9 Best 3-Cylinder Cars You Can Buy in USA | Locar Deals

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list of 3 cylinder cars

There is no denying that the engine determines the success or failure of an automobile. Lately, automakers have been working with 3-cylinder cars again.

We have seen in the past few years companies going for strong robust engines to provide their customers the thrill of speed & power. People think three-cylinder engines hold no power to that of V8 and higher ones.

3 cylinder engines might not be as robust as higher ones but you will be surprised to know what these smaller ones can do.

These small engines are not only efficient but highly effective when they are used.

3 cylinder vehicles are making a comeback which led us to think about how many top cars are out there with this tiny engine. So, today we have a list of 3 cylinder cars in the USA for you. We have some of the most talked-about 3-cylinder engine cars in 2022.

List of 9 Best 3 Cylinder Cars in the American Market

3 cylinder engine cars are generally associated with city cars whose main purpose is to help the owner to get from one destination to another using as little fuel as possible.

People hold highly wrong perceptions about 3-cylinder cars, and with our list, we will clear it for you one by one.

  1. BMW i8
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. MINI Clubman
  4. Ford Focus
  5. MINI Hardtop
  6. Volvo XC40
  7. Mitsubishi Mirage
  8. Toyota GR Yaris
  9. Mini Cooper Sidewalk Edition

Why Are Three-Cylinder Car Engines Taking Over?

It is said that size does not matter, it is the way you use it, and we cannot agree more. The same goes for the 3-cylinder engines. Earlier small engines were looked down at. But as more powerful units are coming into the light, people’s perceptions seem to be changing.

Below we have listed some of the advantages that an engine with a three-cylinder provides.

Suggestion For Reading: 11 Fastest Cars Under $30K (2022 Updated).

Easy Making

One of the biggest advantages of 3-cylinder car engines is that being compact, they are easy to build for the manufacturer.

They require less material to be built which saves the makers a notable amount of capital per engine.

Create Space

As the 3 cylinder car engine is small, it saves room in the engine area. This enables the makers to make a snug engine and concentrate on composing the spacious interior.


3 cylinder engines are optimized for fuel efficiency. They are much more fuel-efficient than more cylinder-carrying engines of the same size.

The reason is their lightweight and decreased frictional damage. Less frictional loss leads to more force production for lesser fuel. Whereas with one less cylinder, the engine block is much lighter.

Thus both of these factors combine to make 3-cylinder cars more fuel-efficient than their counterparts. Given the current state of the economy in the United States and other countries that are still recovering from the economic damage caused by the pandemic, fuel-efficient vehicles are more than good for the economy, they’re good for the wallet.

Ford is currently leading the way in the US with two of its models containing 3-cylinder engines which is a new strategy for the company. What does that mean exactly?

One thing is for sure, more rebuilt and remanufactured Ford engine replacements hitting the market in the near future!

Money Saver

3 cylinder engines are more economical to operate and maintain, thus putting less strain on your pocket and acting as a good money saver for you.

Thus, you can see how a three-cylinder engine can work better than its counterpart four-cylinder engine. Size does not determine strength. Smaller engines are much more compatible and efficient than their bigger counterparts.

Suggestion For Reading: 11 Salient Questions to Ask When Buying A Used Car.

Best 3 Cylinder Engine Cars – Definition To The Power & Efficiency

Engines with three-cylinder are becoming more popular. These engines give a big performance in small size, surprising every consumer.

The time is not far when the 3 cylinder cars will make their way to the mainstream automotive line.

Below we have a list of the seven best three-cylinder cars that will show you how always big does not mean better.

1. 2020 BMW i8

  • MSRP: From $147,500
  • Engine: 1.5 L 3-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 369 hp
  • Range: 18 mi battery-only, 320 mi total
  • MPG: 27 combined on gas
  • TopSpeed: 155 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 4.1 seconds
  • Experience the ease of online shopping.
BMW i8 3 cylinder cars

There is no denying the fact that top automakers are trendsetters. The way they do their things lets the other automakers follow the suit. This is why when top companies like BMW turned their mind toward 3-cylinder cars, others started to take interest.

BMW i8 is a perfect example of how powerful a small engine can be. I8 comes with a 1.5 liter 3 cylinder engine that can generate an impressive 369 horsepower. It is a perfect example of a 3-cylinder car in 2020.

This robust engine provides a top speed of 155 miles per hour. Furthermore, the car can accelerate to sixty miles per hour in only 4.1 seconds.

BMW i8 is a 2 to the 4-seater plug-in hybrid car that comes with an all-wheel drive. If you like, you can check out our list of the best 8-passenger SUV.


  • High-end integration of the powertrain 
  • Impressive in-car technology
  • Eye-catching design


  • Some competitors offer better performance
  • Can be difficult for some to get in and out of
  • Few available advanced driving aids
  • The unrefined powertrain for the price

How safe is the 2020 BMW i8?

