Special Report

Ward’s 10 Best Engines

Contrary to our critics, and one malcontent on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines jury, we have nothing against V-8s; it’s their cost and fuel economy we don’t like.

There is no vast eco conspiracy, no hidden agenda. We are acknowledging the world is changing, and we think it is important the list reflects what’s going on in the marketplace.

Ward’s 10 Best Engines is not a list designed for performance enthusiasts. It is not supposed to be a list of the most fuel-efficient engines, either.

Judges do consider performance and fuel efficiency very carefully, as well as engineering accomplishment.

We also evaluate how well an engine supports a vehicle’s brand identity and engineering mission.

But ultimately, our decision boils down to how well an engine helps sell a car or truck to an everyday consumer.

And these days, even affluent consumers have less money to spend and are more concerned about mileage.

We are not trying to hold V-8s back. We simply are holding them to a higher standard than before.

We’ve previously had V-8s on the list before that were certified by the Environmental Protection Agency as gas guzzlers. That’s not likely to happen again.

Jurors expect V-8s, like their smaller siblings, to be more power dense, more fuel-efficient and more affordable than ever.

But because V-8s have more cylinders and moving parts, they are more prone to friction losses and higher costs than 4-cyl. or 6-cyl. mills.

With fuel economy and cost looming larger in the background this year, we were not seduced quite so easily by captivating exhaust notes in low-volume performance cars, nor were we bedazzled by high-end technology in vehicles whose base price squeaked in just under our $54,000 price cap.

Even so, this does not mean V-8s were overlooked in our judging or will be in the future.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.’s Tau V-8 won a spot on this year’s list not because of its specific output, refinement, or efficiency. It won because it brought all these characteristics, and many others, into a surprisingly affordable package.

We know there are V-8s with these design goals being developed all over the world. And we look forward to testing every one.

dwinter@wardsauto.com

Ward's 10 Best Engines is a copyright of Penton Media Inc. Commercial references to the program and/or awards are prohibited without prior permission of Ward's Automotive Group.