Ward's AutoWorld 10 Best Engines List Names 2015's Most Innovative Motors

Since 1994 Ward's AutoWorld magazine has published an annual list of the ten "best" automobile engines available in the U.S. market. Only engines available in vehicles base-priced under $60,000 are eligible.

The engines are judged by real drivers in real-world driving conditions. The 2015 Ward's 10 Best Engines listing rates engines according to their power and torque, noise vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, and their overall level of technical innovation.



BMW i3 – 127-kW Electric Motor

If any vehicle can succeed in changing the popular perception of electric cars from quirky grocery-getters to genuine practical transportation, the BMW i3 can. The four-passenger's electric motor delivers an impressive 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque allowing 0-60 mph (97 km/h) times in the 7 second range.

Chevrolet Corvette – 6.2L OHV V8 Engine

The 2015 Corvette's 6.2L, LT1 V-8 engine is the most powerful engine in GM's re-engineered for 2014 small-block engine family. Carrying over into 2015, the potent LT1 benefits from a tuned performance exhaust system that raises the engine's output to 460 hp.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – 6.2L Supercharged OHV V8 Engine

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat houses its own 6.2L V-8, a supercharged Hemi motor that shreds pavement with a whopping 707 horsepower! Managing so many ponies isn't easy but Chrysler's engineers have employed extra-strong alloy pistons, a reinforced crankshaft and diamond-coated washers to ensure the Hemi behaves itself.

Ford Fiesta – 1.0L Turbocharged DOHC 3-Cylinder Engine

Small cars can go fast too; it's a matter of survival at highway speeds. Ford recognizes the needs of the freeway set with its 1.0L EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine, found in the supermini Fiesta. Tuned for both performance and economy, the engine puts out 123 hp and 125 lb.-ft. (169 Nm) of torque while delivering 38.9 mpg (6.0 L/100 km) as measured by one of the WardsAuto judges.   

Hyundai Tucson FCV – 100-kW Fuel Cell

The 2015 Hyundai Tucson FCV is the first fuel-cell vehicle to make the Ward's 10 Best Engines list and it's earned the honor, oddly enough, by NOT being exotic or unusual. The stylish CUV's underhood fuel-cell stack looks like any old engine while performance is noteworthy for its smoothness. Bringing hydrogen tech down to earth is vital for fuel-cell vehicles to gain the public's trust, and the Hyundai Tucson FCV does so spectacularly... and quietly.

Mini Cooper – 1.5L Turbocharged DOHC 3-Cylinder Engine

Opting for your vehicle of choice's base engine has traditionally been a sacrifice made for the sake of economy – fuel and personal. The 2015 Mini's 1.5L three-banger makes no apologies, however, delivering 134 hp while achieving at least 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) in no-holds-back driving tests. Buyers who pay under $20,000 for a 3-cylinder Mini will find themselves laughing all the way to the bank.

RAM 1500 EcoDiesel – 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V6 Engine

Diesel engines have come a long way from clattering “stinkers” with bus-like performance, and the Ram 1500 pickup's 3.0L V-6 has come the longest of the bunch. Engineered in Italy by Fiat-owned VM Motori, the Ram's powerplant performs smoothly and quietly while delivering a remarkable 24 mpg (9.8 L/100 km) in mixed daily driving. Now that's what's called putting the Eco in Diesel!




Subaru WRX – 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC H4 Engine

The 2015 Subaru WRX's 2.0L turbocharged, 4-cylinder boxer engine received new camshafts, rocker arms and electronic controller while its valve springs were re-engineered for higher revving. The result? An engine that provides an extra 18 hp but requires less boost pressure, equating to improved fuel economy in the 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km) range.  

Volkswagen Golf – 1.8L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cylinder Engine

The new 2015 VW Golf's cast-iron 1.8L four-banger produces 170 hp and 200 lb.-ft. (271 Nm) of torque; more torque than this engine delivered last year when installed in the heavier Jetta. Complementing the Golf's more invigorating performance is outstanding fuel economy: some of the WardsAuto road testers topped 33 mpg (7.1 L/100 km) in spirited driving! 

Volvo S60 – 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cylinder Engine

The Volvo S60 sedan's 2.0L Drive-E T5 engine offers everything owners of this “compact executive car” desire and then some. Rated at 240 hp, the smooth turbo-four still delivers 32 mpg (7.3 L/100 km) in daily driving. It's enough to make the iciest venture capitalist grin.



WardsAuto editors arrived at their 2015 Top Ten list after evaluating a total of 36 powertrains during October and November of 2014. “It's not just a list for enthusiasts or for environmentalists,” states WardsAuto World Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter. “There's something for every vehicle shopper and every budget. All the powertrains on this list deliver a first-rate driving experience.” (All images via AutoView)

For more information on the annual Ward's 10 Best Engines list, please visit Ward's AutoWorld.