When you're shopping for a fuel-efficient car or truck, common sense suggests the smallest available engine delivers the highest mpg. In the real world, that's not always the case. A powerplant that strains, wheezing out inadequate horsepower and torque for the job, just might send you to the gas pump more often rather than less often. To say nothing of the fact the life of an overworked engine is not usually a long one. So while a 4-cylinder engine tends to be more economical than a V-6 powering the same car, and a V-6 is more frugal than a V-8, smaller isn't always the wisest choice.