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Well color me surprised, it doesn't have a ridiculously high compression ratio, wonder why they want premium?
 

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The 1.8 has a compression ratio of 10.5:1. Saw the spec sheet for myself when my brother bought his 2012 ls. Fortunately I was there to ask that question as the salesman pointed at the 138 hp spec on the info board. He ended up taking me to a back office computer and brought up the full spec sheet for me to see.
10.5:1 is not really a high compression ratio. Once you're over 11.5:1 then maybe I can see recommending 91+ octane. My MX-5 by comparison is running 13.0:1 and an older ford triton 5.4L will be running 8.4:1 so 10.5:1 is kind of in the middle of the spectrum. Almost all of your non-turbo average family sedans and crossovers will be running similar compression and those won't recommend premium.

I just think it's odd that an engine that wasn't designed with the highest level of engineering, thrown into a base model economy car destined to be a fleet vehicle, would code it to run premium fuel. My guess is the recommendation is coming from Opal overseas where the 1.8L engine is a more premium engine than the standard 1.0L engines they're used to.
 
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