If you thought the 40 mpg highway fuel economy rating of the 2011 Ford Fiesta SFE model was impressive, just wait until the reveal of the three-cylinder version, which is reportedly destined to land in the U.S.
The car will come powered by a turbocharged 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that should deliver horsepower and torque equal to or even better than the four-cylinder 1.6-liter unit currently found in the Fiesta, which means at least 120 horsepower on tap.
The latest information was revealed by Ford powertrain executive Greg Johnson, who spoke recently with Automotive News.
He said Ford’s EcoBoost technology was enabling the automaker to build engines that developed around 120 horsepower per liter. The three-cylinder example will enter production next spring and should appear shortly after in European versions of the Fiesta.
There’s no word on when it will appear in U.S. versions of the car but it shouldn’t be too long after. Ford also plans to install the engine in its Ka and Figo hatchbacks sold overseas but neither model is likely to be sold in the U.S. Both are smaller than the Fiesta, which means pricing would have to start lower--a segment Ford may not be ready to encroach.
Ford engine plant
In case you haven't been paying attention over the last year, EcoBoost is the name given to Ford’s engines that feature technologies designed to improve performance while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption.
The core of the EcoBoost technologies is turbocharging and direct fuel injection though in the case of Ford’s new three-cylinder engine there’s also variable-valve timing, an offset crankshaft and a host of other technologies. For full details on the tiny powerplant, click here.
Note, Ford isn’t the only automaker investigating the gains of downsizing engines in the effort to boost fuel economy. Rival automakers and independent suppliers alike are designing and building their own compact engines as well.
[Automotive News (subscription required)]