Three electrified drivetrains earn spots on the Wards 10 Best Engines list for the first time ever, joined by two naturally aspirated V-6s, a muscle-car V-8, a turbocharged/supercharged 4-cyl., turbocharged inline 6-cyl. and two returning winners.

Now in its 22nd year, the competition recognizes outstanding engines and electrified propulsion systems, as well as the technology and engineering behind them.

The Class of 2016:

  • 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW 340i)
  • 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Chevrolet Camaro/Cadillac ATS)
  • 1.5L DOHC 4-cyl./120-kW Drive Motor (Chevrolet Volt EREV)
  • 5.2L DOHC V-8 (Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang)
  • 2.0L DOHC 4-cyl./50-kW Drive Motor (Hyundai Sonata PHEV)
  • 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Nissan Maxima)
  • 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V-6 (Ram 1500 EcoDiesel)
  • 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. Boxer (Subaru WRX)
  • 1.8L DOHC 4-cyl./53-kW Drive Motor (Toyota Prius HEV)
  • 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Volvo XC90)

“This is a list that’s loaded with innovation, from hybrids to muscle cars,” says Drew Winter, director-content at WardsAuto. “We have three groundbreaking electrified drivetrains for the first time ever, each representing a different technology: the gas-electric Prius hybrid, the plug-in hybrid Sonata and the extended-range electric Volt.”

WardsAuto editors selected the winners after spending October and November studying and driving all 31 nominees. There is no instrumented testing – only everyday driving to and from home, work, school, the grocery store and grandma’s house.

Editors score each engine based on horsepower, torque, comparative specs, noise attenuation, fuel economy and the application of new technology. The guiding principles: Does the engine or electric propulsion system truly sell the car or raise the bar for its competitive set?

The pool of candidates consists of the 10 winners from last year and the 21 powertrains that are all-new or significantly improved for ’16. Vehicles must have a base price no higher than $61,000 to be eligible. Last year’s price cap was $60,000. Volkswagen Group automakers were barred from participating this year because of its diesel emissions scandal.