Ford’s tiny EcoBoost engine hasnt only been named as the 2012 International Engine of the Year it did so with 401 points, the highest score ever awarded.
It would be remiss of us to let such an accolade go unremarked so we arranged to drive a Focus fitted with 1.0-litre and 1.6-litre versions of the turbocharged engine; a full road test of each car will follow shortly so for the meantime well concentrate on the engines themselves and find out if they really are as good as everyone is saying
The engine doesnt look remarkable, other than that its tiny. The 1.0-litre version (well, 999cc, if youre feeling pedantic) has just three-cylinders and sits comfortably on a sheet of A4 paper.
Power outputs are remarkable. The 999cc engine produces 123bhp and 148lb ft of torque while the 1.6-litre version pumps out 177 and 200 respectively. Emissions figures are 114g/km and 139g/km; good, eh?
Clever things happen inside the engine: the exhaust manifold is water-cooled to reduce under-bonnet temperatures and so save fuel; the cambelt runs in an oil-bath to keep it silent and in tip-top condition for longer; the cooling jacket is divided in two, which gives you almost instantaneous cabin heat and allows the engine to warm-up faster. The end result is that the EcoBoost engine is more than twice as efficient as a normal petrol engine.
Of course all this counts for nothing if it drives like a pig, and the good news is that it drives like, well, a normal engine, really. That might sound like a bit of a letdown but it isnt, not at all. Small capacity, turbocharged engines are normally peaky, unpleasant things that need to be driven hard to get anything like a decent level of performance from them. This isnt the case with either the 1.0-litre or 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine. You get in, turn them on, and drive away. And if you werent told Im willing to bet that it would never cross your mind that youre driving anything extraordinary.
Three non-fuel-efficiency points are worth mentioning. The first is that the EcoBoost has very low internal friction (the oil used is 0W/20, for example) so it doesnt give a massive amount of engine braking. The second is that it is so small and light that the nose of the car feels noticeably lighter giving better handling and turn-in. The third is that it sounds terrific, growly and distinctly NASCARy.
The whole raison dtre is fuel efficiency and the good news is that both engines are amazingly parsimonious. The smaller engine can deliver up to 56.5mpg in official fuel consumption tests while the larger one returns up to 47.1mpg.
However, early adopters are starting to report their real-world fuel consumption isnt quite as good as theyd hoped. In the Focus the 1.6-litre is being reported as returning 35.5mpg on average good, but not as good as the official figures claim. The 1.0-litre engine is managing 46.1mpg, around 10mpg down on Fords claimed performance.
The problem – and it isnt unique to Ford – is that the official fuel consumption test conditions are unrealistic; it might produce figures that can are broadly comparable across a range of cars and manufacturers but it doesnt replicate real-world driving conditions very well. So the EcoBoosts fuel efficiency is good, just not as good as you might think.
Value for Money
Cars fitted with the EcoBoost arent cheap, but youve bought the car every aspect of running it will be cheaper than it would otherwise have been.
And, finances aside, the engine doesnt feel like the economy option; you will never feel like you are driving a cheaper, smaller version of the car you really wanted.
The EcoBoost engines most compelling argument and its a strong one – is that it changes the game.
If you wanted peppy performance and frugal fuel economy until now you bought a car with a small turbodiesel engine, with the all the advantages and disadvantages that come with a diesel. Sure you got elastic band torque delivery and effortless overtaking but you also got poorer refinement, more noise, a heavy lump of an engine to spoil the handling, and a lower rev range to play with.
The petrol EcoBoost has all of the benefits of a petrol engine rev-happy nature, inherently good NVH performance, light weight with diesel-like fuel efficiency.
The only problem is that the EcoBoost, just like the TwinAir engine, doesnt fully live up to the fuel economy claims that have been made. However, as long as potential owners understand this they should be delighted with their cars performance, handling and fuel efficiency.
Thinking of buying a new Fiesta?
Use carwow to compare Ford dealers best prices online. Select the Fiesta you want and dealers will submit their best offers. Compare them online based on price, location, delivery time and reviews of each dealer. Contact the dealers when you want and buy direct if you want to go ahead. It’s the only way to get the best price.