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The advancement of technology has allowed cars to run smoothly and efficiently with just three cylinders. Here are some of the best three-pot cars you can have.

20 Jul 2022


Three-cylinder cars are now vastly available, thanks to the advancement of technology, and they obviously have several benefits, chief of which is the fact that they are more fuel efficient and are lighter in weight. This means they are overall cheaper to maintain and more agile on their feet.

While three-cylinders of old lack power and come with detectable vibrations that can be a problem for some, modern three-pot engines are now often equipped with advanced turbocharging to deliver higher horsepower, better fuel economy and smoother ride. And if you're in the market looking for one, here's a list of some of the best three-cylinder cars you can buy in Singapore right now.

1. Audi A1 Sportback

The A1 Sportback is stable and sound on the go
One of our favourite hatchbacks, the Audi A1 Sportback comes with a punchy 1.0-litre three-cylinder powerplant that churns out 114bhp and 200Nm of torque that allow the car to complete the century sprint in less than 10 seconds. And while this car shares the same mechanical underpinnings as the Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza as well as the Skoda Scala, this Audi differentiates itself from the pack with its design.

It's purposely aggressive, with several sporty flourishes like the wide, low-placed Singleframe grille, and the three flat slits under the bonnet that pays homage to the Ur-quattro. Plus, attention to detail is impeccable within its cabin, which is something you can safely expect from the premium German carmaker.

I wouldn't mind one! Get yourself a used Audi A1 Sportback here!

2. BMW 216i Gran Coupe

The 2 Series GC is an accomplished car
BMW has always been gracious about the way their cars are engineered, so never let the badge of a base model or naysayers affect you. The BMW 216i Gran Coupe is a highly accomplished four-door coupe that comes with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. It promptly pumps out 107bhp and 190Nm of torque to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch, which allows the car to get up to action quickly.

Of course, if you're more of a hatchback person, you can always opt for the BMW 1 Series Hatchback 116i. Better yet, if you've got deeper pockets and space in your garage, you could well consider the BMW i8 - the brand's sleek and alluring plug-in hybrid that also utilises a three-cylinder powerplant.

I wouldn't mind one! Get yourself a used BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe here!

3. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is a spicy little thing on the road
Both the Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta here are equipped with a 1.0-litre three-pot engine, but it's the Fiesta that we'll strongly recommend even though it's the smaller car. That’s because the compact hatchback is ultra punchy despite its minute output of just 99bhp and 170Nm of torque. Figures shown on the spec sheet do not give this car the justice it deserves, what with a zero to 100km/h acceleration of 10.8 seconds.

Truth be told, it feels a lot quicker in real-world driving and because of its compact dimensions, it's very zealous to tackle tight corners and sweeping bends alike. Gearshifts are made in a very smoothly and speedy manner, with little to no hesitancy.

4. MINI Cooper Clubman

The MINI Cooper Clubman is a lot of fun
Arguably one of the most dynamic cars with a three-cylinder engine is the MINI Cooper Clubman. This second generation Clubman is based on the MINI 5 Door and is significantly larger than the predecessor model, but that has no negative effect on the way the car handles on the road, whatsoever. In fact, this car right here is one of the most fun cars we've driven.

Couple its sound driving dynamics with the punchy 1.5-litre in-line three-cylinder engine, and you've got yourself a recipe for on-road entertainment. Power output is rated at 134bhp and 220Nm of torque and century sprint is completed in 9.1 seconds - but it does feel a whole lot quicker behind the wheel. Thus, overtaking manoeuvres can be done confidently and easily.

I wouldn't mind one! Get yourself a used MINI Cooper Clubman here!

5. Toyota GR Yaris

The GR Yaris is a crazy quick and fun car to drive
This car needs no introduction. Developed by the same Toyota Gazoo Racing team that crafted the Toyota GR Supra, the Toyota GR Yaris is a sizzling and spicy hot hatch that is powered by a 1.6-litre three-cylinder powerplant. Despite its modest engine, you get a whopping 250bhp and 350Nm of twisting force that are fed to all corners via a six-speed manual transmission.

In a way, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds with this car - a lower annual road tax (most hot hatches come with a 2.0-litre engine) as well as ample fun and power at the calling of your right foot. Take it from us, from one corner to the next, the GR Yaris will tackle them with aplomb and accuracy, accompanied by an invigorating yet memorable exhaust note that will ignite all your senses.

Locally, authorised dealer Borneo Motors brought in 22 units, of which 20 units have already been accounted for (two units were kept for Borneo's usage).

I wouldn't mind one! Get yourself a used Toyota GR Yaris here!

6. Volkswagen Polo

Looking for space and grace? The VW Polo has all you need
The Volkswagen Polo is a family-friendly compact hatchback that's also easy on your pockets. Sporting the same 1.0-litre three-pot engine as the Audi A1 Sportback, the Polo will generate 114bhp and 200Nm of torque from the word go. Apart from being more affordable, where this car differentiates itself from the Audi is space. The Polo has grown bigger from before - 81mm longer and 69mm wider. Visually, it now looks remarkably like a slightly shrunken Golf.

On the road, the Polo is eager and alert when you drive it hard. Yes, the engine is responsive and punchy, but there's no denying that the most impressive thing about this car is just how comfortable it is for everyday use. With the Polo, you and your family can enjoy sufficient space without compromising on comfort and driving dynamics.

I wouldn’t mind one! Get yourself a used Volkswagen Polo here!

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