Ford is bringing its smallest engine to the U.S. in the race to meet stricter government fuel economy guidelines. The company says the 2014 Fiesta will be the first North American vehicle to get Ford’s new 1-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, know as Triples.
Ford says that the small three-cylinder engine will have the same power as a standard four-cylinder engine, but with a better fuel economy. The Fiesta’s standard four-cylinder engine is a 1.6-liter motor rated at 120 horsepower with 112 lb.-ft. of torque. The company says that the turbocharger adds extra power to the three-cylinder motor without guzzling more gas.
Ford’s first three-cylinder uses turbocharging and direct fuel injection to give it the power of a larger engine. It has 123 horsepower, for example, which is three times more than the current Fiesta with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder. At the same time, the 1-liter will likely get far better fuel economy than the 33 mpg combined city and highway rating for the current Fiesta.
“Turbocharged 3s are now replacing nonturbo 4-cylinder engines, just as fours have been replacing 6s,” said Eric Fedewa, an IHS Automotive analyst who tracks powertrain trends. He explained that in the new 3-cylinder engines, the combination of a turbocharger and features like direct fuel injection and variable cam timing “effectively serves as a fourth cylinder.”
The 1-liter is the fourth member of Ford’s EcoBoost engine family. The first engine was a 3.5-liter V6 that gave the Taurus SHO performance sedan the power of a V8. Ford also has 1.6-liter and 2-liter versions.
EcoBoost engines cost around $1,000 more than conventional ones, but they’ve been a popular option anyway. Ford says 80 percent of Ford Escape SUV buyers and 42 percent of F-150 pickup buyers are springing for EcoBoost engines. In Europe, about 30 percent of Focus buyers are getting the 1-liter EcoBoost.