Top 10 Best Engines of 2018: WardsAuto

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

WardsAuto has revealed its picks for the top 10 best engines of 2018.

Now in its 24th year, the 2018 Wards 10 Best Engines list saw a couple newcomers and no German automakers. The winners were chosen after WardsAuto editors spent October and November evaluating 32 engines and electric propulsion systems during routine commutes in metro Detroit.

Jaguar and Kia make their debut on the list, while four electrified powertrains are honored for the first time in a single year.

SEE ALSO: Confirmed: the Honda Civic Type R has One of the Best New Engines

See the full list of 2018’s top 10 best engines according to WardsAuto below.

Chevrolet Bolt EV: 150-kW electric propulsion system

Last year, WardsAuto wasn’t able to test the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt but that changed this year. WardsAuto found the Bolt “quick and smartly designed,” while torque is more than abundant resulting in thrilling acceleration. Its 238-mile (383-kilometer) range makes the Bolt attractive to a wider audience compared to other electric vehicles in today’s market that fall shy of the 200-mile figure.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 PHEV

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is one of only two returning winners this year, offering a 33-mile (53-kilometer) all-electric range from its plug-in hybrid powertrain. WardsAuto was able to see nearly 35 mpg on the odometer in mixed daily driving that usually exceeded battery range, adding that it finds “the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to be a stroke of genius.”

Ford F-150: 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6

Each year, cars have the upper hand in WardsAuto‘s competition for best engines, since they’re lighter, quicker off the line, and more fuel efficient. That explains why it has been five years since a gasoline engine from a pickup truck has been named to the list. This year, the Ford F-150’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 makes the list with WardsAuto‘s staff “blown away by its vibration-free idle, its nearly imperceptible stop/start system and especially its tomb-like silence.”

Ford Mustang GT: 5.0-liter V8

Joining the F-150 on this year’s list is the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V8 engine. The redesigned V8 shares some of its technology with the 5.2-liter V8 found in the Shelby GT350 that made it onto the list two years ago. With 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the engine is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission that helps the Mustang be surprisingly efficient returning 24 mpg.

Honda Clarity: 130-kW fuel cell/electric propulsion system

Honda‘s hydrogen fuel cell Clarity gets a nod, which a 366-mile (589-km) range of driving without stopping. That gives the Clarity the longest range of any zero-emissions vehicle available, while sporting a top speed of 103 mph. WardsAuto also noted the Clarity’s “Acura-level driving dynamics and delightfully silent operation,” and added that it managed to chirp the tires in sport mode. Who says emissions-free driving had to be boring?

Honda Civic Type R: 2.0-liter VTEC turbo four-cylinder

Honda’s second Wards 10 Best Engines winner couldn’t be more different than its first. Instead of an emissions-free powertrain, the second winner goes to the 2.0-liter VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Type R. With 306 hp, the Civic Type R is the most powerful Honda to ever reach the U.S. and its engine represents the Japanese automaker’s 18th trophy for 10 Best Engines. It is however, the first with forced induction. WardsAuto went on to say a close derivative of the same engine is used in the new Honda Accord and that powerplant “damn near made the list this year as well.”

Infiniti Q50: 3.0-liter turbo V6

Another returning winner this year is the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 models. Sporting 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, its responsive throttle and lack of turbo lag attributed to its trophy, along with electrically variable-valve timing and a weight-saving exhaust manifold design within the cylinder heads. Oh yeah, it probably helps that the engine allows the Q50 and Q60 to go zero-to-60 in less than five seconds.

Jaguar XF: 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder

The first of the two newcomers on the list is Jaguar with its Ingenium 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. There are two versions of the engine, with WardsAuto testing the low-output variant with 247 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. And although its performance figures are similar to other luxury turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the publication said the powerplant’s unique electrohydraulic valvetrain ranks with the best of them. Next year, WardsAuto will be testing the 296-hp version that is found in several Jaguar vehicles.

Kia Stinger GT: 3.3-liter turbo V6

Kia earns its first Wards 10 Best Engines trophy thanks to the 3.3-liter turbo V6 engine found in the new Kia Stinger GT. Generating 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, the engine is quiet and smooth at idle, which is misleading since as one WardsAuto judge said, “Illegal speeds arrive s quickly.” The Korean automaker likes to compare the 3.3-liter mill to BMW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six cylinder engine, which may be a bit unfair considering BMW’s engine is less displacement and only has one turbo. But BMW’s engine was a winner last year and this year it isn’t – instead, Kia is taking home the hardware.

Toyota Camry Hybrid: 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder hybrid

Toyota earns its 13th Wards 10 Best Engines trophy this year, thanks to the hybrid powertrain found in the Camry Hybrid. The Prius has earned four trophies since 2001, but this time around it isn’t Toyota’s signature hybrid taking home the win. The Camry returned no less than 40 mpg despite aggressive driving in a vehicle that’s considerably larger than the Prius. WardsAuto says Toyota has managed to choreograph the interaction between the 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and electric motor “into an elegant, seamless, high-tech ballet.”

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

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 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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  • VerifiedReports VerifiedReports on Dec 28, 2017

    "Top 10 best" doesn't make sense. It's either "the 10 best" or the "top 10." "Top 10 best" is essentially "The 10 best best."

  • Jon Doe Jon Doe on Jan 25, 2018

    Really no Demon 808 HP Supercharged V8? Tesla model 3 or Roadster too much of a slouch? But the Camry, Clarity and Pacifica make it on this list?! What next? Oh the 2018 Prius has a revolutionary 99HP of PURE POWER. They list all these engines which are good in different ways... no real "best" engines shown here as they are all for different demographics... they keep mixing performance engines with fucking minivans.