Engine tussle: Naturally aspirated vs. turbocharged

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It’s no secret that engines are one of, if not the, most important part of a vehicle. Without it, your car simply won’t run. In addition, many of your ride’s attributes — power, torque, and speed — rely on what it has under the hood.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What are the advantages of naturally aspirated engines?

    Naturally aspirated engines have no lag and are more affordable to maintain.
  • What are the advantages of turbocharged engines?

    Turbocharged engines are more fuel-efficient in the long run as they boost the power of small-displacement engines.
  • That said, we’re going to take a look at two of today’s most popular engine types to find out which of them is better.

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    Naturally aspirated

    The term naturally aspirated only means that an engine’s air intake depends solely on atmospheric pressure. Because a naturally aspirated engine does not rely on forced induction, vehicles equipped with such power plants do not experience lag. In addition, these types of engines also offer superior low-end power which is perfect for when you’re hauling heavy cargo or towing a trailer. Furthermore, naturally aspirated engines are also cheaper to maintain as they have fewer components and use more rudimentary technology.

    Naturally aspirated engines also have their drawbacks. Naturally aspirated engines aren’t as efficient as turbocharged engines and will consume more fuel than their turbocharged counterparts.

    Turbocharged

    As we’ve briefly covered above, turbocharged engines are more efficient than naturally aspirated ones. With the help of a turbocharger, smaller displacement power plants can produce more torque and power. A turbocharged engine forces air into the combustion chamber which then boosts the smaller displacement engine’s power, allowing it to get the same performance as its larger sibling.

    The added boost though, does not come instantaneously. The turbine does need to spool up before the push from the turbocharger kicks in. And when it comes to maintenance, turbocharged models could come with a more expensive bill.

    Verdict

    Choosing between engine types depends on one’s preferences. However, with many of today’s automotive brands shifting their focus to more fuel-efficient offerings, it’s easy to see that turbocharged engines could be the future.

    A good example is the Toyota Raize. Launched as an SUV, the range-topping variant gets a decent 1.0-liter engine but makes 10 horses more than the Toyota Raize variants equipped with a 1.2-liter naturally aspirated engine — all thanks to a turbocharger.

    Photos from Ruben Manahan

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