As the Detroit Auto Show is nearing, the Ward's Auto 10 Best Engines awards, the mainstay of the event for the last 15 years has been announced once more. This honor is the sole award by the North American auto industry for powertrains and is voted by the editors of Ward, who for this year's list were seeking for both fun-factor as well as efficiency. Engines must be available in a regular production to qualify for the award, must be U.S.-specification versions and be available for sale not later than the first three months of the following year.
The hitch is that the vehicles must cost nothing in excess of $54,000, which is a price cap indexed to the standard asking price of a fresh car. On January 14 during the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the award will be officially announced. Unexpectedly, the familiar VQ series V6 units by Nissan was not included in the list for the first time since the award started in 1995 in spite of the fact that they underwent considerable upgrades this past year. Furthermore, a significant change from the list of last year is the presence of more diesel and 4-cylinder powertrains, which strongly points to the seriousness of altering inclinations in the direction of more fuel-economical and smaller engines in the American car outlets.
The winners for 2008 (engine and tested vehicle): Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant); BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe); BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d); Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T); Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid); General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS); Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe); Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis); Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350); Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI).