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Why the world’s best engines are smaller than ever

Every year for the past 18, the tech gang at Ward's Automotive compile their list of the ten best engines in the world. This year's list sports the smallest lineup ever, with the average engine roughly half as big as it was a decade ago. Here's why the size of your block may not matter anymore.

First, the official list and the vehicles they're most often found in:

Instead of size, automakers have been pushing toward tinier engines to save fuel, while using tech bits like direct injection, super- & turbocharging and other tricks to keep power steady. Yet there's only one hybrid on the list — a reflection that many hybrids push for fuel economy at the expense of good driving — and no diesels, a slight the oil-burning community will not appreciate.

Also missing: Any engines from Toyota, Honda or  Mercedes, three companies that have suffered their share of misfortune as of late, some of it self-inflicted. And all the vehicles powered by this list are quite popular. Having a top engine won't redeem a terrible car — but it's a requirement for building a great vehicle.