Seven electrified powertrains are in the running for the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition. In this Under the Hood installment, we look at the Fiat 500e, Kia Soul, VW e-Golf and BMW i3 EVs, as well as the extended-range i3.
VW has three 4-cyl. gas turbos in this year’s Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, powering the VW Golf and GTI and Audi S3. To stand out in this crowd, an engine will need great fuel economy, lively step-off and a smooth demeanor in casual driving.
The ’14 Jetta we tested last year stickered for $23,985, compared with $21,815 for the fun and functional ’15 Golf TSI hatchback we are evaluating this fall. Stepping up the displacement ladder in the EA888 engine family brings us to the 2.0L turbo, which makes 220 hp in the new VW GTI and 292 hp in the ’15 Audi S3.
So why isn’t the industry giving us fantastic new naturally aspirated 6-cyl. engines? Blame CAFE. Engineering budgets can stretch only so far, and automakers have discovered a turbocharged 4-cyl. can deliver the same, if not better, performance.
For the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, we have seven new or improved gasoline 2.0L turbo-4s among the 38 nominees to evaluate, and a number of them, including the WRX boxer, are drawing solid reviews from the judges.
Eight WardsAuto editors drive the vehicles in October and November during their routine daily commutes in metro Detroit, the same way most Americans experience their vehicles – going to the grocery store, visiting relatives on weekends, taking kids to school and occasionally wearing down the treads with a thick smoky burnout in a vacant parking lot.
The pool of Ward’s 10 Best Engines nominees consists of the 2014 winners plus every new or significantly improved powertrain that is priced below $60,000 and is available in U.S. showrooms during the first quarter of 2015. Eight WardsAuto editors based in Southfield, MI, drive the vehicles in October and November.
Potential customers for 4x4 Sprinters include ski resorts needing to shuttle people through heavy snow; emergency crews needing to battle inclement weather; railroad workers coping with steep grades; and oil crews working in muddy conditions.
As the horsepower war rages on, it’s Chrysler’s turn this year to claim victory with a massively re-engineered Hemi “Hellcat” 6.2L pushrod V-8 said to corral the cumulative force of 707 ponies. Editors recently evaluated the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat for Ward's 10 Best Engines.
Automotive engineers gathered recently at Detroit's Cobo Center for SAE 2014 Convergence to map the future of electronics as it enables autonomous vehicles, electric drivetrains, new human-machine interfaces, greater connectivity and faster computing speeds. The conference featured several panel sessions, and 70 companies exhibited on the show floor. IAV also demonstrated its highly automated concept vehicle on Detroit highways.
Chief Johan de Nysschen is looking to lead Cadillac out of a “no-man’s” land, where its vehicles are priced too high for legacy customers and the brand lacks the equity required to conquest Mercedes and BMW buyers....More
In 2017, California’s emissions rules will change and FCVs will carry the traveling credits automakers use to remain 50-state compliant. The rule change could lead to a shift in OEM capital investment....More
The new model should appeal to customers of high-end European makes but “who really want an American car,” says Jim Farley, Ford’s chief marketing officer. “This is an in-your-face (car); there’s nothing subtle about it.”...More
How come we are not getting back to levels of the previous LV sales peak in 2006? The best answer to that question is the underperformance of pickups, especially the untapped potential of small pickups....More