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International Engine of the Year Award Winners Announced

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Toyota and Honda Winning Awards for Hybrid Technology

When it comes down to the bare necessities of an automobile,
A Volkswagen representative receives an award for the FSI engine series. (Photo: Volkswagen of America)
what exactly is one composed of? There's the frame or platform (also called the chassis) and the panels attached to it, making up the exterior, and inside, a couple of seats and a steering wheel for the driver to steer. Mechanically, things are a little more particular: you've got the suspension that holds the car up, the brakes to stop the vehicle, and then there's the engine, the heart of the car. These masses of metal in front or behind the driver provide the driving force. OK, so, this is a bit simplified, but as you can see, the engine plays a truly important role in the overall equation.

The
If it's got an engine, it qualifies. Pictured here is BMW's 535d, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel that won Best 2.5-3.0-liter engine. (Photo: BMW of North America)
International Engine of the Year Awards - the so-called "Engine Oscars" - recognizes and celebrates an automaker's achievements, but the focus is directly on engines. The IEOTY panel, which consists of a journalist jury from 29 different countries, takes a broad initiative in selecting its winners; they look at many different categories including use of and development of new technologies, fuel efficiency, and performance (in terms of power output), as well as refinement. All types of combustion engines can compete in the awards, including gasoline-electric hybrids, ethanol or flex-fuel, diesels, and, when the time comes, hydrogen.

The
The M-Roadster may be new, but its engine has won several awards at IEOTY. (Photo: BMW of North America)
thing that separates IEOTY awards from others, such as the various Car or Truck of the Year competitions, is that entries from previous years can qualify for all awards, with the exception of Best New Engine. This year there were 12 categories for nomination, eight of which are relating to the size of the engine's displacement, which ranges from sub-one-liter, to engines that are four liters in size and larger. The other categories include Best Fuel Economy, Best performance Engine, Best New Engine, and, most importantly, International Engine of the Year.

So, now that you're familiar with the rundown, what engine is the talk
Honda is still winning awards for its 1.0-liter IMA powered Insight. (Photo: American Honda)
of the town this year? Well, only one diesel engine made the cut, which is two less than last year. Subaru picked up its first IEOTY Award for its revitalized 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four, as found in the Impreza, Forester and Saab 9-2x, while Honda and Toyota both picked up awards for their gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. The title of Sub 1-Liter went to the Honda Insight for its IMA Assisted engine, a six-time winner in this category, and three-time winner of Best Fuel Economy. Toyota's 1.5-liter Hybrid Synergy Drive engine picked up two awards this year for Best Fuel Economy and Best 1.4 - 1.8-liter engine, the same two categories it's won in 2005 and 2004.