The rising tide of new powertrain technologies just about swept clean the 2014 WardsAuto 10 Best Engines list. As noted by Tom Murphy, writing for WardsAuto.com: "Usually, at least four engines that won the prior year return to the winner's circle. This year, only two are returning winners."
Perhaps the chief reason for all those roster changes: the sudden influx of clean-diesel engines in the U.S. marketplace. In fact, this was the first time in the 20-year history of the Ward's 10 Best Engines program that more than two diesel powerplants were included on the annual honor roll, which featured:
- The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that powers the 2014 Audi S5 and delivers 333 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque; also boasting Audi's TSFI fuel-injection technology, this engine is a repeat winner from 2013.
- BMW's 3.0-liter I6 turbodiesel, found in the 2014 BMW 535d and developing 255 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque—while combining 38 mpg highway with a 5.8-second dash from 0-60.
- The first modern-day diesel engine for the light-duty truck segment, in the form of the multiple-award-winning 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that also brought Motor Trend Truck of the Year honors to the 2014 Ram 1500.
- Just one electric powertrain, that of the 2014 Fiat 500e. However, it did propel the car “from the chute like a pinball” and “consistently outperformed its indicated range (of 85 miles).”
- Ford’s suitcase-sized three-cylinder EcoBoost unit, introduced in this country in the 2014 Ford Fiesta, where it rings up an EPA line of 32 mpg city/45 mpg highway/37 mpg combined.
- The first modern-day diesel for the mainstream sedan segment—a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that motivates the 2014 Chevy Cruze with 151 horses, 254 lb.-ft. of torque and 46 mpg highway.
- Chevy’s 6.2-liter V8 on display in the all-conquering 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, serving up 450 hp, 460 lb.-ft. of torque and 29 mpg highway.
- A second repeat winner from last year, the 3.5-liter “Earth Dreams” V6 in the 2014 Honda Accord
- Porsche power, courtesy of the six-cylinder boxer-style engine that transforms 2.7 liters ofdisplacement into 275 hp and 213 lb.-ft. of torque in the 2014 Porsche Cayman.
- One final dynamo from Deutschland: the 1.8-liter turbocharged I4 powerplant that enables the 2014 VW Jetta to benefit from 170 hp, 184 lb.-ft. of torque and EPA grades of up to 36 mpg highway.