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WardsAuto editors including Tom Murphy from left Bob Gritzinger Dave Zoia and Steve Finlay summarize this yearrsquos 10 Best Engines field
<p><strong>WardsAuto editors, including Tom Murphy <em>(from left),</em> Bob Gritzinger, Dave Zoia and Steve Finlay, summarize this year&rsquo;s 10 Best Engines field.</strong></p>

2016 Wards 10 Best Engines Quick Hits

A concise pro-and-con summation of all 31 powertrains evaluated in the 2016 competition. Many of these comments come directly from editor score sheets.


127-kW battery-electric 170 hp (BMW i3/EREV)

+ Wicked EV torque at any speed

- One-pedal driving a little scary

= Still so much fun


1.5L DI turbo I-3 134 hp (Mini Cooper)

+ Impressive power for its size

- Disappointing fuel economy

= Less compelling than last year


2.0L DI turbo I-4 228 hp (Mini John Cooper Works)

+ Extra 39 hp over last year’s version

- Other 2.0L turbos make more power

= Overshadowed by 3.0L BMW sibling


3.0L DI turbo I-6 320 hp (BMW 340i)

+ Another brilliant Bavarian 6-cyl. turbo

- $47,800 starting point with AWD

= Eager for more applications of B58


Fiat Chrysler

Jeep Grand Cherokee with 3.6L Pentastar V-6 has capless filler neck.

+ Sounds like Tesla relative to other diesels

- Would like a few more MPGs real-world

= Three-peat complete


3.6L Pentastar V-6 295 hp (Jeep Grand Cherokee)

+ 2-step variable valve lift, 15% more torque

- 18-19 mpg not moving the bar

= Last Pentastar felt more confident



1.0L EcoBoost I-3 123 hp (Focus)

+ Excellent specific output

- Buzzy at top of rev range

= A blast in Fiesta but pedestrian here


5.2L V-8 526 hp (Shelby GT350 Mustang)

+ Loud and proud

- Voodoo needs 91 octane

= … And we will gladly pay for it 


General Motors

1.5L 4-cyl./120-kW Motor 101 hp (Chevrolet Volt)

+ Smooth, quiet and runs on regular fuel

- A tad light accelerating from 60 to 75 mph

= What’s not to love?


1.5L DI turbo I-4 160 hp (Chevrolet Malibu)

+ Great package for most buyers

- Runs low on power/torque when passing

= Where future is headed


Chevy Colorado with 2.8L diesel 4-cyl. towing 5,000 lbs.

+ Not bad towing 5,000 lbs.

- Loud and thirsty

= Hard justifying $6,625 premium


3.6L Flex-Fuel V-6 260 hp (Chevrolet Impala)

+ Seamless transitions from gasoline to CNG

- Steep $9,500 premium

= Keep it for the fleets


3.6L DI V-6 335 hp (Chevrolet Camaro/Cadillac ATS)

+ Tons of fun, with 22 mpg

- Injector clatter on cold mornings

= Expect more Camaro V-6 takers, GM


3.6L DI twin-turbo V-6 464 hp (Cadillac ATS-V)

+ Fast, fun, furious and titanium con rods

- Dangerously close to price cap

= Hurts to leave it off the list


6.2L DI V-8 455 hp (Chevrolet Camaro SS)

+ Love the 6MT rev matching

- Not ideal for daily driving

= Outgunned by Ford Voodoo V-8



1.5L DI turbo I-4 174 hp (Honda Civic)

+ Trumps Malibu 1.5L in fuel economy

- CVT spoils the fun

= 1.5 is the new 2.0


2.0L I-4 158 hp (Honda Civic)

+ Peppy, 32 mpg, reasonably priced

- Nothing here beyond bland

= Couldn’t wow the judges



100-kW fuel cell (Hyundai Tucson FCV)

+ Quieter than a hair drier

- World needs more hydrogen pumps

= Push for repeat win runs out of fuel


Hyundai Tucson's 1.6L turbo-4.

+ Great numbers overall

- Lag at launch, dull mid-range

= Nice package with 7-speed DCT


2.0L I-4 147 hp (Hyundai Elantra) 

+ 37.4 mpg real-world

- Underpowered, thrashy at high rpm

= Sounds, feels like old-school 4-banger


2.0L DI I-4/38-kW Motor 193 hp (Sonata HEV) 

+ Nothing wrong with 39.9 mpg

- Weak off line in cold temps

= Less impressive than PHEV


2.0L DI I-4/50-kW Motor 202 hp (Sonata PHEV) 

+ Frequent plug-ins = outrageous mileage

- Blender-like in HEV mode

= Runs well with Volt, Prius



3.0L DI bi-turbo V-6 362 hp (C450 AMG)

+ Big jump in output from 329 hp last year

- Lacks personality

= Too much 6-cyl. competition this year


0.9L turbo 3-cyl. 89 hp (Smart Fortwo)

+ Massive improvements in power, NVH

- Shouldn’t it get better than 24 mpg?

= Charlie Brown: It wasn’t such a bad little tree



3.5L V-6 300 hp (Nissan Maxima)

+ Better mpg; sparkling thrust preserved

- CVT improved, but not ideal

= VQ returns for trophy No. 15


5.0L turbodiesel V-8 310 hp (Titan XD)

+ CGI block, two turbos impressive

- For special-purpose customer; loud, too

= Lost between light/heavy duties



2.0L DI turbo H-4 268 hp (WRX)

+ Nothing wrong with 134 hp/L

- With 6MT, impatient in heavy traffic

= Still moves bar among turbo-4s



1.8L I-4/53-kW Motor 121 hp system (Prius)

+ Engine’s 40% thermal efficiency a world first

- Touchy regenerative braking

= State-of-the-art high-mileage hybrid


Toyota Tacoma's 3.5L V-6 displaying 19.2 mpg during test drives.

+ Capable in both pickup and Lexus RX

- Redesigned but feels prehistoric

= Buried under better V-6s



2.0L DI T5 turbo I-4 240 hp (S60)

+ Still competent, powerful, refined

- Returning winner mojo has faded

= Second fiddle now to T6 sibling


2.0L DI T6 turbo/supercharged I-4 316 hp (XC90)

+ Yep, that’s 160 hp per liter

- Freeway merging can be trying

= It’s all a premium CUV needs

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