Wards has once again named its ten best engines. Surprise-surprise things are getting smaller. Diesels and four-cylinders are well represented, many a-turbocharger, hybrids, some V6's and only one, lonely V8 engine and that's Korean. Let's take a closer look.

We've listed the engines in order of increasing displacement and given you the pertinent specs, take a look and envision a future where only 1/10th of the best engines on the planet have eight cylinders.
[Wards Auto]

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 1.8L DOHC I4 Hybrid
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Company
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 98 HP @ 5200 RPM
Torque 105 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 51/48 MPG
What we say: We're pretty sure the 1.8-liter four in the Prius is on the list because it does return spectacular fuel economy — it's hard to argue with 51 MPG city and 48 MPG highway on gasoline. You can argue with the engine's buzzy nature and unpleasant CVT transmission. Can't have everything.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel
Manufacturer: Volkswagen AG
Fuel: diesel
Horsepower: 140 HP @ 4000 RPM
Torque 236 lb-ft @ 1750-2500 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 30/42 MPG
What we say: Diesel, diesel, diesel. They cost more up front on the purchase price but retain residual value when it's time for resale, so what you get in between is better fuel economy, more power, and better reliability. The 2.0 SOHC in the Jetta TDI is a great package and one of the cheapest diesels you can get in the US. Go get one.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 2.0L TFSI Turbocharged DOHC I4
Manufacturer: Volkswagen AG
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 211 HP @ 4300 RPM
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 1500 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 21/27 MPG
What we say: VW's 1.8 liter inline four is in so many cars it's like the Chevy 350 of European turbo-fours, the engine family has won "Engine of the Year" honors three different times. When the 2.0 liter replaced it, VW did a great job maintaining the gutsy nature but improving driveability, power and fuel economy. In the Audi A4 it's a great engine with more power than you'd think would come from only four pots.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 2.4L Ecotec DOHC I-4
Manufacturer: General Motors
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 182 HP @ 6700 RPM
Torque 172 lb-ft @ 4900 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 22/32 MPG
What we say: In the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, the 2.4 liter Ecotec delivers a good balance of acceleration, smoothness and frugality. At 32 MPG it returns higher fuel economy than any other compact SUV.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 2.5L DOHC I4 Hybrid
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 191 HP (net)
Torque 136 lb-ft @ 4,500
Fuel Economy (city/highway):
What we say: The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid are probably the best all-around hybrids on the market. A combination of good looks, gee-whiz tech, and impressive fuel economy make them hybrids, but the 2.5 liter Atkinson cycle four-banger mated to an electric motor is smooth and powerful, meaning the cars aren't dodgy bores on the road.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC H-4
Manufacturer: Fuji Heavy Industries
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 265 HP @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 18/25 MPG
What we say: The new Subaru Legacy 2.5GT might be lacking in the looks department compared to the outgoing model, but the pancake motor under the hood is still a great engine. A little over 100 HP per liter for a family sedan is pretty darn ridiculous, and if you drop a hot exhaust on the car, it sounds like an angry UPS truck.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 3.0L DOHC I6 Turbodiesel
Manufacturer: BMW
Fuel: diesel
Horsepower: 265 HP @ 4200 RPM
Torque 425 lb-ft @1750-2250 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway): 23/36 MPG
What we say: Did you catch that torque figure? 425 lb-ft between 1750 and 2250 RPM? That's the kind of power heavy duty trucks weren't making even a few years ago - most still don't. Anyone who buys the 3-series or X5 with an engine other than the diesel is probably a little sick in the head.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6
Manufacturer: Volkswagen AG
Fuel:
Horsepower:
Torque
Fuel Economy (city/highway):
What we say: The new Audi S4 is a hot ticket, it's supercharged as opposed to its twin turbo or V8 predecessors, but this things a monster. It makes all the right moves and all the right sounds, and the 3.0 liter V6 is largely to blame. The engine's a peach and the best yet in an S4.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 3.5L EcoBoost
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
Configuration: Twin turbocharged V6, DOHC, Direct injection
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower: 365 HP @ 5550 RPM (maximum spec)
Torque 350 lb-ft @ 1500-5250 RPM
Fuel Economy (city/highway):
What we say: Direct-injection and turbochargers should be on everybody's radar at this point. In the Ford Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT they make a largish V6 feel like a very healthy V8 with a very enjoyable torque curve.

Wards Ten Best Engines For 2009: A Closer LookS


Engine: 4.6L Tau DOHC V-8
Manufacturer: Hyundai Motors
Fuel: gasoline
Horsepower:375 HP @ 6500 rpm
Torque 333 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Fuel Economy (city/highway: 17/25 MPG
What we say: Evidence Hyundai has put a big fat target on Toyota's back is everywhere, but nowhere is it more obvious than in the Tau V8. It's a strong performer and makes the Genesis Sedan a smooth and fast entry-luxe option. It's also the only V8 on the list, which saddens us tremendously.