V6 vs. V8: It’s Not Just About the Power

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 4 min read
One of the most important choices that folks will make when they're
buying a car
is what engine to put in their new car. And, in terms of high-performance engines, the V8 is not only
iconic for American muscle cars
, but it's also an option on many other types of vehicles. 
However, V8s may not always be the best pick. Here's a comparison between the V6s and the V8s on the market.
Nowadays, V6 engines are as powerful as V8s.

What are the similarities between a V6 and a V8?

U.S. News
wrote, while a V8 might be a bigger engine, either in displacement or just in the number of cylinders, modern V6s actually are pretty similar to V8s in terms of power. For example, a highly anticipated
Ford Raptor trim
will come with a very powerful 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
That Raptor's V6 gets 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Those specs are actually more powerful than what the Raptor's old 6.2-liter V8 got. As such, the Raptor's V6 will allow it to tow as much as the V8 did. 
These power and towing similarities are also generally true for SUVs. For instance, the Ford Expedition, when equipped with a 3.5-liter V6, gets about 380 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. This is comparable to what V8s in similar SUVs can get, but the Expedition can tow over 9,000 pounds of stuff.
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V6 vs. V8: What's different about them

That being said, one segment where there's a clear power difference is
sports cars
. Folks who aren't buying
affordable muscle cars
will almost certainly want to splurge and spend money on a V8. And, the V8s that automakers offer on sports cars are almost always more powerful than their V6 options.
Plus, one thing that sports car enthusiasts might want is a good engine sound. While some V6s can deliver on that, most sports car fans will prefer the roar of a V8. That said, one area where a V6 shines is handling. V6s are lighter than V8s, and that may allow the car to turn corners better than a V8 would.
However, one huge difference between a V6 and V8 is their fuel economy. A V6 will usually be more fuel efficient than a V8. The exact numbers will vary based on the car, but V6 owners should expect to spend less every year on gas than V8 owners will.

How to choose between the two

Ultimately, car buying is about finding a car that suits your needs. Most folks have a budget that they're going to stick to, so that means picking and choosing traits that matter to you and your family.
As such, when it comes to engines, a V6 is going to be the better option most of the time. Nowadays, V6s are as powerful as V8s, and a V6 will provide all the power most folks need. At the same time, a V6 will be more fuel efficient.
Of course, the choice is tougher if you're buying a sports car, as that's the segment where a V8 would probably make a lot of sense. A V8 will likely allow folks to go faster in a straight line, and that's something a lot of people want in their sports car.

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