Nissan VC-Turbo engine

Nissan VC-Turbo engine listed on Ward’s 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems for 2020 (w/VIDEO)

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Nissan’s 2-litre VC-Turbo engine has been picked as one of Wards’ 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems on its list for 2020. Wards, an authoritative industry publication in America, has assessed automotive powertrains since 1995 and recognised the best in its annual listings.

Winners are evaluated based on several factors including horsepower, torque, noise, fuel economy, comparative specifications and applications of new technology. This year, the judges began testing from a group of 26 all-new or vastly improved engines, by putting them through the paces of daily life – commuting, road trips and running errands. To be eligible, a vehicle’s base price may not exceed US$65,000.

 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems

The VC-Turbo engine, used in the latest Altima, is a turbocharged 4-cylinder unit with variable-compression. It leverages an industry-first production technology to achieve its goals of offering high levels of power and efficiency from the same powerplant. Monitoring driver inputs several times per second, the engine adjusts the compression ratio from 8:1 to 14:1 as needed, optimizing power and efficiency.

Nissan VC-Turbo engine

The range in capability is derived using a multi-link system that adjusts the length of the piston’s stroke, while adjusting the engine’s compression ratio on the fly. When the driver demands power, an internal actuator reduces the throw of the connecting rods allowing compression to drop, while tapping the turbocharger for maximum output.

Conversely, during highway cruising and other low-power needs, the engine automatically adjusts to a higher compression ratio. This offers a significantly higher level of efficiency said to be 27% better than a conventional engine with a fixed compression ratio.

2020 Nissan Altima
2020 Nissan Altima

“Offering our best technologies on top-selling models is a priority. We purposely debuted this technology on Altima, which can be had for less than US$30,000 when equipped with the VC-Turbo engine,” said Chris Reed, Senior Vice-President of Research & Development at the Nissan Technical Centre North America. “We’ve worked for years perfecting this innovation and are extremely proud to be recognized by Wards as one of its 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems for 2020.”

The VC-Turbo engine was revealed at the 2016 Paris Motorshow as the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. Its first application was in the Infiniti QX50 2018 and Nissan has applied for as many as 300 patents for the engine. Nissan’s achievement for 2020 marks the company’s 18th trophy in 26 years of Wards annual listings, many having been gained by the V6 VQ engine family.

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