• Dec 9th 2009 at 7:28PM
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Ward's Ten Best Engines of 2010 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Just about every publication has an award to give away this time of year, and Wards Automotive is no different. But instead of picking the best car, truck or SUV, the industry wiz kids at Wards go right for the power supply to rank the Ten Best Engines for 2010. Over the years the list has contained a nice mix of engines from the U.S., Europe and Asia, but never before has the Ten Best been this fuel efficient. The list comprises of two hybrids, two diesels, one supercharger and three turbocharged gasoline mills.

To be eligible for Wards' 10 Best Engines competition the vehicle must cost less than $54,000 and the engine must be available as a standard production option by Q1 2010. Among the ten winning engines are the new 1.8-liter hybrid powerplant from the Toyota Prius, the 2.5-liter hybrid powering the Ford Fusion, and the diesels from the BMW 335d and the 2.0-liter Jetta TDI. Audi joins the ranks with its excellent 2.0T and 3.0T (well, supercharged) mills, while Ford scored a hit with its Ecoboost 3.5-liter engine. The most powerful engine to make the 10 Best Engines list is Hyundai's 4.6L Tau V8, which gains ten hp for 2010.

The 10 Best Engines awards will be presented at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 13. Hit the jump to read Wards' press release and check the gallery below for a tour of this year's winners.

2.0L TFSI Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Audi A4)
  • 2.0L TFSI Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Audi A4)
  • 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi S4)
  • 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (BMW 335d)
  • 2.5L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Ford Fusion Hybrid)
  • 3.5L EcoBoost Turbocharged DOHC V-6 (Ford Taurus SHO)
  • 2.4L Ecotec DOHC I-4 (Chevrolet Equinox)
  • 4.6L Tau DOHC V-8 (Hyundai Genesis)
  • 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC H-4 (Subaru Legacy 2.5GT)
  • 1.8L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Toyota Prius)
  • 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI)

[Source: Wards Automotive]


Engines employing new technologies to deliver both fuel economy and performance dominate North America's only engine award program

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Ward's 10 Best Engines, North America's only award program honoring engine excellence, have been announced for 2010. The list symbolizes the auto industry's swift movement toward downsized engines to attract consumers who now are making fuel efficiency a top priority.

Highlights: Two turbodiesels (one each from BMW AG and Volkswagen AG) and two hybrid-electric vehicles (from Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.) made this year's list by achieving fuel economy of nearly 40 mpg (5.8 L/100 km) in the VW Jetta SportWagen TDI and up to 55 mpg (4.2 L/100 km) in the Toyota Prius in real-world driving.

This year's winners and the applications tested:

* 2.0L TFSI Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Audi A4)
* 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi S4)
* 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (BMW 335d)
* 2.5L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Ford Fusion Hybrid)
* 3.5L EcoBoost Turbocharged DOHC V-6 (Ford Taurus SHO)
* 2.4L Ecotec DOHC I-4 (Chevrolet Equinox)
* 4.6L Tau DOHC V-8 (Hyundai Genesis)
* 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC H-4 (Subaru Legacy 2.5GT)
* 1.8L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Toyota Prius)
* 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI)

"This year's list embodies how the industry is responding to demands for higher fuel economy and lower emissions without shortchanging performance," Ward's AutoWorld Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter said. "Auto makers are using innovative designs and advanced technology to boost horsepower and torque while downsizing engines and increasing efficiency."

To be eligible for the competition, each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2010, in a vehicle priced no more than $54,000, a price cap indexed to the average cost of a new vehicle.

Throughout October and November, six editors of Ward's Automotive Group tested 34 vehicles from 13 auto makers in their normal driving cycles in metro Detroit. They scored each engine based on horsepower, torque, refinement, technical relevance and comparative data. Each engine was evaluated because it was all-new, offered significant technology upgrades or was a returning winner from last year.

The awards will be presented at a Jan. 13 ceremony in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. A full story on the Ward's 10 Best Engines is now available on Wardsauto.com.

