The core of automaker attempts to meet skyrocketing fuel economy requirements in 2016 are under the hoods of their cars. In the 20th year of Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, only two winners are carryovers from last year. By the looks of the fresh top ten, diesel power plants are gaining traction in a big way. But that isn’t the only unprecedented change on the list.
“We weren’t looking to throw the bums out, as they might say about an election. We were just really impressed with a flood of new powertrains,” says WardsAuto WorldEditor-in-Chief Drew Winter. “What was great yesterday might be less impressive tomorrow because engine technology is changing so rapidly.” (1)
To be eligible for the competition, Ward’s requires “…a new or significantly improved engine or propulsion system must be on sale in a production vehicle during the first quarter of 2014. Base price is capped at $60,000, up from $55,000 last year.” (1)
Of the 44 powertrains tested, the big ten are as follows:
- 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi S5)
- 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I-6 (BMW 535d)
- 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V-6 (Ram 1500 EcoDiesel)
- 83-kW Electric Motor (Fiat 500e)
- 1.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-3 (Ford Fiesta)
- 2.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I-4 (Chevrolet Cruze Diesel)
- 6.2L OHV V-8 (Chevrolet Corvette Stingray)
- 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Honda Accord)
- 2.7L DOHC H-6 boxer (Porsche Cayman)
- 1.8L Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Volkswagen Jetta)
Notable diesel debuts on the list include BMW’s 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel, Chrysler’s 3.0-liter V6 diesel from the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel from General Motors used in the 2014 Chevrolet Cruz.
Ford broke new ground with the first three-cylinder engine on the list with their tiny 1.0-liter for the 2014 Fiesta. Fiat proved that Ward's is also willing to honor a “propulsion system” with the inclusion of their 83-kilowatt electric motor for the Fiat 500e.
As a nod towards the fact certain consumers still want to enjoy a healthy dose of raw power (sans a guzzler tax), Chevrolet’s 460hp 6.2-liter V8 for the 2014 Corvette Stingray, as well as Audi’s 333hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, available in the S4 and S5 made the list.
With Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 from the Accord, Audi is one of only two winners for the second consecutive year.
View Ward’s full press release detailing their 10 best engines of 2014 here.