Most older snowmobiles use a two-stroke gasoline engine, but more modern designs often use a four-stroke design similar to an automobile engine. Engine sizes range from as little as 50 cubic centimeters to 1,200 cubic centimeters or more. Most snowmobile engines have two, three or four cylinders.
Modern snowmobiles using four-stroke engines are dramatically more powerful than the first snowmobiles of the early 1950s, some of which were powered by engines producing as little as 5 horsepower. The increased size and use of turbocharging on some racing snowmobiles has pushed the output of their engines to as high as 180 horsepower among the most powerful vehicles.