Turbo engines give cars power, gas efficiency

LOS ANGELES The new /*Cadillac*/ SRX crossover has a lot going for it, but when it climbs hills with a full load, the standard V6 engine can feel strained.

Technology comes to the rescue for the SRX in the form of a new optional engine that makes a lot more power, thanks to a /*turbo*/ charger.

'Turbo chargers,' or 'turbos' for short, are going to become more and more popular as auto makers look for ways to improve /*fuel economy*/ while keeping performance.

The /*Ford*/ Flex is another family oriented vehicle that can feel a little down on power. But Ford has a new turbo engine of its own with the name "Ecoboost." It offers a big increase in power for the Flex and other large vehicles and extra performance for the Taurus SHO model.

And Ford isn't stopping there. They'll eventually have Ecoboost turbo engines in many of their cars and trucks.

A lot of people may hear the term turbo or turbo charger and not really know what this means other than more power. It's really a pretty simple device, especially when you consider just how much power it can give almost any engine.

There are two small propeller-like devices inside connected by a shaft. One gets spun by exhaust leaving the engine and the other forces air into the cylinders.

With the help of some compressed air, it can easily force air into an engine.

The result is big power from a relatively small engine. The four-cylinder turbo in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe makes over 200 horsepower, but it can get up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Fuel economy is helped by /*supercharging*/ too, which is an alternative to turbos that produces similar results.

Audi's S4 Performance Sedan used to have a V8 engine. But the new version has a supercharged V6, which offers similar power with better performance, lower emissions output and much better /*gas mileage*/.

Engines with turbo or supercharger boost are essentially win-wins for cars. It offers good power and good gas mileage.

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