Ward's 10 Best Engines of 2015 Announced
Each year, WardsAuto evaluates and determines its top 10 best engines and this year, its editors evaluated 37 all-new or improved powertrains before choosing its favorites.
When all the dust settled, WardsAuto released its final list consisting of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell, a battery-electric vehicle, a pair of three-cylinder turbo engines, three four-cylinder turbo engines, a diesel V6 and two V8s. These are the results listed in alphabetical order.
BMW i3 – 127-kW Electric Motor
The BMW i3 was built from the ground-up to be an electric car, which means its electric powertrain had to perform. Sporting 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the BMW i3’s 127-kW electric motor allows the compact EV to go 0-60 mph in seven seconds. For those looking for additional range, buyers can opt for a 0.7-liter gasoline-fueled generator that doubles to range to about 150 miles.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – 6.2L V8
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s V8 makes a returning appearance, having been named one of WardsAuto‘s top 10 best engines last year. Providing 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, the Stingray can also have its power boosted slightly to 460 hp with a performance exhaust option. The LT1 V8 is the “heart and soul of the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette,” as WardsAuto puts it and it’s a powertrain that we’ve been more than satisfied with on occasions.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – 6.2L Supercharged V8
The addition of Dodge’s new SRT Hellcat engine onto the top 10 best engines list shouldn’t really come as a surprise with the 6.2L V8 providing a massive 707 hp that brings a whole new meaning to the words American muscle. What makes the SRT Hellcat’s V8 even more special is its two-stage fuel pump and engine controller that’s programmed to upshift the eight-speed automatic transmission as quickly as possible. The result is an awesome sports car that can actually be somewhat fuel efficient – at least as fuel efficient as you can get with 707 hp.
Ford Fiesta – 1.0L Turbocharged Three Cylinder
Another returning engine to the list is Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine that can be found in the Fiesta. Despite its small size and cylinder count, the 1.0-liter turbocharged engine provides 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque that gives the Fiesta impressive acceleration and adequate power on the freeway. Ward’s Auto called Ford’s compact engine “fuel-efficient, lightweight and fun to drive” and we’re inclined to agree.
Hyundai Tucson Fuel-Cell Vehicle – 100-kW Fuel Cell
A newcomer to the list of Hyundai’s first entry into the hydrogen fuel-cell market with its Tucson FCV which debuted last year. The five-passenger crossover is powerful and quiet with zero emissions and instant torque. Providing 134 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, the Tucson FCV is helping usher in a new generation of fuel-cell vehicles like the recently revealed Toyota Mirai.
MINI Cooper – 1.5L Turbocharged Three Cylinder
Over the past 21 years, MINI has won a pair of Ward’s 10 Best Engines trophies with its four-cylinder engines, but this time around, it’s the Cooper’s new three-cylinder with 134 hp that will be taking home a trophy. The turbocharged engine also helps the compact Cooper maintain respectable fuel economy figures and with a starting price of under $20,000 a fun compact hatch isn’t out of most people’s reach.
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – 3.0L Turbocharged V6 Diesel
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel’s engine is another powerplant that was seen on WardAuto‘s list last year and with the ability to return up to 28 mpg on the highway while offering 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, it’s no surprise that around 20 percent of Ram 1500 buyers are opting for the diesel V6 developed by Fiat-owned VM Motori.
Subaru WRX – 2.0L Turbocharged Flat Four
For the 2015 Subaru WRX, the Japanese automaker took its turbocharged flat-four engine found in the Forester and made it even better with 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. According to WardsAuto, the WRX’s six-speed manual transmission pairs up perfectly to the powerplant and AutoGuide.com‘s editors believe that the WRX is one of the funnest cars to hit the market this year.
Volkswagen Golf – 1.8L Turbocharged Four Cylinder
The fourth returning engine from last year’s list is Volkswagen’s 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Considering that WardsAuto tested 15 turbocharged four-cylinder engines this year, three of which were new from VW, seeing an engine return on the list is an admirable feat. Best of all, the four-cylinder helps transform the Golf into a fun-to-drive hot hatch, that is until the even hotter Golf R400 finally arrives.
Volvo S60 – 2.0L Turbocharged Four Cylinder
Last, but not least, is another turbocharged four-cylinder engine but this time it’s from Volvo. From the Swedish automaker’s new Drive-E engine family is the 2.0-liter T5 engine that can be found in the S60 sedan. Delivering 240 hp, the T5 wasn’t the only engine from Volvo that WardsAuto was impressed with. The more powerful (302 hp) turbocharged and supercharged T6 engine, which is also a 2.0-liter four-cylinder plant, also did well but the publication preferred the simpler, high-efficiency package from the T5.
Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.
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