On the high-volume automotive front, gasoline direct injection is transforming the family car. A pricey, high-technology feature just a few years ago, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. are ushering it into the high-volume mainstream.

GM says it will offer more DI engines in North America than any other auto maker in the ‘10 model year. By next year, GM says it may have as many as eight DI engines in 38 models globally.

GM's 304-hp DI 3.6L V-6 in the Cadillac CTS has been named to the Ward's 10 Best Engines list two years in a row. It now is the base engine in the ‘10 Chevrolet Camaro as well.

The ‘10 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are the latest to join GM's DI club, in addition to the ‘10 Cadillac SRX cross/utility vehicle and redesigned ‘10 Buick LaCrosse sedan.

As part of its well-known EcoBoost strategy, Ford is embarking on a plan to implement DI technology on many vehicles, combining DI with smaller displacement engines and turbocharging.

The first-generation EcoBoost engine, based on Ford's normally aspirated 3.5L Duratec V-6, already has debuted in the ‘10 Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKS. The SHO features a tuned version of the engine that produces 365 hp at 5,500 rpm and 350 lb. ft. (475 Nm) of torque.

The standard EcoBoost, offered on the Ford Flex cross/utility vehicle and MKS, produces 355 hp and is rated at 16/22 mpg (14.7-10.7 L/100 km) city/highway.

Ford will launch a 2.0L 4-cyl. version of its turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost engine next year.

“You have to think about our EcoBoost strategies where it's substituting for a V-6,” says Barb Samardzich, a Ford powertrain vice president.

Hyundai Motor America is using DI to alter its standard engine lineup. It will not offer a V-6 in its next-generation Sonata midsize sedan. Instead, there's an upgraded version of Hyundai's 4-cyl. with DI, making Hyundai the first auto maker in the 4-cyl. midsize-sedan segment with the technology standard.