyst at IHS.

Back then, it was revealed that there won’t be a single V6 engine available in the two Korean mid-size sedans. It was an unbelievable decision in the face of the competition from Honda, Ford, Toyota and GM, who were all boasting six-cylinder engines and smooth delivery of over 200 horsepower.

But Kia and Hyundai had what the drivers wanted with little compromise. The Optima and Sonata jumped to the top of the totem-pole in terms of fuel-economy and power. The upgrade in power comes from the addition of direct injection and turbocharging, which optimizes an engine’s use of fuel. Combine that new technology with the lower weight of the Optima and Sonata (possible because the chassis doesn’t need to hold a heavier V6), and the fuel advantages of four-cylinders became a success over the power of a V6.

“It’s a good combination: vehicles are getting lighter, so they don’t need the V6 anymore to give you that performance feel,” says Lindsay
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