A concise pro-and-con review of every engine evaluated for 2009, with nothing left on the table.
2.0L I-4 turbo – A4
- + David to V-6 Goliaths
- − Where to next, Audi?
- = The model to follow
3.0L I-6 turbodiesel – 335d
- + The Anti-Hybrid
- − Pricey diesel fuel
- = Diesel’s best emissary
3.0L I-6 turbo – 135i
- + Big power, no lag, tons of fun
- − Hard not to redline in every gear
- = One of the best ever. Period
5.7L Hemi V-8 – Ram/Challenger R/T
- + Multi-talented muscle
- − If Chrysler dies, so does Hemi
- = Decadence has its place
5.7L V-8 – Chrysler Aspen Hybrid
- + Yea, it’s got a Hemi
- − Why not a V-6 2-Mode?
- = We hardly knew ’ya
3.0L V-6 turbodiesel – Mercedes R320
- + Ideal grunt for big CUVs
- − Lazy throttle response
- = BMW diesel spoiled the honeymoon
2.5L I-4 – Escape
- + Serves a small trucklet well
- − Too thrashy
- = Where’s the mute button?
2.5L I-4 HEV – Escape Hybrid
- + 46 mpg not that difficult
- − NVH can be improved
- = Eco-friendliness, without dorkiness
3.0L V-6 – Escape
- + Nothing lame about 80 hp/L
- − Wait, which Escape was this?
- = EcoBoost me, please
4.6L V-8 – Mustang Bullitt
- + Steve McQueen would dig it
- − Where’s the beef?
- = Great bark, needs more bite
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
2.5L H-4 turbo – Subaru WRX STI
- + Classic boxer growl, turbo power
- − Daily commutes aren’t rally stages
- = Another candidate for direct injection
2.2L I-4 – Chevrolet Cobalt XFE
- + Decent way to move small cars
- − Didn’t even get 30 mpg
- = This is extreme fuel economy?
2.8L V-6 turbo – Turbo X
- + Sweet, smooth boost aplenty
- − Overpriced and too thirsty
- = A good turbo-4 works just as well
3.6L V-6 – CTS
- + Balanced, powerful and flexible
- − Can GM afford upgrades?
- = Deceptively effective
3.6L HEV – Vue 2-Mode
- + Tons of power for a hybrid
- − Is this what America wants?
- = Performance HEVs a hard sell
6.0L V-8 HEV – GMC Yukon 2-Mode
- + Seamless operation in big SUV
- − Price too high for 18 mpg
- = Superb engineering for questionable cause
Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
1.5L I-4 – Fit
- + Nifty for the thrifty
- − Careful in the fast lane
- = Fine argument against hybrids
3.5L V-6 – Accord Coupe
- + Ain’t no secretary’s car
- − A little soft near redline
- = Loads of fun, yet practical
3.7L V-6 – Acura TL SH-AWD
- + 82 hp/L not too shabby
- − Shoulda had a V-8
- = More bored than stroked
Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.
2.4L I-4 – Sonata
- + Has potential to be better
- − We’re waiting…
- = The plight of the World Engine
3.8L V-6 – Genesis
- + Solid all-rounder
- − Annoyingly average
= Flying coach in first-class field
4.6L V-8 – Genesis
- + Purrs, then pounces
- − Volumes shamefully low
- = Welcome to the big leagues, H
Mazda Motor Corp.
2.3L I-4 turbo – Mazdaspeed3
- + Corruptively powerful
- − Runs out of steam at high revs
- = The future of muscle cars
2.5L I-4 – Mazda6
- + Delightfully peppy, fuel efficient
- − A tad too pedestrian
- = Great I-4 workhorse
Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
2.0L I-4 turbo – Evo X
- + Firecracker power surge
- − Turbo spools up at glacial pace
- = Awesome, for about 15 minutes
2.4L I-4 – Lancer GTS
- + Fun to thrash
- − Doesn’t reward with much
- = Not that impressive
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
3.7L V-6 – Infiniti G37S
- + Fast-revving, hot-rod gusto
- − Needs to attend NVH charm school
- = Come back and see us next year
Suzuki Motor Corp.
2.4L I-4 – Grand Vitara
- + Simple can be best
- − More noise than motivation
- = Merely adequate
Toyota Motor Corp.
1.8L I-4 – Corolla
- + It’s about efficiency, not power
- − Point A, meet Point B
- = Maybe GM still has a chance
2.7L I-4 – Highlander
- + Decent alternative to small V-6
- − Hardly gets the blood flowing
- = A smart play by Toyota
3.5L V-6 – Lexus IS 350
- + Swiss-clock precision, superb powerband
- − Needs vocal lessons
- = Technology tour de force
2.0L I-4 turbodiesel – Jetta TDI
- + Urea aftertreatment unnecessary
- − Took 12 years for TDI to return to list
- = A great deal, even without $1,300 credit
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.