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What’s the difference between a V6 engine and a V8 engine?

Good question!

The most basic way to describe the difference is that a V6 engine has six cylinders for fuel intake, where a V8 engine has eight cylinders.

Essentially, both engines work the same way. The cylinders create a space where the fuel can be ignited. Once ignited, a series of small explosions are set off while the engine is running.

These explosions create energy within the cylinders that turns the engine and that force is what is used to drive your vehicle down the street!

Horsepower, Torque, and Mileage

When a person is shopping for a new vehicle, they want to know three things about their new engine: horsepower, torque, and mileage. Let’s start with horsepower. 

Horsepower

Horsepower tells you how much power your vehicle has at peak performance.

  • Corolla: 139 horsepower
  • Highlander: 295 horsepower
  • Supra: 300 horsepower

All these numbers tell us how strong and fast a car can perform at its most optimal. So, a Highlander is faster than a Corolla, and the Supra is even faster than the Highlander.

Torque

Torque is a little different than horsepower. It tells a driver how hard their engine is able to work. Most people shopping for a truck or SUV want to know how much torque the vehicle might have.

The more torque a vehicle has, the harder it can work and quicker it can reach top speeds, particularly when it is hauling or towing something behind it.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy refers to the amount of fuel an engine uses to create both horsepower and torque. The more cylinders an engine has, the more space it has to create energy, thus the more fuel it needs.

Or in other words, the bigger the engine, the more gas it needs so a V8 engine needs more gas than a V8 engine does.

What Does the V in V6 and V8 Mean?

Think about the engine that’s inside your lawnmower. That engine probably only has 1 cylinder because it needs far less horsepower than a large vehicle does.

The more cylinders a vehicle has, the more space there is to make those small explosions that create energy. And, the more energy there is the more horsepower you have.

Toyota Tacoma Equipped with a 3.5L 6‑cylinder engine

Engines with four cylinders are usually found in more compact vehicles like the Toyota RAVR. Vehicles like the Highlander and 4Runner have six cylinders.

Pickup trucks need more power so many of them are fully equipped with a V8 engine, including the Toyota Tundra. Remember, however, the more cylinders there are, the more fuel they burn.

What Is Engine Displacement? 

Engine displacement is the size of all the cylinders in your engine. For instance, the new 2020 Corolla SE has a four-cylinder engine with a combined volume of cylinders that equals two litres

Example: A 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine

A 4-cylinder engine is a great fit for buyers who prioritize fuel economy and performance.

Consider a V6 engine which has six cylinders and a displacement (or combined size of the cylinders) of 3.5 litres. Thanks to those two extra cylinders it has over the V4, this engine has more power and performance.

An eight-cylinder engine is common in pickup trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles. These engines have the most cylinders and are the most powerful. It also means they offer more torque and are better for towing or hauling.

Right now, Toyota offers two eight-cylinder engines: one is a 4.6 litre and the other is a 5.7 litre. The 5.7-litre engine is the most powerful and offers the most towing capacity, however, it might have the lowest fuel-efficient of all the engine options.

How to Decide Which Engine is Right For Me?

Choosing the right vehicle for your needs means knowing what kind of engine you ultimately want.

Think of it this way…

An engine is like a house. The cylinders are the number of rooms it has and the displacement is its square footage. How big of a house you choose depends on what your needs are.

A V4 engine is a great fit if you prioritize fuel efficiency over power. V4 engines in the Toyota lineup includes the Corolla and Yaris.

Meanwhile, most families opt for a V6 engine which gives them a bit more power to spare if they decide to tow something.

A V8 engine inside of the Toyota Tundra is your best bet if what you’re looking for is power!