A fuel-cell, an all-electric and two hybrid gas-electric powertrains have been named to the prestigious Wards Auto 10 Best Engines list for 2019.
This is only the second time four electrified powertrains have made the list and underscores growing acceptance of kilowatts in the auto industry. It also is the second consecutive year electric power has been accorded four spots of the industry journal’s 10-best list
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The Wards Auto 10 Best Engines list has long been dominated by gasoline and diesel engines – BMW and Ford lead with 34 wins each in the list’s 25-year history. Toyota has 10 wins for various versions of its hybrid powertrain.
Automakers typically heavily promote Wards “best engine” wins, or even nominations, and consumers often rely on the magazine’s judgments when making car and truck purchase decisions.
The electric drive system for the 2011 Nissan Leaf was the first all-electric powertrain to make the cut for Wards.
For 2019, Wards editors selected the 2019 Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric powertain, the battery-electric powertrain for the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV, and the gas-electric hybrid powertrains for the 2019 Lexus UX 250h crossover and the 2018 Honda Accord hybrid.
The industry journal’s editors tested almost three dozen new powertrains to develop the 2019 list.
Judging is based on numerous criteria including power, fuel efficiency, technology advancements and operating quality factors such as noise and vibration
The fuel cell system for the 2019 Hyundai Nexo was selected for its range, ease of refueling and efficient packaging.
Wards Auto 10 Best Engines judges also were impressed by the fact that the system uses components that are shared with a growing number of Hyundai fuel-cell trucks and buses. That demonstrates the kind of scalability needed to bring fuel-cell electric technology into the mainstream.
With the Nexo FCEV, “Hyundai engineers didn’t just build a vehicle, they created a time machine you can sit in today and see the future,” the magazine said.
The system is the third fuel-cell electric powertrain to win a Wards best engines listing. Previous fuel cell winners were the 2015 Hyundai Tucson system – the company’s first fuel cell powertrain – and the 2018 Honda Clarity fuel-cell sedan system.
The only battery-electric on the 2019 list – and Hyundai’s second winner for the year – is the Kona EV system.
Judges said it is notable for its 291 pound-feet of high torque – 291 pound-feet torque, “neck snapping” power and 258 miles of range per charge. It is the longest-range EV outside of the Tesla family that is sold in the U.S.,
Both the Accord and Lexus hybrid powertrains were cited for fuel efficiency, smooth integration of electric power into the internal combustion system and overall power.
The UX 250h was particularly notable for its use of a dedicated electric motor to drive the rear wheels and provide part-time all-wheel drive capability for the upscale crossover, the judges said. The UX hybrid also delivers an EPA-estimated 38 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
The Accord hybrid system was selected for its seamless operation, responsiveness and accessibility – the hybrid sedan starts at just over $25,000.