Wait -- is this every engine?
No. It's just for cars with what's called gasoline direct injection, or GDI. That amounts to nearly half of all new cars and trucks. If you look at the photo above, you can see gasoline getting injected directly into the cylinder, hence the name. Without getting too technical, it's a different way of mixing the air and fuel to optimize your engine. The science behind it is a bit complicated, but the results are easy to understand: up to a 15% gain in fuel economy, 30-50% more low end torque (the power you feel off the light), reduced long term wear from cold starts, and 30-50% fewer emissions than their conventional counterparts.
They can also be perfectly reliable... but there's a catch
The truth is that these engines can be just as reliable and far better to own than their non-GDI alternatives, provided you use Top Tier gas (more on that in just a second) instead of the cheap stuff. How important is gas quality? I checked with Rebecca Monroe, Senior Fuels Engineer at General Motors, who told me "proper gasoline detergency is necessary for keeping engine components free of deposits in direct injection engines." In other words, Top Tier gas contains a lot of additives and detergents designed specifically to keep a DI engine clean, in good working order, and reduce the quantity of fuel deposits. Direct injection engines are very sensitive to the fuel you use.