Ward's Automotive Group is a world-leading provider of auto industry news, data and analysis, having served the industry's information needs for nearly 80 years. Ward's AutoWorld is a monthly magazine serving more than 68,000 automotive professionals. The twice-monthly newsletter Ward's Engine & Vehicle Technology Update provides analysis of engineering advancements and technical issues. WardsAuto.com is an online subscription service delivering virtually all the industry news, data and analysis compiled by Ward's Automotive Group, the world's leader in automotive industry information. A Southfield, MI - based division of Penton Media, Inc., Ward's Automotive Group also publishes the weekly industry newsletter Ward's Automotive Reports, the monthly magazine Ward's Dealer Business, and offers a wealth of other automotive information services including reference annuals, online databases, and customized data reports.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's sad that they don't even have the engine specs correct. The Jetta SportWagen is a 2.0L '''DOHC''''. Yeesh.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it could be they oversaw it.
        the second cam is driven via a sprocket to the first camshaft.
        on the outside in the plastic belt cover you see only 1 belt pulley shape, where as you would expect 2.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Who would have ever thought that a Korean company would an award for their V8 and GM would get an award for their inline 4?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nothing over 5 liters?! Fail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Did you fail to realize that a Korean company won an award for their V8 and GM won an award for their inline 4?

        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd have to agree for my own biased reasons.......
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Stuka -

        The Ford 6.2L Boss V8 fits the criteria (will be available by Q1 2010). Their 5L Coyote will technically make that cut also, with Job 1 in March I believe. Incidentally their new 6.7L Power Stroke just missed the cut with Q2 2010 availability. Yes, Ford has been very busy revamping their V8 lineup for better economy and more power. I would not be surprised to see one of these engines on the list next year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Doesn't change the fact that I would still buy something with a small-block under the hood if I wanted power :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      why is that gas-pig boxer engine on the list?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The difference between Subaru & Porsche?
        1. Subaru puts the engine ahead of the front axle, and Porsche hangs it behind the rear axle.
        2. Subaru engines are pretty much all on the "small" side (
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe because it's the only one with a c.g. anywhere near the crankshaft...
        • 5 Years Ago
        My question, this might sound dumb I just want to know. What is the difference between the Subaru Flat four/six engines to the Porsche Flat six engines? I just want to know that is all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm just amazed at how you guys know so much about this stuff.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think they dropped the ball on this one
      plenty other engines i'd ahve before the ones on this list

      I do like the 3.5L turbo from Ford an the 4.6L from Hyundai

      but most of hte rest they're not on my list of wanting to have that engine

      What's so special about the Prius engine? it's small, anemic, sounds like crap

      what's the criteria again?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No accessory drive. Other than that, it just a nice little atkinson cycle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota's 2GR V6 is the single best feature of every car they put it in. Not on the list. Neither is the only reason to buy a Tundra, the 5.7 UR.

      Ditto any incarnation of BMW's outstanding I6. Nowhere to be seen.

      The sole V8 is an underperforming lump that's only interesting because you didn't expect Hyundai to make one.

      Yet there's room for two hybrid fours, an also-ran gas four, two turbo fours - one of which makes the A4 thoroughly underwhelming at its price point, two diesels which nobody buy...

        • 5 Years Ago
        As I see it it, BMW is phasing out their excellent I-6 engine in favor of engines with better packaging.

        Unfortunate, as the BMW I-6 is probably the best I-6 one can get at a reasonable price point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        PS: Hyundai won this award last year as well with the Tau V8 engine so clearly this is no fluke.
        • 5 Years Ago

        you and probally most americans, only SEE and HEAR v8, V8, v8.
        the more cyl you have, the more friction have.

        Lambourgini v12
        bore: 87.0 mm (3.43 in),
        stroke: 86.8 mm (3.42 in)
        (stroke ratio: 1.00:1 - 'square engine');
        compression ratio: 11.6:1

        Lambourgini v10
        bore: 82.5 mm (3.25 in),
        stroke: 92.8 mm (3.65 in)
        (stroke ratio: 0.89:1 - undersquare/long-stroke), 496.0 cc per cylinder;
        compression ratio: 11.5:1

        chevy smal block 305
        (94.9 mm × 88.4 mm)
        • 5 Years Ago
        375 horsepower is great.

        So why is the V8 Genesis just barely faster than the 290 hp V6 Genesis to the point that the power loving auto press generally endorses the 6?

        (Edmunds on the V8: "underachieving", "lacks eagerness". C&D: "the overachieving V-6 Genesis also matched the 375-hp V-8 model through the quarter-mile")
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, your comment - "The sole V8 is an underperforming lump that's only interesting because you didn't expect Hyundai to make one."

        Underperforming lump? Clearly you've never experienced the Tau V8 from Hyundai.

