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‘Ward’s’ Names 10 Best Engines Of 2010

Posted in Car Buying, Cars, Engines, Featured, Lists, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | December 9th, 2010 | 7 Responses |

Ford's 5.0 liter V8, a choice I agree with. Photo: Ford Motor Company

Let’s face it: 2010 was a great year to be into cars. We saw the introduction of a brand new 5.0 liter Mustang, as well as a 3.5 liter V6 Mustang that made nearly as much horsepower as the outgoing V8. On the green side, we saw the first serial hybrid powertrain in a commercially produced automobile, with the launch of the Chevy Volt, and the return of the mass market electric car with the Nissan Leaf. Even “ordinary” cars got more fuel efficient via the use of direct fuel injection, improved variable cam timing and lower friction internals. With that much progress in that short a time period, it‘s more than a little difficult to choose the “10 Best” engines of 2010, but Ward’s has just released their annual list.

Winners will receive their awards at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, but here are the engines that will be taking home trophies:

– Audi’s 3.0 liter TFSI Supercharged DOHC V6, from the S4
– BMW’s 3.0 liter Turbocharged DOHC I6, from the 335i and others
– Mini Cooper’s 1.6 liter Turbocharged DOHC I4, from the Mini Cooper S
– Dodge’s 3.6 liter Pentastar DOHC V6, from the Dodge Avenger
– Ford’s 5.0 liter DOHC V8, from the Mustang GT
– Chevy’s 1.4 liter DOHC I4 plus 111kW Electric Motor, from the Volt
– Hyundai’s 5.0 liter Tau DOHC V8, from the Genesis and Equus
– Nissan’s 80kW AC Synchronous Electric Motor, from the Leaf
– Volkswagen’s 2.0 liter Turbodiesel DOHC I4, from the Jetta TDI
– Volvo’s 3.0 liter Turbocharged DOHC I6, from the S60

I understand why Ward’s picked some of these engines, but other choices leave me scratching my head. The 3.0 liter BMW N55 motor that made the list is an update of their N54 motor, which BMW has been hit with a class action lawsuit over. I understand the 5.0 liter Ford making the list, but why pass over the 3.5 liter Ford V6, which is every bit as revolutionary? Hyundai’s Tau V8 may be an admirable first effort, but it needs some tweaking to get it competitive with other 5.0 liter V8 engines from the competition, and is there anything new or groundbreaking with VW’s 2.0 liter TDI? Sure, it’s a superb engine, but it’s not radically different from past versions as far as I can tell..

I can’t comment on some of the choices, since I simply haven’t driven them, and you can’t write a “10 Best” list without sparking controversy, but I really do wonder about a few of this year’s picks.

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7 Responses

  1. BigRuss says:

    cant complain with that list…. but the motors in the Nissan Leaf? im a bit dumbfounded on that one

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      BigRuss, I hear ya’. I’ve been lectured on using the term “motor” interchangeably with the term “engine”; technically, they’re two different things and a motor is not an engine. I’m not sure that Nissan even manufactures the electric motor used in the Leaf.

    • Djrosa says:

      now call me retarded but i thought most carmakers outsourced their engines to either daughter companies or independent contractors accept supercars. otherwise i must say that i really really love the 3.0 supercharged v6 in the s4, but that is partly since its a callback to the old turbocharged 3.0 v6 from the second gen S4. but a guess as a VAG freak i have a bit of a bias.

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  3. BigRuss says:

    yeah i remember gettin lectured in high school bout the difference between motor and engine…. so maybe someone needs to do a lil bit more research before they start making lists…

  4. Set says:

    The 2.0 TDI is a common rail clean diesel, a decent amount different from the prior versions. Not radically, but different enough. I believe the other engines are SOHC, too. Could be mistaken. I think they added it because it’s an excellent step in the right direction for the automobile, but, I do think there are some better engines that could have made the list instead.

  5. Kurt Ernst says:

    Set, thanks for the info! I’ve always liked VW TDI’s and once spent two week blasting around Germany in a Skoda Oktavia TDI with the DSG gearbox. The car was everything I wanted, and used about 1/3 the fuel I’d budgeted for.

    I just wish we had access to more VWs in the press fleet.