Ward’s 10 Best Engines is an annual list of the ten “best” automobile engines available in the U.S. market, that are selected by Ward’s Auto World Magazine. The list was started in 1994, and has been drawn every year since then. For 2010, 34 vehicles from 13 automakers were chosen to make this year’s top 10 list. Among the top 10 is General Motors 2.4L Ecotec DOHC inline 4.
The direct injected engine with variable valve timing helps deliver segment-best highway fuel economy in GM’s popular new crossovers, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. The engine also debuts in the all-new Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal sedans next year.
Winners were chosen based on several factors, including power, noise, vibration and harshness, fuel efficiency, new technology and comparative data for similar engines.
The new Ecotec 2.4L engine includes technology that provides a number of benefits. “Direct injection was designed into the 2.4L to boost fuel efficiency and for refined power,” said Chris Meagher, chief engineer for Ecotec engines. “The variable valve timing system is tuned to work in tandem with direct injection to achieve optimum fuel economy and lower emissions. The engine achieves a respectable 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, which makes for a pleasing customer driving experience.”
With direct injection, fuel is sprayed directly into the engine cylinder, where it is mixed with air. As the fuel vaporizes in the cylinder, the air and fuel mixture is cooled. This enables the use of a higher compression ratio, which improves engine efficiency and performance. Direct injection also reduces cold-start hydrocarbon emissions by up to 25 percent.
The Ecotec 2.4L engine is an all-aluminum, dual overhead cam, four-valve engine with forged steel connecting rods and oil spray cooling for reduced friction and noise. In all models, the engine is mated to a highly efficient six-speed automatic transmission.
The others on the list are:
— 2.0L TFSI Turbocharged DOHC Inline-4 (Audi A4)
— 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V6 (Audi S4)
— 3.0L DOHC Inline-6 Turbodiesel (BMW 335d)
— 2.5L DOHC Inline-4 Hybrid (Ford Fusion Hybrid)
— 3.5L EcoBoost Turbocharged DOHC V6 (Ford Taurus SHO)
— 4.6L Tau DOHC V8 (Hyundai Genesis)
— 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC Horizontally-Opposed-4 (Subaru Legacy 2.5GT)
— 1.8L DOHC Inline-4 Hybrid (Toyota Prius)
— 2.0L SOHC Inline-4 Turbodiesel (Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI)