The 2016 Wards 10 best engines list has been released with electrified powertrains paving the way.
The three electrified drivetrains were joined by a pair of naturally aspirated V6 engines, a V8, a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine, a turbocharged inline-six and two previous winners. This is the 22nd year WardsAuto has released its list of 10 best engines, which recognizes outstanding engines and electrified propulsion systems, as well as the technology and engineering behind them.
SEE ALSO: Ward’s 10 Best Engines of 2015 Announced
BMW 340i – 3.0L turbocharged inline six
BMW remains the most-honored automaker having claimed 32 Wards 10 Best Engines trophies since it began in 1995. The latest award goes to the German automaker’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine found in the BMW 340i and will likely head to other models in the near future. With 320 horsepower, the new engine B58 replaces the former N55 that earned three trophies from 2011 to 2013.
Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac ATS – 3.6L V6
The all-new 3.6-liter V6 found in the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac ATS models demonstrates that the V6 engine is no longer just a consolation price for a customer who really wanted a V8 but couldn’t afford it. Pumping out 335 hp, the naturally aspirated engine offers plenty of torque in fifth and sixth gears and has Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation that cuts off air and fuel to two cylinders under light loads.
Chevrolet Volt – 1.5L four cylinder with electric drive motor
There’s a lot to like about the second-generation Chevrolet Volt and WardsAuto has spotlighted the electric drivetrain. Using an improved 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and more powerful batteries, the powertrain is also lighter than before and gets an electric range of 53 miles, an improvement from the first-generation Volt’s 38 miles. The publication was able to achieve 44 mpg on a 227-mile roadtrip with the Chevrolet Volt, but with daily charges for a week WardsAuto racked up the equivalent of 229 mpg in all-electric driving.
Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang – 5.2L V8
When we first heard about the flat-plane crankshaft-equipped Ford Shelby GT 350 Mustang, we knew it was going to be a monster. The 5.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine churns 526 hp and is derived from the 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 engine that previously won Best Engine trophies in 2011 and 2012. WardsAuto editors consider the powerplant “the pinnacle of internal-combustion engineering.”
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid – 2.0L four cylinder with electric drive motor
Quite the contrast from the adrenaline-pumping V8 found in the Shelby GT350 is the plug-in hybrid powertrain found in the Hyundai Sonata. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is paired an electric motor providing 67 hp and a 68-kW lithium-polymer battery. The result is at least a 27-mile electric range before the engine takes over. In some situations, WardsAuto editors achieved fuel economy between 41 and 80 mpg and found the sedan “enormously fulfilling and smooth to drive.”
Nissan Maxima – 3.5L V6
Nissan’s VQ family of engines have been celebrated worldwide and has claimed 15 Wards 10 Best Engines trophy. This year is actually Nissan’s 17th win after grabbing 14 straight trophies from 1995 and 2008. The improved 3.5-liter V6 found in the 2016 Nissan Maxima has 61 percent of its parts redesigned with the aim of reducing friction and weight while promoting better breathing. As a result, the engine delivers light, lively and refined power with plenty of midrange torque.
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – 3.0L V6
One of the two engines to repeat for 2016 is the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 found in the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup. Packing 420 pound-feet of torque, the powerplant “remains the gold standard for refinement and fuel efficiency in the world of light-duty trucks,” said WardsAuto. Fuel economy came in at a respectable 24 mpg after 10 days of testing.
Subaru WRX – 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer
The other repeat winner is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine found in the Subaru WRX. With 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the four-cylinder mill is the poster child for high-output, affordable turbocharged engines. Despite stiff competition with eight turbocharged four-cylinder engines in this year’s evaluations, the Subaru powerplant set itself apart with its low weight, twin-scroll turbocharger and attractive price tag.
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid – 1.8L four cylinder with electric drive motor
The Prius has claimed trophies in 2001, 2004 and 2010 and the fourth-generation model has brought another one to Toyota’s mantle. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 95 hp is paired to two electric motors to provide another 71 hp from batteries stored in the rear. Delivering seamless acceleration, the publication was able to see real-world fuel economy of up to 61 mpg. The 2016 Toyota Prius also came away delivering a quieter and silkier drive than the old Prius, while its “Power” button gave a noticeable kick on freeway entrance ramps.
Volvo XC90 – 2.0L turbocharged and supercharged four cylinder
Last year, Volvo took a trophy home with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder T5 engine found in the S60 sedan and even then, the Swedish automaker was confident it would make a return this year and it has. Pumping out 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine, the Volvo XC90 is a seven-seater crossover that manages to deliver around 24 mpg.
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