The 2020 BMW i8 holds a terrific 5-star safety rating from both NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 5 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 5 Star

2. 2017 Ford Fiesta

  • MSRP: From $15,000
  • Engine: 1.0 L 3-cylinder, 1.6 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 120 to 197 hp
  • MPG: Up to 31 city / 41 highway
  • TopSpeed: 143 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 6.6 seconds
Ford Fiesta 3 cylinder cars in usa

2017 Ford Fiesta comes with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that is paired up with a six-speed automatic and 5 & 6-speed manual transmissions.

The vehicle is heisted by 197 horsepower that can show down to the top speed of 143 miles per hour. 

Nevertheless, with this model of Ford, you can achieve the acceleration of sixty miles per hour in mere 6.6 seconds, which is impressive for a car for its price of $15,000 and subcompact class.

Related: 9 Best Used Luxury SUV Under $15000 Worth Buying In 2022.

Agile handling and spacious seats make it a good choice as a 3-cylinder car, especially if you are under a strict budget.


  • Spacious front seats
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Excellent fuel economy with EcoBoost engine
  • Nimble handling


  • Cramped rear seat
  • Small cargo space
  • Low predicted reliability rating
  • Mixed crash test results

How safe is the 2017 Ford Fiesta?

The 2017 Ford Fiesta has a 4-star rating from NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star

3. 2020 MINI Clubman

  • MSRP: From $23,400
  • Engine: 1.5 L 3-cylinder, 2.0 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 134 to 228 hp
  • MPG: Up to 28 city / 36 highway
  • TopSpeed: 140 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 6.7 seconds
MINI Clubman 3 cylinder engine cars

The 2020 MINI Clubman is a subcompact car that comes with an optional engine of three-cylinder and four-cylinder.

MINI Clubman holds and impressive fuel efficiency which saves you well. The optional engine can spark up to 228 horsepower, giving you the top speed of 140 miles per hour.

Suggestion For Reading: Upcoming New Cars In 2022 That Every Car Buyer Must Check Out.

You might think if this MINI ride is for you or not, but trust us when we say this car is a perfect blend of speed, power, engine, and efficiency.


  • Excellent handling
  • High-quality cabin materials
  • Many customization options


  • More expensive than some rivals in the class

How safe is the 2017 Ford Fiesta?

The 2020 MINI Clubman got a 4-star safety rating from NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star

4. 2018 Ford Focus

  • MSRP: From $17,950
  • Engine: 1.0 L 3-cylinder, 2.0 L 4-cylinder, 2.3 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 123 to 350 hp
  • MPG: Up to 30 city / 40 highway
  • TopSpeed: 174 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 4.3 seconds
Ford Focus 3 cylinder cars

The 2018 Ford Focus with its 1.0 L 3-cylinder engine, made it to our list of 3 cylinder cars. This compact car has engaging road handling, a wide range of powertrains and comes with two body styles.

You get 6-speed automatic, 5 & 6-speed manual transmission with three optional 3 cylinder and 4 cylinder engines.

The car costs only $17,950 for the base model making it highly affordable for anyone. Not only this, the 2018 Ford Focus is highly impressive with its top speed of 174 mph and acceleration that is reached in only 4.3 seconds.

It is applaudable how a small engine can deliver the power and strength that only big bulky engines are labeled to do.


  • Agile handling
  • Turbocharged engines available
  • Good predicted reliability rating


  • Cramped rear seat
  • Hesitant dual-clutch automatic transmission

How safe is the 2018 Ford Focus?

The 2018 Ford Focus has a 4-star safety rating from both IIHS and NHTSA.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star

5. 2020 MINI Hardtop

  • MSRP: From $23,400
  • Engine: 1.5 L 3-cylinder, 2.0 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 134 to 228 hp
  • MPG: Up to 28 city / 36 highway
  • TopSpeed: 93 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 6.9 seconds
MINI Hardtop 3 cylinder cars in usa

Another subcompact 3 cylinder car that can give you just as good attainment as any other big engine ride.

With the 2020 MINI Hardtop, you get two optional engines with a powerful strength of 228 horsepower.

The deft handling makes you fall in love with driving. High fuel efficiency, upscale interior are a few more qualities that make buying this ride for the starting price of $23,400 worth it.

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The MINI hardtop can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 90 miles per hour, which can be a little disappointing for some buyers.


  • Capacious rear-seats
  • Nimble handling
  • Lots of personalization options are available
  • Upscale & classy interior


  • The ride can be stiff and jittery sometimes
  • More expensive than most rivals

How safe is the 2020 MINI Hardtop?

The 2020 MINI Hardtop scored a 4-star safety rating from NHTSA and IIHS. It performed well in the side crash results, but headlights and child seat anchors kept it from a 5 star.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star

6. 2018 Volvo XC40

  • MSRP: From $35,900
  • Engine: 1.5 L 3-cylinder, 2.0 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 156 to 247 hp
  • MPG: Up to 23 city / 31 highway
  • TopSpeed: 143 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 6.5 seconds
Volvo XC40 3 cylinder engine cars

Volvo is among the top automakers who are keeping alive the usage of 3 cylinder engines in cars.