        Did you know this engine in the Genesis is class-leading in terms of fuel efficiency? Even better in fuel economy than competing V6s. Oh, did you also hear it has 385hp?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jesus Christ, the amount of up-voting Hyundai fans these days is scary.

        Anyway, 385 hp from a 4.6 liter V8 isn't bad - just ask Ford. Or Dodge. :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ dan

        (94.9 mm × 88.4 mm) over square, huge piston weight, long travel and lots of friction surface.
        8.5:1 compression

        Ducati Desmosedici GP7
        800 cc MotoGP
        bore: 86mm
        stroke: 42.56mm
        rpm: 17,000
        topspeed: wel over 300km/h probably.

        bore: 40 mm
        stroke: 39,7 mm
        displacement: 50cc
        topspeed: 200+ km/h - amazing and that in 1969.
        power:15.5 bhp @ 15.000 rmp

        as engine builder, you have quite a few questions.
        what to you you want?
        speed, power, durabillity, material choice, material cost, the application, etc.

        it's quite a psychological endeavorment.

        i think the best engine choise is something like the audi 4.2 or the bmw m3.
        4163 cc - 4.2 liters
        Bore: 84.5 mm
        Stroke: 92.8 mm stroke,
        11.0 compression ratio

        their are tuned for rialiabilty, i'm sure supercharged, remapped and governour removed, it's wel over 330km/h.

        something like this audi B5 with 6 cyl ...

        darn, blog software, an update for 2010?
        • 5 Years Ago

        The same reason the base Camaro with the V6 is considered more fun than an SS - less weight and still a respectable amount of power out of the six that powers it. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        and conveniently this year the power increase to 385hp, take that LS460!
        Hyundai used the first generation ZF 6 speed automatic for the '09 Genesis, maybe that gets upgraded to the 2nd generation (6hp26 to 6hp28) for 2010?

        (hyundai had better get that 8 speed auto in the genesis for '11 model year)

        Better packaging? 91mm bore centers is plenty tight. BMW fits most of the engine 'into' the car. If you take into account the exhaust system routing, for longitudinal rear drive, an inline 6 is better packaging than a 60 degree V6.

        Hell BMW's new V12 uses 98mm bore centers, It probably should have used the 91mm centers of the N54/55, and that extra space could be used for more crash safety.

        I am surprise the 2gr-fe has not received an upgrade/update. Where is the 285hp Valvematic 3.5 for the Avalon/Camry? If the KIA 3.5 makes upwards of 286hp (and has a smaller cylinder bore 92 vs. 94mm) Toyota is snoozing.
        • 5 Years Ago

        chevy smal block 305
        (94.9 mm × 88.4 mm)
      • 5 Years Ago
      How does the Audi/VW 2.0T make the list and the Ecotec LNF (SIDI) 2.0 turbo doesn't?

      I'm not saying the VW engine shouldn't be there, it's a good engine.

      I also can't see how adding 10HP to a big V8 even bears note.

      And the Boxer Subaru? It's a dinosaur. Sorry guys, it's true. Fun engine, but not particularly up to date on performance or mpg levels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My 5.0L H.O. is a dinosaur. The 2.5L T boxer is not new tech, nor particularly efficient. But if you read, this award is for honoring engine EXCELLENCE, which clearly fits here. And it performs plenty. New 265HP flavor in the current WRX hits 60 in 4.7. Most excellent.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's correct, it's not up to date on performance. Output for fuel used has to be part of a performance measure or else all engines on the list would be the biggest ones.

        If the 2.5GT engine is impressive for power output or efficiency, how is a 2.0L making 261HP (from GM or Mazda) not so?

        No, AWD doesn't help, but the STI's problem isn't just the AWD. It's a small car getting awful gas mileage. And the turbo doesn't help in this application? Funny, it helped on the Ecotec. The 2.4L NA Ecotec in a Solstice made 173HP and 19/26mpg (on regular gas). The 2.0L turbo Ecotec in a Solstice made 261HP and 19/29mpg (on regular gas). Getting a turbo doesn't have to hurt, Subaru is making it hurt. Heck, the Subaru 2.5 doesn't even have any kind of variable vane/dual-entry/twin-scroll system to increase turbocharger efficiency at low airflows.

        The Subaru boxer is a dinosaur. It can be a dinosaur and still be a good engine, it would join several good Honda engines in this and you note none of those are on this top 10 list.

