Wards Auto 10 Best Engines 2020 List; Smaller Engines Win Big

We’ve seen the Wards Auto 10 Best list adapt to the times over the past decade or so, with the past two years’ lists having four “electrified” powerplants on the list, and being an interesting mix of technology and displacement. This year’s list is still diverse but has a noticeable reduction in V8 engines. The only V8 on the list is General Motors LT2 6.2-liter pushrod engine out of the C8 Corvette.

“The auto industry is making tremendous strides by continuing to develop innovative internal-combustion engines while simultaneously investing in hybrids, battery-electrics, 48-volt “mild hybrids” and hydrogen-powered fuel cells,” says Wards Senior Content Director Drew Winter.

On the list below, you’ll notice the LT2 is the only pushrod engine on the list, while there are six turbocharged engines of both the four- and six-cylinder flavors, and four powerplants that utilize electricity in one form or another. In alphabetical order, this year’s Wards 10 Best are:

• BMW 3.0L DOHC Turbocharged I-6 (BMW M340i)
• Daimler 3.0L DOHC 48V Turbo I-6 (Mercedes-Benz GLE450)
• FCA 3.6L DOHC 48V eTorque V-6 (Ram 1500)
• Ford 2.3L DOHC High-Performance Turbo 4-Cyl. (Mustang)
• GM 3.0L DOHC TurboDiesel I-6 (GMC Sierra)
• GM 6.2L OHV V-8 (Chevrolet Corvette Stingray)
• Honda 2.0L DOHC Atkinson i-VTEC 4-Cyl./HEV (Accord Hybrid)
• Hyundai 150-kW Propulsion System (Kona EV)
• Hyundai 1.6L DOHC Turbocharged 4-Cyl. (Sonata)
• Nissan 2.0L DOHC VC-Turbo 4-Cyl. (Altima)

Of particular note to us is the inclusion of Ford’s new “High-Performance Package” 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, which uses a 3mm larger turbo than the standard EcoBoost engine, along with a cylinder head derived from the Focus RS (which graced the 2017 10 Best list itself) which delivers 90-percent of its 350 lb-ft peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, according to Ford.

Also of note, the Nissan variable-compression 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine makes its second appearance on the list, in as many years of production. Not bad, for an engine that many commenters thought wouldn’t amount to much more than a bag of mechanical issues, when we originally reported on it.

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About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent fifteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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