Automotive industry information and analysis firm WardsAuto has announced the results of its annual 10 Best Engines competition, which for two decades has recognized engines for outstanding performance, technology, and their ability to help sell a vehicle.
This year, the firm's editors evaluated 44 different powertrains that are new or significantly improved and will be available to consumers in a vehicle priced under $60,000. They also compared the newcomers to all 10 engines that won the award last year. Only two winners from the 2013 competition return to the 10 Best Engines list for 2014. Below, you'll find the 10 Best Engines winners for 2014, listed in alphabetical order by make and model.
Audi: Supercharged 3.0-liter V-6
Audi's 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 engine makes the 10 Best Engines list again for 2014. Characterizing the engine as possessing "brute strength, luscious torque, and supreme refinement," WardsAuto reminds car buyers that this is a fifth consecutive win for this engine, and that the last time any powertrain received five consecutive 10 Best Engines accolades was Audi's turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder from 2006 to 2010.
BMW: Turbo-diesel 3.0-liter 6-Cylinder
Installed in the BMW 5 Series and the BMW X5, this "amazingly quiet" 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel, inline 6-cylinder engine generates 416 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,500 rpm and achieved 35 mpg during testing conducted by WardsAuto.
Chevrolet: Turbo-diesel 2.0-liter 4-Cylinder
The Chevy Cruze Diesel is the only North American model to use this turbo-diesel, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, one that returned 37 mpg in combined driving for WardsAuto and which delivers "neck-snapping torque" when accelerating.
Chevrolet: 6.2-liter V-8
General Motors builds two related but different 6.2-liter V-8 engines. This one is the 460-horsepower version that's installed in the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. With direct fuel injection, cylinder-deactivation technology, and a long list of other upgrades to the Corvette's traditional pushrod V-8, the LT1 6.2-liter is one of the 10 Best Engines of 2014.
Chrysler: Turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6
Available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500 pickup truck, this turbo-diesel V-6 impressed the WardsAuto judges with its ability to get 24 mpg in the Ram truck and to "go about its business with little effort or humdrum."
Fiat: 83-kW Electric Motor
Citing its ability to exceed a stated 85 miles of range, relatively affordable price, light weight, and fun-to-drive nature, the Fiat 500e electric car earns a WardsAuto 10 Best Engines award for 2014. For now, the 500e is sold only in California.
Ford: Turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-Cylinder
Offered as an option in the 2014 Ford Fiesta, the automaker's turbocharged, 1.0-liter, EcoBoost inline 3-cylinder engine has already picked up numerous awards in other global markets. In mixed driving, WardsAuto editors achieved 37 mpg.
Honda: 3.5-liter V-6
Calling it "unflappable," WardsAuto says that the Honda Accord's optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine "is the best naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine in a mainstream vehicle." Cylinder-deactivation technology helped the Accord to achieve 28 mpg in WardsAuto testing. The engine is offered only in the most expensive Accord EX-L and Touring trim levels.
Porsche: 2.7-liter 6-Cylinder
By combining impressive power with equally impressive fuel economy, the new 2.7-liter 6-cylinder engine installed in the Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman earns a spot on the 10 Best Engines list for 2014. WardsAuto editors regularly achieved 23 mpg despite the fact that the tested Cayman model "begs to be driven hard and sounds spectacular in the process."
Volkswagen: Turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-Cylinder
This year, Volkswagen is replacing its aged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine with this, a new turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that earned a 10 Best Engines nod for 2014. Offered in the Beetle, Jetta, and Passat, and soon in the redesigned 2015 Golf, this new engine is "quiet, efficient, and a riot to drive in Sport mode," according to WardsAuto. The firm also called this new Volkswagen engine the new benchmark among turbocharged 4-cylinder power plants.