        Here's the short, short version. If you have to start doling out several excuses for an engine (the turbo hurts it, etc.), then it's probably not one of the 10 best engines around.

        VW moves a lot fewer engines than GM does, at least in the US, but they probably sell more 2.0Ts (in fact, almost certainly). Is low volume a disqualifer? It seems to meet the requirements (under $54K and a regular production option). As impressive as the dual-clutch gearbox from VW/Audi is, it's not an engine, it isn't relevant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It performs plenty by gulping down fuel like it's going out of style. Efficiency has to be part of the equation, or else a 4.6 mod motor would be on the list too, cause it puts out HP.

        Besides, there the Prius and Fusion Hybrid engines, as good as they are, don't perform well by your measure. No 4.7 to 60 there. So I'm not sure they are judging by the criteria you imply.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I apologize for moving to the STI actually. I didn't think the award specified, so I picked the most obvious example.

        The award says Legacy 2.5GT. It makes 18/24 in an AWD wagon, which still stinks. The Audi A6 quattro wagon makes 18/26 despite being larger, heavier and having a 3.0 supercharged engine making 300HP and having full-time AWD like the Subaru. A Cadillac CTS wagon (like mine but AWD) also makes 18/26 despite being larger, heaver and having a 3.6L NA engine making 304HP and having AWD (not really like the Subaru's AWD though).

        I don't mind the Subaru boxer engine, it's just don't see how it's one of the 10 best right now.

        So BigWill, just to get this straight, you're saying they probably were disappointed by the engine because they tested it in the Cobalt SS, the car autoblog called the best car to wear the bowtie? Do I have that right? If you want to put it down, say they tested it in an HHR SS, that's probably the least exciting car with that engine in it.

        But funny thing, they picked the 2.4L Ecotec despite driving it in an Equinox.

        The LNF did win before, and even got improvements the year after when it only required regular gas instead of premium to make the 261 rated HP.
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, I get it, you are not a fan of the 2.5 boxer, no worries. You jumped to an STi on me when we were chatting about the WRX though. 265 vs. 305. Mileage is indeed worse on the STi . No matter, it's a nice engine, old or not, efficiency be damned. I am far from caring much in this regard. When I want to go green, I ride my bike. Drill baby drill.
        And when I said the turbo hurts the mileage, it's because boost = fun. I keep it spooled, mileage suffers. I get on the highway and cruise at 70, I average 26 and change. I can live with that. And throw an AWD system in that Solstice you mention and I bet the mileage would be on par with a WRX. I've not driven a turbo Solstice, but I bet I'd keep my foot in it too. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ LS2LS7 -

        Sir, the Legacy is not available as a wagon here in the U.S. - maybe JDM?. To get a wagon here , you must buy an Outback. The Outback only comes with the N/A 2.5L or the 3.6 - no turbo at all. The Legacy GT (2.5LT) is rated at 18/25 per the website.

        The Audi site says the A6 Avant Quattro gets 17/25, and that's with Direct Injection, which I hear is better for efficiency - missing on the Subaru. And besides, this engine is on the list, as tested in an S4. The S4 gets 18/28 - most impressive. The A6 wagon barely slots in under the $54K cap, but the S4 is comfortably in there, and gives 33HP more to boot! Good show.

        And although I have a WRX, I am not a Subaru fanboy, as in all honesty, if I had the means, the A6 Avant would most likely be my wagon of choice. Bang-for-the-buck, my WRX wagon is hard to beat though. And I agree all else being equal, Subaru does need to try and improve efficiency some.

        You got me on the Caddy. I love those, and I bet you are pleased with yours. Another solid bang-for-the-buck deal, just more bucks, lol. Must not have met some of the criteria to get on this list though. And you seem to be fond of the GM stuff, which is fine. That Cobalt SS is indeed a ripper, but sadly it's a great motor and suspension wrapped in a POS. Your CTS, Vettes, and Camaros are about the only cars GM has that I like, not counting the killed-off G8 series Ponchos.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Tau's increase is of note because of all the different upgrades Hyundai did to achieve it in an engine that's just been on the market one model year. But the note is Autoblog's, not Wards, if you were referring to the list. It's not what got the Tau considered; being a winner last year was. And after being compared to other new engines and winners from last year, it still came out well enough to be on here again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, we will see if Ford's new 5.0 bumps the Hyundai 4.6.

