Not so long ago, the cars and trucks with the best V6 engines were still taking the back seat to those with the top V8s. Today, on the other hand, powertrain technologies like direct injection, turbocharging and supercharging are squeezing V8-style power from smaller-displacement engines — and boosting fuel efficiency at the same time. That’s why, even though we do feature a few pre-owned possibilities in our latest gallery, we only go back a few years to when next-gen forced-induction V6 engines first became popular. Oh, and with that popularity expected to continue rising unchecked, we’ll also cover options from the present and upcoming model years, along with a couple of naturally aspirated V6s for old time’s sake.
10 Cars and Trucks with the Best V6 Engines
Photo Credit: Ford
2014 Ford F-150
Indeed, many of the modern-day cars and trucks with the best V6 engines owe at least some of their success to a pickup. It was the F-150, remember, that helped prove the case for using high-powered twin-turbo V6 engines instead of traditional V8 powerplants in many vehicles. And because of its timing, the 2014 F-150 is an especially worthwhile choice: This truck offers a sophisticated 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that combines improved fuel efficiency with 365 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque and an 11,300-pound towing limit. While it’s true that the current F-150 provides multiple EcoBoost choices, the 2014 models were the last ones before Ford began using aluminum for the truck’s body and bed panels — which may matter to some shoppers.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
2018 Dodge Challenger
Though better known for the insane Hemi V8 engines that power the Hellcat and Demon models, the 2018 Dodge Challenger is also notable for its GT version — offered only with a V6 — which represents the only modern-day muscle car with all-wheel drive. That gives the Challenger a serious advantage in all-weather handling, and there’s plenty of power on tap despite the car’s engine size. In fact, the Challenger GT’s award-winning naturally aspirated Pentastar V6 is good for 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. Because the AWD setup automatically and seamlessly disconnects the front axle when the maximum grip isn’t needed, EPA ratings can reach 27 mpg on the highway.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
Although Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost engines have no trouble attracting customers in the full-size pickup segment, naturally aspirated V6 powerplants are less popular here. In the midsize segment, however, these engines are premium options in some of the category’s most capable trucks. The V6-powered 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is a prime example, standing out as a top pre-owned pickup in its class. A key benefit is the truck’s 3.6-liter engine, too, since the Colorado claimed 2015’s highest midsize tow rating: 7,000 lbs. But the Colorado also impressive with technology, thanks to features like a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and safety measures that include a rearview camera, lane-departure warning, and forward collision warning.
Photo Credit: Kia
2018 Kia Stinger
After developing serious buzz when it was first introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2018 Kia Stinger is setting new standards for style and performance as the brand’s flagship sport sedan. This is no front-wheel drive wannabe, either. The Stinger is a rear-wheel drive performer that also aims to compete against the premium European choices with available all-wheel drive and a sleek “sportback” design.
Meanwhile, available beneath the car’s long and powerful hood is an equally powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Topping out at 365 horses and 376 lb-ft of torque, this unit is expected to yield 0-60 times of about 6 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph. Also expected is a full complement of high-end technologies and driver-assistance measures.
Photo Credit: Lexus
2018 Lexus LS
The 2018 Lexus LS is part of the new wave of range-topping cars and trucks with V6 engines. These are the vehicles that rely on advanced twin-turbo technology for their motivation, and in the LS, for instance, that tech is directly drawn from the world of Formula 1 racing. The result is a mechanical masterpiece in the shape of a 3.5-liter V6, which then delivers 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
It’s also worth pointing out how that output is delivered: through the brand’s first 10-speed automatic transmission and straight to the rear wheels, just the way it’s supposed to be in high-performance cars. All-wheel drive, of course, is available, as is a hybrid propulsion system with a naturally aspirated V6.
Photo Credit: Jaguar
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
If you’re shopping for the cars and trucks with the best V6 engines, but you want the best of both worlds when it comes to performance and cargo capability, be sure to consider the Leaping Cat brand. Not only does Jaguar offer a pair of premium SUVs — the E-Pace and F-Pace — but it’s also returning to the station wagon segment with the 2018 XF Sportbrake.
Building on the same platform as the XF premium sport sedan, the Sportbrake adds a maximum cargo capacity of 69.7 cubic feet — slightly more than in a 2018 Ford Escape. The wagon’s standard 3.0-liter supercharged V6 also makes an impact in the hauling department, providing 380 horsepower, 332 lb-ft of torque and 0-60 times of 5.3 seconds.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
2018 Infiniti Q60
With the lightest, cleanest and most powerful turbocharged V6 ever offered to the brand’s drivers, the 2018 Infiniti Q60 is a natural pick for our list. Just keep in mind that the same engine can be ordered with two different output ratings for the Q60. Most V6 Q60s serve up a robust 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the Red Sport version gets the green flag with 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The Q60 is a rear-wheel drive performer that matches its upscale rivals with an optional all-wheel-drive system. (Note that the Q60 entry model comes with a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine.)
Photo Credit: Acura
2017 Acura NSX
Another singular vehicle from our gallery is the 2017 Acura NSX — and we’re not talking about its supercar styling. Sure, that design is strikingly exotic, but so is the NSX's powertrain. The heart of the matter is unsurprising: a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Also in the mix are three electric motors as part of a high-performance hybrid propulsion system. The bottom line for NSX drivers is a steep 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque, bolstered by a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electrically-enabled version of Acura’s signature Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Photo Credit: Genesis
2018 Genesis G70
Hyundai's new standalone luxury division recently completed its current three-car lineup, introducing the 2018 Genesis G70 compact sport sedan. It’s an attractive addition, too, from its aggressive exterior design to its high-comfort cabin with quilted-leather door panels and Nappa leather seats.
For our purposes, the G70’s powertrain options are likewise top-notch and include a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that checks in with 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and as you might guess, drivers also can opt for an all-wheel-drive setup. Regarding get-up-and-go, the G70 can get from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.7 seconds.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG
2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe
Okay, the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 for the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe doesn’t get the same hand-built engine treatment as the V8 powerplants from the Mercedes performance division. But it does receive enough AMG TLC — including high-tech cylinder coatings — to produce 362 horsepower, 384 lb-ft of torque and 0-60 times of 4.6 seconds.
Further AMG enhancements for this high-performance C-Class coupe extend to a nine-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, a sport suspension with adaptive variable dampers and specific style elements. Finally, from the Mercedes side of the business, the C43 showcases luxury cues such as real wood and aluminum cabin trim, a panoramic sunroof, Burmester surround-sound audio and a wealth of safety features.