A successful piston design requires eliminate the following failure modes: structure failure, skirt scuffing and piston unusual noise. It also needs to deliver least friction to improve engine fuel economy and performance. Traditional approach of using hardware tests to validate piston design is technically difficult, costly and time consuming. This paper presents an up-front CAE tool and an analytical process that can systematically address these issues in a timely and cost-effectively way.This paper first describes this newly developed CAE process, the 3D virtual modeling and simulation tools used in Ford Motor Company, as well as the piston design factors and boundary conditions. Furthermore, following the definition of the piston design assessment criteria, several piston design studies and applications are discussed, which were used to eliminate skirt scuffing, reduce piston structure dynamic stresses, minimize skirt friction and piston slapping noise. A multi-objective optimal study on piston design is also presented in the end of this paper. In summary, the presented CAE process and tools can be used to identify piston failure modes and optimize piston design parameters so that the best design decisions can be made in early design stage to ensures a durable piston with lowest friction energy loss and sustainable radiate noise level.