this is why the "need" for steel isn't there so much until your way up there in power.
There is a difference though. When I was a kid I would build Mopars, stock bottom ends to run 12s. I've got the stock heads almost 9s with porting and nitrous in a full body steel street car. Then in 90 I ran mid 14s with the log.
My Chevy friends cracked pistons, pulled rocker studs, ran cams flat, tossed rods, etc etc running the same power.
The import thing was beginning back then in the early 90s, my friend here was and is a HUGE VW guy and built a race rabbit. 15K he put into this thing and I went over to visit him after he got it going. Extrude honed (big money) intake with custom larger TB
, big valve ported head, bored and stroked to 2.0L, etc etc. I said wow that thing must really move how much power does it have? He was ACTUALLY really excited about it making 150 HP and I feel over laughing. So he got bent over it and I explained my Dodge came with 10" vented disks, a 1" solid sway bar, 15 x 6" wheels and 205 50 15 tires, a 146 HP, a body kit and all of that STOCK. I spent $109 + tax and had 14 PSI
with the MP computer...
I won't get into the train cars full of Honda's I've seen blow up trying to keep up. The VW is at least tough.
But when most building the 2.2 get started they are thinking of doing a ton of massive build parts to make any power. except for the 270 HP LW rod engines, all other engines are a 400 HP engine rebuilt to stock specs with good tuning. Not many engines in the 4 banger range can say that. AND if you do see them they are 20 years newer than the Dodge. One older tough engine is the Ford 2.3, but American.....