This is an interesting card, mechanically as well as thematically. Before addressing the various elephants in the room, it's worth thinking about the big upside the Little Engine has to offer. Against Gordian Blade and ZU.13 it's a respectable net cost to break: 2 with Gord, 3 with Zu. It also comes with a powerful kicker in the form of a large up-front cost to break. Although the runner gets most of their money back they still have to have a bunch of it to get up the hill. This means that the Engine's natural home is as the innermost ice on a server - you want to tax them a before they hit it. It also means the Engine can create scoring windows - when the runner is poor it will punch above its weight to keep them out.
The other breaker that the Engine excels against is Yog.0. Net-Ready Eyes will not help them. On the other hand, if the runner has Yog, they almost certainly have a separate answer to the Engine. D4v1d pays for itself with a profit of 2 and a power counter to spare when fighting this particular Goliath, while Knight pays the runner 1 each time they pass. Against this sort of breaker suite, the Engine is a gear check. Not useless, but more taxing on the corp than on the runner in the long run.
That's only the start of the Engine's troubles. Cyber-Cypher and Torch both break it for free providing the runner has 5, so effectively the corp is just reminding runners who use those breakers to keep enough money on hand to steal NAPD. Refractor pays a tidy profit, converting the runner's ephemeral stealth credits into hard cash. Stimhack runs enjoy a similar temporary-money-into-permanent-money boon, which is a big issue considering the common inclusion of that card in the dominant Prepaid Kate archetype. Lastly, Grappling Hook makes the Engine very sad. That's not a big issue now, but Geist might run it.
So is the Engine good enough? Given all of its problems and the obvious negative comparison with Tollbooth it's tempting to say no. It's considerably cheaper than Tollbooth though, and has a couple of admittedly minor advantages over it (Like being outside the practical range of 4tman with Datasucker). That makes it worth considering on its own merits. The fact is that not every deck will be packing the answers I've discussed. Some will just have Gordian or Zu. Some will have to break the Engine with Passport, Rex or Eater. Those decks will be unhappy to see it.
In conclusion due to its many deeply unfortunate problems the Little Engine will never be the centre piece of a codegate suite, but that doesn't make it worthless. As a one-of it has the potential to do good work in some match-ups. Sometimes you will discard it if you know or suspect the runner has a strong answer to it, but sometimes you will be glad to see it.