Electrification continues to power the Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems list, with seven electrified vehicles, including five battery-electrics and a pair of hybrids, earning 2022 honors, along with three new internal-combustion powerplants.
This year, 29 vehicles were evaluated with 17 electrified models in the mix, including 11 BEVs, four plug-in hybrids and two hybrids.
Of the 12 purely internal-combustion engines tested, there were seven 4-cyl. engines, two 6-cyl. engines, two V-8s and one 3-cyl. engine. Continuing a trend we’ve seen for several years, only two ICEs were naturally aspirated, with turbochargers fitted to eight of the nominees and superchargers on the two V-8s tested.
The Wards 10 Best list has recognized 28 years’ worth of engines, with scoring based on horsepower, torque, NVH management, observed efficiency and new technology onboard. A price cap for nominees that had been in place since 1995 was removed in 2021.
While evaluating the vehicles, only powertrains that are all-new or significantly improved are eligible for testing. The 2021 class of Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems winners are eligible to return, but only three winners accepted that invitation. Just one returning powertrain, the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 PHEV in the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, earned repeat honors.
That’s an indication of the tremendous level of development of new propulsion systems: Not too many years ago, a strong powertrain might have retained its spot on our list for several years in a row.
But with the pace of electrification and advances in internal combustion, it’s a rare propulsion system that can impress our judges for more than a year or two. Turnover in powertrains is at a peak moment, exemplified not only by the rush of electric propulsion systems coming to market, but also in internal-combustion development.
The 2022 Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems Winners, listed alphabetically:
• Acura Integra A-Spec – 1.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cyl.
• Ford F-150 Lightning – Electric Propulsion System
• GMC Hummer EV – Electric Propulsion System
• Hyundai IONIQ 5 – Electric Propulsion System
• Lucid Air – Electric Propulsion System
• Mercedes-Benz AMG EQS – Electric Propulsion System
• Nissan Rogue – 1.5L Variable-Compression Turbocharged DOHC 3-Cyl.
• Stellantis Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe – 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cyl. PHEV
• Stellantis Jeep Grand Wagoneer – 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6
• Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX – 3.5L Turbocharged DOHC V-6 HEV
Winners will be honored Oct. 27 during the Wards 10 Best & Engines & Propulsion Systems awards ceremony on the second day of the AutoTech: Electrification conference at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Learn more about the event and book your ticket by clicking this link.