Ward’s Auto Crowns 10 Best Engines for 2013; Doesn’t Include Hybrids or Diesels

You know it’s a strange year for powertrain technology when Ward’s Auto, the arbiter of all things engine-related, releases a list of the ten best engines on sale and doesn’t include a single hybrid powertrain on it. Still, the judges gave the honors of Ward’s Auto 10 Best Engine to six forced-induction and seven direct-injected engines this year.

Half of Ward’s 10 Best consisted of four-cylinder engines.Honors were bestowed on the BMW N20 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, the Ford 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-4, the General Motors Ecotec/LTG 2.0-liter I-4, the Honda 2.4-liter EarthDreams/K24W3 I-4, and the Subaru FA20 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder. The engines power cars as mundane as the Honda Accord and as flashy or powerful as the Ford Focus ST, Cadillac ATS, BMW 328i, and Subaru BRZ. A note about the FA20: the engine also powers the Scion FR-S/Toyota 86, but Subaru gets credit for the FA20 thanks to its extensive work on the engine. Toyota, meanwhile, received a passing nod for its D-4S injection system.

Engines like BMW’s N20 are familiar sights on the Ward’s Auto list, which also had its fair share of repeat winners. Both Audi’s 3.0 TFSI supercharged V-6 (fourth win), BMW’s N55 turbocharged I-6 (third win), and Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (third win) received nods. One surprise repeat winner: Honda’s 3.5-liter V-6. The engine lacks almost all of the marquee technologies of the other engines, including direct injection (seven of ten have it) or dual overhead camshafts (nine of ten have it, but judges noted that the old engine has learned some new tricks, including a slicker variable cylinder management system that shuts off three cylinders under partial throttle.

Honda should be reading this news with glee, because it tied with BMW for the marque with the most wins (two). Along with its win for the J35Y1 Earth Dreams 3.5-liter V-6, it scored a win for a newly tweaked K24W3 Earth Dreams 2.4-liter I-4, which powers the new Honda Accord Sport (the award appears to only extend to the sport, not the K24W2, which has five fewer hp and powers the standard Accord). With 190 hp, and a new direct-injection system–not to mention Honda’s legendary VTEC system–the new engine received high marks for a mix of good efficiency and good power. Fun fact: the Honda Accord, BMW X1, and X3 are the only cars on sale today where both of their two available engines are Ward’s 10 Best winners.

The list wouldn’t be a good one without a nod to a ridiculously powerful car, so Ward’s Auto editors gave a nod to the Ford modular 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 under the hood of the Shelby GT500. The accolade speaks to itself–the engine uses dual overhead cams and a 2.3-liter supercharger, and skirts gas-guzzler taxes while also making 662 hp.

We’ve enclosed a list of winners below, so let us know what you think should have won–or what should have been left out–in the comments below.

Source: Ward’s Auto


  • Audi TFSI, Supercharged 3.0L V-6
  • 333 hp, 325 lb-ft (S4, S5)
  • Audi S4, S5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7
  • BMW N20, Turbo 2.0L I-4
  • 240 hp, 255 lb-ft
  • BMW 328i, 528i, X1 28i, X1, X3 xDrive28i, Z4 sDrive28i
  • BMW N55, Turbo 3.0L I-6
  • 300 hp, 300 lb-ft
  • BMW 135i, 135is, 335i, 535i, 640i, 740i, Z4 sDrive35i, X3 xDrive 35i, X5 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive35i (also included in ActiveHybrid powertrains)
  • Chrysler Pentastar, 3.6-liter V-6
  • 292 hp, 260 lb-ft (most trims)
  • Chrysler 200, 300, Town and Country 
  • Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee
  • Dodge Avenger, Challenger, Charger, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey
  • Volkswagen Routan
  • Ram C/V, 1500
  • Ford EcoBoost, Turbo 2.0L I-4
  • 240 hp, 270 lb-ft (Non-ST Fords)252 hp, 270 lb-ft (Focus ST)
  • Ford Focus ST, Fusion, Taurus, Escape, Edge, Explorer 
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, LR2
  • Jaguar XF
  • Ford Modular, Supercharged 5.8L V-8
  • 662 hp, 631 lb-ft
  • Ford Shelby GT500
  • General Motors Ecotec LTG, Turbo 2.0L I-4
  • 272 hp, 260 lb-ft (Cadillac ATS)
  • Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu Turbo
  • Honda K24W3 Earth Dreams, 2.4L I-4
  • 190 hp, 181 lb-ft (Accord Sport)
  • Honda Accord Sport
  • Honda J35Y1 Earth Dreams, 3.5L V-6
  • 278 hp, 252 lb-ft
  • Honda Accord V-6
  • Subaru FA20, 2.0L H-4
  • 200 hp, 151 lb-ft
  • Subaru BRZ

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