One of Ward's North American '10 Best Engines' due to fuel efficiency and performance. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2010_Buick_LaCrosse_CXS.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 9, 2009 2010 Buick LaCrosse – First “Nice Looking” Buick in a very long time. GM's Ecotec 2.4L I-4 has been awarded Ward's Auto World magazine's 2010 "10 Best Engines" for North America. 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 Regal sedans next year. Ward's reviewed 34 engines from 13 automakers in the competition. Winners were chosen based on several factors, including power, NVH, 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 (DI) was designed into the 2.4L to boost fuel efficiency and for refined power," said Chris Meagher, chief engineer for Ecotec engines. "The VVT (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.