        Regarding the turbo 4 engines, is it a matter of volume/significance? How many more engines does VW/Audi move than Chevrolet? (HHR, Cobalt, ...?) VW has been on the double clutch train for, what five years?
        The VW/Audi engine might have a better BSFC, but the ridiculously short german gearing gives it all away.

        The 10hp bump, sure it is negligible, but it shows Hyundai is going to 'out kaizen' the Japanese.
        It would be really nice to also get the ZF 6hp28 for the 2nd year (sportier & better mileage).
        3rd year: direct injection & Hyundai 8 speed auto
        4th year: 5.0 liter displacement & cylinder shutoff

        5th year: New Genesis with available 'awd' and supercharger

        What is the 5-60 of the WRX?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @LS2LS7 -

        "They scored each engine based on horsepower, torque, refinement, technical relevance and comparative data."

        Seems as though no, efficiency is not part of what they look at in judging. And I don't think I implied anything other than as old as the boxer may be, it remains an excellent engine. You were the one that stated it was not up to date on performance sir. The numbers clearly state otherwise. And again, I'm not arguing it's poor MPG numbers, although I must remind you all those power plants are in AWD vehicles which you know does mileage no favors. Nor does the turbo in this application. And no, the Prius and hybrid Fusion are not screamers, but based on the judging criteria noted in the press release, do indeed have a rightful spot on that list.

        Where the press release mentions efficiency is in relation to how the list is dominated by engines that are smaller and more efficient to satisfy the current desires of the masses. And those masses have the option of the Impreza, Forester, Outback, or Legacy with the same mill sans turbo which do a respectable job with mileage in spite of the AWD. I drove a new Outback the other day with both the new Lineartronic CVT and the newly available 6-spd manual, and they were quite impressive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ MikeW -

        6.3 from here:


        And will Ford's new 5.0 bump the Tau how? Off the list? In HP/TQ?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've always been a pretty big fan of the 2.5 in the Fusion Hybrid - way nicer gas mileage than the Camry Hybrid (8 MPG more highway) without looking like the devil's face.

      The new Equinox has a decent setup as well... should I be so suprised that two of the engines on this list power the most fuel efficient vehicles in their respective classes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        See the MotorTrend comparison.
        Toyota could use a newer engine
        and where is the Valvematic at?

        Ford never acquired any cool technology from its subordinates, lucky them Toyota is sandbagging it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know how much the facts hurt Matt, but please, the EPA estimates put the Fusion at 41/36, not Ford "carelessly" claiming things. People have reported ranges from 32 to 51 for real world mileage.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You're welcome to go away at any time now, Luis.

        Clearly, nobody likes you. Not even your own parents, in fact!
        • 5 Years Ago

        You're the a--hat that made me have to change my posting name (originally "Matt", which is my real name) after having used it for years, so I wouldn't get mistaken for you.

        You're pathetic. Go away.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Camry is not ugly...at least Toyota hasn't melted a ton of chrome on it's face to brighten it up. While not a stand out, the Camry has a classic, proportioned look to it. The Fusion on the other hand is bland from the side and outrageous up front...the front and profile views don't match.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's pointless. "Under 54,000 dollars" for an engine award is pretty pointless, since most of the stuff in cars under that are just trickle-down from really good engines. It comes down to who lets their technology trickle down the most.

      Why 54 anyway? Add a few thousand to the limit and you'd have the C63, M3 and IS-F's engines in the mix. They're barely above 54,000 and you'd be hard pressed to find more advanced engines than those(under 100,000 dollars).
      • 5 Years Ago
      What? No mainstream engines from the Toylex except for that anemic Prius abortion? Maybe if they did'nt come pre-sludged from the factory they may have had a chance. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH what a feeling!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, they are so terrible that people keep buying another one after their Corolla gives them 150,000 or so low maintenance miles. (Not that other makes engines can't do the same thing) That sludge thing is way overblown.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tell me what happens when you don't often change the oil in supercharged V8, maybe even the one in the CTS-V.

        IMHO. Toyota excels at manufacturing engines and making them light. Toyota's engines are nothing spectacualar, their fuel consumption isn't much different from any other tier one company. Their power per liter isn't astounding. But, they are abnormally light compared to the competitors' engines and Toyota begins setting their engines in at the factory - something many other car makers don't do.
      • 5 Years Ago
      HONDA the biggest looser.
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