For an editor who spends her days pouring over sobering stories about business strategies of global automakers in foreign countries, being a member of this year's Best Engines voting bunch was pure pleasure.
Twice so, since I spend my time commuting to work in a no-nonsense Jeep Grand Cherokee. What a joy to zoom down the freeway propelled by the Audi A4's 1.8L turbo, or glide along two-lane blacktop with the Mercedes C320's seamless 3.2L six. How satisfying to rev that throaty Honda S2000 2L 4-cyl. to a mind-boggling 9,000 rpm just to listen to those 240 horses scream. And, be still my beating heart, when it came to the Porsche Boxster and its 2.7L dual overhead cam six, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
But as the time to vote drew near, I felt reality's bite. Although the nifty niches were nice, and in some cases exquisite, the U.S. buying public prefers trucks and sport/utilities, as do I, and that calls for engines with heft.
Acura's new MDX-ute was a thing of beauty propelled by the nimble 240-hp 3.5L ultra-green six. Unfortunately, I had to scratch off a few points for the power-and-torque delay at midrange speeds. I had no such complaints about GM's new Duramax diesel V-8 that powers the brawny 2500 series Silverado. I asked and the engine gave flawlessly and without any noticeable diesel fumes inside the cab or out.
Much to my colleagues' surprise, I politicked for the black-on-black Ford F150 SuperCrew Harley Davidson limited edition, propelled by the meaty 260-hp 5.4L SOHC Triton V-8. They kidded me that I was swayed by the pickup's low-rider profile and specially tuned dual-chromed mufflers. Fact is the Triton, and its supercharged alter ego, deliver big torque at low speeds. That's my idea of truckin'.