Ford has installed a 1-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in the Focus and offers it as an alternative to the 1.6-litre four-cylinder. That can't be good news. But then we get into the details. This three-cylinder engine has all the latest technology and features usually found on more powerful engines making the new EcoBoost 1.0 equal or superior to the older 1.6-litre Duratec engine in every way.
The new engine provides the Focus with the same performance as the 1.6 but can achieve 15-20 per cent better fuel consumption and hence less CO2 emissions. The EcoBoost 1.0 has high pressure direct fuel injection, turbocharging and variable timing for inlet and exhaust camshafts. Variants for different models and markets produce 100, 120 and 125PS; later there will also be a naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) version.
We tested a Focus Zetec S five-door with the 125PS version coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. Anyone familiar with the distinctive character of three-cylinder engines will be confused; this one is sweet and smooth. The naturally-aspirated four-cylinder Duratec 1.6, as sold in Europe, has the same 125PS power output but the 1-litre EcoBoost produces more torque (170 Nm) at much lower revs (1,400) and has an overboost facility to push this to 200Nm when circumstances demand.
With the new engine, performance - 0-100 kmph in 11.3s, max speed 193 kmph - is virtually the same as the Focus 1.6 but fuel consumption (claimed) now stands at 20kmpl (overall) as compared to 16.9kmpl for the 1.6.
The EcoBoost incorporates a host of innovations to deliver these figures. One surprising bit is that the cylinder block is made of cast iron and not aluminium. Ford engineers say that on such a small engine, iron gave the required strength and noise attenuation without much of a weight penalty.
Engine: 1-litre three-cylinder, direct petrol injection, turbocharged
Max output: 125PS @ 6,000 rpm
Max torque: 170Nm @ 1,400 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual
For a detailed exclusive story read the June issue of OVERDRIVE.