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Electrified propulsion systems dominate this year’s Wards 10 Best Engines list

While there are more EV powertrains, internal-combustion engines are still giving a good fight

Wards Auto honors the 10 best propulsion systems annually. PHOTO FROM ACURA

Since 1994, Wards Auto releases a list of the 10 Best Engines for vehicles sold in the North American market. But as more electrified vehicles flood the market, the publication and research company has changed the name of the annual list. From “Wards 10 Best Engines,” it is now called “Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems.”

Acura’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged engine is the best, small-displacement engine on the list. PHOTO FROM ACURA

In coming up with the list, Wards doesn’t just look at horsepower or torque figures. To make the cut, propulsion systems must have great noise, vibration, and harshness levels. Also, these should be efficient and be loaded with new tech. Winners can return, but of the previous winners, only three went back to get tested again. Want to know which made it to the list this year?

Nissan’s complicated variable compression turbo is one of the winners. PHOTO FROM NISSAN

For this year, Wards tested 29 vehicles. Of those, more than half of it was electrified. And from the 17, 11 were battery-electric vehicles, four were plug-in hybrids, and two were conventional hybrid systems.

Electrified propulsion systems dominate the list. PHOTO FROM FORD

But the internal-combustion engines are still alive and kicking, as 12 such powerplants were tested. Of which, seven were four-cylinder motors, two were six-pot power units, two were V8s, and one was a three-cylinder mill. The small-displacement, forced-induction engines still dominated the tests. Eight of those motors had turbochargers, two were supercharged, and only two were naturally aspirated.

We’ve seen the Hyundai Ioniq 5 here, but it is not for sale yet. PHOTO FROM HYUNDAI

Here’s the list of the 10 winning propulsion systems and the vehicles they were fitted in:

  • Acura Integra A-Spec – 1.5-liter in-line-four DOHC turbo
  • Ford F-150 Lightning – BEV
  • Hummer EV – BEV
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 – BEV
  • Lucid Air – BEV
  • Mercedes-Benz AMG EQS – BEV
  • Nissan Rogue – 1.5-liter in-line-three DOHC variable-compression turbo
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe – 2.0-liter in-line-four DOHC turbo with plug-in hybrid system
  • Jeep Grand Wagoneer – 3.0-liter in-line-six DOHC turbo
  • Toyota Tundra i-Force Max – 3.5-liter V6 DOHC turbo

None of these propulsion systems are available in the Philippines, although Hyundai is expected to introduce the Ioniq 5 soon. And though the Acura Integra is not sold here, Honda cars with 1.5-liter gasoline engines—turbocharged or not—are from the same L-series family.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.