In 2004 General Motors introduced the High Feature V6 (HFV6), a new engine designed for its passenger vehicle lineup. The design and testing of the HFV6 was performed by a joint team of American and Australian auto engineers. In the United States, a team from Cadillac worked on development of the HFV6 and introduced it to the market under the hood of the 2004 Cadillac STS. In Australia, Holden named the new engine family Alloytec and released it first with the 2004 Holden VZ Commodore, a very popular full size sedan sold Down Under. Since then, the HFV6 has become a flagship Chevy engine.
The HFV6 replaced GM's Ecotec family of Chevy engines. It is a lightweight 24 valve engine with various features across different models. Power, emissions control, and fuel efficiency are managed by sophisticated electronic controls. Early versions of the HFV6 were criticized as not having made a great leap in fuel economy. GM rectified the issue in later versions.
The HFV6 is currently produced in Australia, Canada, and in the United States (in Flint, Michigan). In the early days of the HFV6, the engine was included in several GM vehicles – but did not immediately replace earlier Chevy engines. Alloytec engines powered several cars around the world: Buick, Cadillac, Holden, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn, Daewoo, and even the luxurious and sporty Alfa Romeo Spider.
It took a few years for the HFV6 to become a full fledged Chevy engine. Chevrolet first rolled out the HFV6 tentatively in 2006, but not in the United States. The Chevrolet Captiva, a full size SUV popular in the United Kingdom was the first Chevy to be fitted with an Alloytec engine. In 2008, the HFV6 debuted as a Chevy engine under the hoods of the new Malibu sedan and the Equinox Sport crossover SUV. In 2010, the long awaited return of the All-American Chevy Camaro was fitted with a powerful HFV6 Alloytec engine. For this important event in GM's history, the HFV6 was enhanced to a 6.2L V8 that can crank out 400HP at under 6000 rpm. Top of the line Camaros were assembled with this exclusive Chevy engine.
Even though the HFV6 is relatively new among Chevy engines, the market for used and rebuilt Alloytecs is growing. Replacing damaged or worn out engines with used and rebuilt versions is considered a good option for car owners. In the United States, the practice of replacing failed engines with used ones was not very widespread until recent years. Used engines are usually salvaged from cars that are declared total losses by auto insurance companies. Specialty shops set out to carefully rebuild used engines in order to return them to the marketplace. The process involves extensive inspection and testing of the engine; as well as replacement of certain parts and machining of others.
Car owners who shun used engines do so under the impression that they are high-mileage engines. That is often not the case. In ecologically-conscious countries such as Costa Rica, a vehicle owner may opt to rebuild and overhaul the engine of the car they presently own after hundreds of thousands of miles. Purchasing a used engine is different than overhauling in the sense that a failed engine is actually being replaced. In fact, many used engines come from low mileage cars that were declared total losses due to the reduced market value of the vehicle at the time of the loss.