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Top 10 best cars for engine & gearbox / powertrain

Driver Power asked UK new car buyers what they thought of their cars' engines and gearboxes, here are the top 10 highest rated

  • Covering: Acceleration, the quietness of the engine and the smoothness of the gearbox
  • Winner: Polestar 2
  • Score: 99.46% 

We’re not surprised to see a trio of electric cars taking the top powertrain satisfaction slots this year, and the category win goes to the Polestar 2. The category sub-divisions include scores for acceleration, engine sound (or lack thereof) and gearbox smoothness, and the Polestar 2 aces them all, suggesting that owners really love this aspect of their purchases. 

The runner-up spot in the category goes to the Tesla Model 3 – last year’s winner – which is ranked second for acceleration and fourth for smoothness, but slips to 10th for sound. The Nissan Leaf Mk2 beats the Tesla for a more satisfying ‘engine’ sound, but trails it in eighth and ninth for acceleration and smoothness.

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Last year’s second and third places went to the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona, but in 2023 they both slipped down the table, although the e-Niro makes the top 10. The Citroen C4, which won this year’s survey overall, manages a decent eighth here. The category-winning Polestar 2 comes 17th in the overall ranking.

Your view

“The acceleration is stunning and very addictive. It’s very smooth in delivery and progressive while not being too aggressive.”

Engine and gearbox top 10

ModelClassOverall PositionOverall ScoreCategory Score
1. Polestar 2Premium Mid to Large SUV17th90.94%99.46%
2. Tesla Model 3Executive22nd90.71%96.54%
3. Nissan Leaf Mk2Compact Family Car42nd89.40%96.54%
4. Kia Soul Mk3Small SUV18th90.80%96.35%
5. MG5Compact Family Car66th87.66%96.24%
6. Kia EV6Family Car7th91.50%95.47%
7. Toyota Prius Mk4Compact Family Car8th91.45%95.45%
8. Citroen C4 Mk3Compact Family Car1st93.39%95.16%
9. Lexus UXPremium Small SUV38th89.56%95.07%
10. Kia e-Niro Mk1Small SUV44th89.32%94.57%
Driver Power car ownership

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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