The 2018 Volvo XC40 is an endowment by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Its engines are paired up with front and all-wheel-drive powertrains.

2018 Volvo XC40 has a top speed of 143 miles per hour and an acceleration of 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds.

The deft handling, spacious interior, making this luxury SUV worth paying $35,900. If you like, you can explore the upcoming models of the 2022 Volvo XC lineup with us.


  • Peppy engines
  • Swift handling
  • Ritzy cabin materials
  • Spacious interior


  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Not so compatible infotainment controls

How safe is the 2018 Volvo XC40?

The 2018 Volvo XC40 owns a gallant 5-star safety rating from both NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 5 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 5 Star

7. 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • MSRP: From $14,295
  • Engine: 1.2 L 3-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 78 hp
  • MPG: Up to 36 city / 43 highway
  • TopSpeed: 112 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): NA
Mitsubishi Mirage 3 cylinder cars

When it comes to safety & reliability, Japanese automakers tops the list, and Mitsubishi Mirage is no exception.

This small subcompact car comes with a small 1.2 L 3-cylinder engine that produces only 73 horsepower. Such low power is somehow disappointing. 

But the car is highly affordable, with a starting price of $14,295.

One of the biggest successes of the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage is its fuel efficiency which will save you a lot in the long run.

With this small ride, you can attain a top speed of 112 miles per hour.

If you are a fan of Japanese car brands, you might like to check out our evaluation of the upcoming 2022 Honda Civic.


  • Exceptional gas mileage ratings
  • User-friendly and well-equipped infotainment system
  • Affordable price


  • Low-rent cabin materials
  • Unsupportive seats
  • Insufficient engine power
  • Rough ride on rugged pavement

How safe is the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage?

The Mitsubishi Mirage owns a 4-star safety rating from both NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star

8. Mini Cooper Sidewalk Edition

  • MSRP: From $38,400
  • Engine: 1.5 L 3-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 134 hp
  • MPG: 28 city / 37 highway
  • Top Speed: 130 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60mpl): 6.1 seconds

When it comes to representing small sizes with the maximum power, we can all hail MINI for that.

This automaker has done the best by producing automobiles that proclaim how small-size cars and engines can be the beast you desire.

The 2019 Mini Cooper Sidewalk Edition is another marvelous example of their expertise. It comes with an engine run by three cylinders that can charge up to 134 horsepower.

Not only this, you get keyless entry, heated front seats, automatic climate control, an 8.8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, navigation, and more.

You might find the cabin and trunk a little cramped up, but the long list of features makes up for it. This mini ride can be yours for a starting price of $38,400.


  • Peppy engine options
  • Athletic handling
  • High-end interior
  • Great predicted reliability rating


  • High list prices and ownership costs
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Unimpressive cargo space

How safe is the 2022 Mini Cooper Sidewalk Edition?

The Mini Cooper Sidewalk Edition has a 4-star safety rating from both NHTSA and IIHS.

  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: 4 Star
Is a 3-cylinder car good?

YES. A cylinder car is good. One of the best features it possesses is its surpassing fuel efficiency.

Who makes a three-cylinder car?

Mitsubishi, Ford, Volvo, and MINI are some of the top car makers that offer a 3 cylinder car to their buyers.

Are there any 3 cylinder cars for sale USA?

It is now not hard to know where in America you can get a 3-cylinder car. You can take the help of google and see if there is any ride for sale nearby you.

What are the 3-cylinder cars’ pros and cons?

Three-cylinder rides own their pros and cons well.


  • Fuel efficient
  • Cheaper making
  • Create more interior room


  • You can find more powerful models in higher engine numbers
  • Less acceleration speed to cars with more cylinders
Does Ford make a 3 cylinder engine?

YES2018 Ford Focus and 2017 Ford Fiesta are good examples of it.

Are more cylinders better?

The engine decides the power of a vehicle. There is no denying that the more the cylinders, the more will be the power.

In general, an engine with fewer cylinders holds better fuel economy, whereas an engine with more cylinders is sturdier than the rest.


With the rise in loss of income in the past year, people are getting more economical than ever. They want things that are capable of fulfilling their needs at the least price possible.

The 3 cylinder cars are among the things that can provide you huge long-term benefits with little investment. We have listed the 7 best three-cylinder engine rides for you from the top automakers. If you think we miss out on any names, please let us know in the comments below.


Ritambra is an absolute car fanatic who loves the ultimate Porsche 911. It is her dream car she wishes to own someday. She has over four years of experience in automotive writing. She loves to explore new car launches, different car accessories, latest automobile technologies, find out the best purchases, and where can fellow car fanatics find the best buying deals. With her skillful writing and in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry, you will learn about the latest automotive trends, news, launches, car reviews, top automobile comparisons, car maintenance, usage advice, and more. Her writing is delightful, informative, and entertaining, even for casual readers. You will fall in love with cars with Ritambra's writing and unshakable passion for them.

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