If you've spent any time looking at Fords recently, one word won't have escaped your attention: EcoBoost.

EcoBoost is Ford-speak for a downsized, turbocharged gasoline engine that aims to either supplement or replace a larger, naturally-aspirated engine in a given vehicle lineup.

The name is pure marketing jargon but the concept itself has been incredibly successful--Ford sells EcoBoost models in huge numbers around the world.

But what are your options, and should you buy an EcoBoost-equipped Ford? We've put together a guide to help you decide which engine is best for you--and which cars you'll find them in.

1.0 three-cylinder

In 2014, Ford's 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost took the International Engine of the Year award for an unprecedented third year running. And sales are going great guns in Europe, where it's been on sale for a while now--a fifth of Ford Focus buyers are choosing the 1.0.

Replacing Ford's old naturally-aspirated four-cylinder 1.6, it isn't hard to see the appeal. The three-cylinder is particularly smooth and quiet, performs well--it develops 123 horsepower in U.S. trim--and has impressive EPA economy figures. In the Ford Fiesta SFE, it's good for 36 mpg combined (31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway).

It's also due in the Focus soon, though it's worth noting that the 1.0 EcoBoost is currently manual transmission-only. European buyers even get access to a 138-hp version...

2015 Ford Fiesta

2015 Ford Fiesta

1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and 2.3 four-cylinder

Four-cylinder EcoBoost models currently make up the bulk of Ford's compact and midsize vehicle range.

Smallest in capacity is the 1.5 EcoBoost introduced with the 2014 Ford Fusion. It replaced the 1.6 EcoBoost mainly to benefit tax regulations in other countries, but serves pretty much the same purpose. Specific power and torque outputs are typically high--181 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque.

You'll still find the 1.6 EcoBoost on sale in the U.S, under the hood of the sporty Fiesta ST. Economy isn't the priority here (29 mpg combined) so much as performance is--it develops just shy of 200 horsepower and makes the Fiesta ST an absolute riot to drive. You'll struggle to find a more entertaining hatchback on the market, and it neatly demonstrates the duality of the EcoBoost range.

Move up another step and Ford offers a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four. This is offered in the Focus (once again in ST specification), the Escape, the Fusion and the Taurus. Here, there's a full 240-hp on offer.

Again, the motive is respectable economy for the performance offered, rather than outright miles per gallon--thus the best economy offered by the engine is 26 mpg combined in the tire-shredding Focus ST.

Ford's final EcoBoost four is the 2.3. This made its quiet debut in the 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover, but its higher-profile arrival will be under the hood of the 2015 Ford Mustang. Leaked figures suggest 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway mileage in the Mustang--for a 26 mpg combined figure.

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

2.7 V-6

The smallest six-cylinder EcoBoost engine will make its debut in the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. The new engine with its smaller capacity is less powerful than the bigger 3.5 liter offered in the current F-150--detailed below--but will be more than offset by the F-150's huge curb weight drop, the benefits of its all-aluminum construction.

The V-6 will be available with Ford's 'SFE' package. No economy numbers have been revealed, but the direct-injected, twin-turbocharged unit produces 325-hp and 375 lb-ft of torque.

3.5 V-6

Ford's existing 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 can be found in the 2014 F-150, the Lincoln MKS and MKT, the Ford Taurus SHO and the Ford Flex.

In the F-150 it serves as a thriftier alternative to the popular V-8, though real-world mileage on sites like Fuelly doesn't show a great difference between the two.

Its 365-hp and 350 lb-ft outputs certainly give it strong performance though, particularly in cars like the Taurus SHO sedan. Elsewhere, it helps cars like the MKS, MKT and Ford Flex achieve better mileage than they might with a larger engine, without compromising on performance.


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