Wards 10 Best List Shaken By Electrification

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Let the garbage conversation begin.

Those of you who have followed our list of the Top 10 Neighborhoods 2021 Engines and Propulsion Systems as we methodically identify each winner over the past two weeks can now see the winners in total, as the Ford Mustang Mach-E shines in the spotlight of the winners. today.

(Remember that this is not a ranking from 1 to 10. The 10 in our eyes are also deserving. We avoid the alphabetical order to let you guess until the 10th winner is identified. .)

So now is your chance to bow your head in shame, stir up a cloud of dust and cry out to the heavens, “How the hell did they get it?” not choose the Porsche 911 Turbo Where the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray or the Ram TRX!

If you think it was easy to leave those high octane kickers off this year’s list, then you don’t know us very well.

Honestly, we can explain. The Wards 10 Best list recognized 27 years of engines, many of which are supercharged V8s that struggle to stay below the speed limit. We have fully recognized the powertrain teams for their ability to increase their power, torque and efficiency.

But many of those same powertrain engineers pivot as corporate decisions – encouraged by government regulators around the world – are made to embrace electrification.

Very few automakers have pockets deep enough to invest equal resources in battery-electric vehicles (and plug-in hybrids, full hybrids, and fuel cells) as well as next-generation clean leaf internal combustion engines. .

It has become clear that automakers are spending a lot more money on electrification than on future gasoline engines, which brings the jury of Wards 10 Best to a crossroads: are we giving less weight to electrified candidates. because they sell in small numbers compared to the popular gasoline entries that fuel the bottom line?

With this year’s list, we believe we have been fair in choosing hybrids popular in the heart of the US market (Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Ford F-150 Hybrid), non-electrified conventional 4-cylinder. (Chevy Trailblazer and Hyundai Santa Fe), German luxury / performance (BMW 330e and Porsche Taycan 4S), a hydrogen fuel cell (Toyota Mirai) and, yes, lots of electric batteries (Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona, Polestar 2 and Taycan).

We evaluated 39 vehicles in the spring and 18 of them were electrified. There were 14 4-cyl. engines, 11 6 cyl. engines, 10 full hybrids, eight BEVs and three plug-in hybrids.

We only look at powertrains which are brand new or significantly improved. The 2020 winners were automatically eligible for this year’s contest, and the only returning winner was the Kona (completing a 3-peat).

The fact that so many cool electric and hybrid batteries have hit the market – while clean leaf motors are hard to come by – means this year’s list had to tilt towards electrification.

But that would only happen if those electrified inputs pushed our buttons and really impressed us.

We, the jury, hold a unique position among the automotive media. Essentially, the same folks picked the top 10 Wards winners for most – if not all – of the award’s 27 years, and we all have a long memory and enough historical perspective to feel how competitive a powertrain is by. compared to other nominees.

Our score is based on power, torque, NVH management, observed fuel economy and new on-board technologies. This new technology must shine to make the cut. A price cap for applicants that had been in place since 1995 has now been removed.

As disappointed as loyal gearboxes may be that more combustion engine winners aren’t on the list, consider the electrified nominees who also failed: Audi e-tron BEV, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV. , the Volkswagen ID.4 BEV and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge BEV. They are all good and have scored well.

But it’s our job to compile a list of powertrains that really sell the car, that are exciting to drive, and technologically relevant.

We believe this list is successful on all fronts. Our list needs to be more focused on where the automotive powertrain world is going, not where it is.

The winners will be honored at a ceremony on November 15 during Informa Automotive Technology Week, which will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI. Click here for conference and registration information.

Also incorporated into Automotive Tech Week on November 15th is our Focus: Conference on electrification, also held at the Suburban Collection showplace.

Tom murphyDW DZ JI BG with Hyundai Santa Fe. Jeep Wrangler 4xe.  Polestar 2.png

Ward Judges Drew Winter, Dave Zoia, Jim Irwin and Bob Gritzinger discuss charging the Polestar 2 BEV during the judging session.

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