By on November 1, 2012

The 3-cylinder Ecoboost engine developed by Ford won’t necessarily stay at its current displacement of 1.0L. According to the Blue Oval, there’s a fair bit of power – and displacement – left on the table.

In world markets where vehicles are taxed on displacement, the 999cc engine is a boon to buyers who can buy something like a Mondeo-sized vehicle while avoiding the steep levies of a relatively larger powertrain. But Andrew Fraser, Ford’s head of gasoline engine development, told AutoExpress that as the regulations vary by country, so can the engine’s displacement.

“We have a maximum capacity per cylinder of 500cc, so a 1.5-litre engine is certainly possible. In growing markets there are incentives for certain sizes of engines, so in Brazil they want a 1.0-litre engine, in India it’s 1.2 and in China it’s 1.5 – the EcoBoost engine could be all of those.”

Fraser cited 200 horsepower as a possible figure for the larger displacement motors. The 1.0L engine in maximum tune can put out as much as 220 horsepower when pushed to its limits.

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25 Comments on “Ford Could Boost Displacement Of Ecoboost 3-Cylinder...”


  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’m curious as to how these feel to drive. After driving vehicles with larger displacement engines for so long(3.5L EB, 3.7L VQ, 4.6L V8, and a few others), I’m not sure I could get used to the feel or sound of a 3 cylinder engine.

    If only we could get small V6s again with great fuel economy. I’d rather see a 2.5L V6 get 35 MPG. It’s more moving parts and costs more obviously, but I’ll take a smooth running V6 over any I3.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Don Sherman tested one for Car and Driver in the 11/12 issue. It returned 27 mpg(on 89 octane) v. 29 mpg for the 2.0 naturally aspirated US Focus while being 2.7 seconds slower to 60 mpg, having more weight on the front wheels, and produced no perceptible power under 3,000 rpm. It is an engine meant to serve regulators instead of owners.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    All things being equal, the trend will be towards fewer cylinders. All of the improvements in combustion efficiency and flame propagation control have really driven allowed for this. And as the article cites, countries that tax on displacement and CO2 output will really keep this drive on.

    (PS. IMHO, a 2.5l V6 is a bit of an anachronism in today’s market. We’re seeing 180bhp from 4 cylinders already in the daily driver usage. Move to premium gas and you might get 250-260bhp, but that’s not enough to be competitive with the cars in this range, either on power (370z) or in fuel economy (328i).)

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m afraid I have to agree with you on “the trend will be towards fewer cylinders”.

      And I think that is a damn shame. I have always been the type to enthusiastically endorse “the more cylinders, the merrier” and I can tell you from having owned a old DKW 3=6 sedan that they can keep a 3-cyl anything.

      Now in a motorcycle a 3-cyl is different! I have owned both a Suzuki 750 watercooled and a Yahama 750, but I have also owned a Benelli Sei and a Honda CBX, and for me “the more cylinders, the merrier.”

      No doubt, the next iteration of the F150 will have a fully blown, DI 1.5-liter 3-cyl hamster powering it. But that doesn’t mean I wanna buy one. If if doesn’t have a V8, it ain’t a real truck, and if it doesn’t have at least a 6, it ain’t a real car.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        Speaking from experience, as I own a ’12 F-150 EB, it is undobtedly the best engine offered in the F-150. The NVH levels and the broad powerband sold me. Fuel economy is nothing to write home about though. And yes, it’s still a real truck ;)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        To each his own!

        I remember well when my brothers told my dad about Buick’s Supercharged V6 and he (reluctantly) agreed to buy their top model.

        What a POS!!! Yeah, he kept it for the duration of the warranty and traded it for a Cadillac V8.

        It remains to be seen yet how well Ford’s Ecoboost will hold up against time and mileage. It may be OK if you keep it just as long as the warranty coverage lasts.

        And speaking from personal experience, MY experience with MY 2006 F150 XLT 5.4 was not all that good. That’s why I’m driving a 2011 Tundra 5.7 DoubleCab Long Bed these days. And I haven’t been back to the dealer for anything since I drove it off the lot.

        That makes me feel good. If it ever broke down I may change m,y mind about Tundra, but so far, no issues, and that’s a good thing!

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > I’m afraid I have to agree with you on “the trend will be towards fewer cylinders”

        Consider the following:

        Ferrari 328: 3.2l v-8, 270bhp, 13mpg combined
        3rd Gen Acura TL: 3.2l v-6, 270bhp, 22mpg combined

        2012 VW Golf 5-cylinder: 2.5l i5, 170bhp, 25mpg combined
        2013 Honda Accord: 2.4l i4, 185bhp, 29mpg combined

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “If if doesn’t have a V8, it ain’t a real truck”

        Really? I consider the Cummins I6, the Ford I6, and the GMC V6 to be some of the greatest truck engines of all time.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      2011 Ford Crown Victoria 4.6L V8 – 19mpg combined
      2013 Ford Explorer 3.5L V6 – 18mpg combined

      Two very different vehicles, admittedly, but still far more similar to each other than a 1986 Ferrari 328 and a 2013 Acura TL.

      Fuel economy depends on a lot more factors than number of cylinders or total displacement. You can’t underestimate the improvements modern fuel injection and engine management systems have made, most V8s today deliver the same highway fuel economy as the flat-fours in 1970s Volkswagen Beetles.

      Seriously, anyone who owned one ought to be able to relate – I was lucky to get 25mpg out of my SuperBeetle, but was able to get up to 26mpg out of the 5.7 SBC in my old Cadillac.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    More regulatory madness, especially taxing an engine on its displacement (although that could be an excellent argument for wankels!).

    Here’s the big question about the growing use of forced induction, small displacement engines: does this really do anything other than game the regulatory system, often with worse real-world results?

    Case #1: Motor Trend has a BMW 3-series under a long-term test, with the blown 4-cylinder engine. Over a substantial period of usage, their observed mileage is 25 mpg, over a 17,000 mile useage. Is this really any better than the 2.5 liter 6 in 325i of a few years ago, or the wonderful 3 liter 6? Those engines were certainly more pleasant and, probably more ultimately reliable without the forced induction (and the also didn’t have the advantage of DI).

    Case #2: the Ford f-150 truck with the ecoboost V-6. Are drivers getting better real-world mileage out of the blown V-6 (which is likely to be less durable than a n/a V-8)?

    Case #3: the first generation Acura RDX, with the 250 hp blown 2.4 liter 4. It was a notorious underachiever in gas mileage under just about everyone’s testing . . . and it’s EPA numbers were nothing special either. Second generation RDX replaces the blown for with Honda’s NA 3.5 liter V-6. More power; same performance; better fuel economy. And I betcha it’s a lot smoother as well.

    And I seem to recall the 2 liter Ecoboost 4 in the new Ford Explorer was hardly more fuel efficient than the 3.6 liter n/a V-6.

    • 0 avatar
      genuineleather

      My parents had an ’02 325i that made all of 184 hp. The 330i had a whopping 220.

      BMW’s 2.0 turbo four makes 240, with substantially more torque and faster acceleration. It may require more work down the road, but that’s irrelevant to the 2/3rds of BMW customers who lease.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      To be fair turbos are about as reliable as anything else on a vehicle. Saab & Subaru ussd them successfully for over 20 years and they were proud of it. In most cases forced induction is off-set by larger injectors or low boost overall. If we were willing to spend real money on turbo build tolerance we could eek out 300 hp & 40 MPG. It’s quite amazing that we can get 270+ HP & 35+ MPG right now.

      As for gaming the system, displacement has a huge effect on economy but that’s why the US uses CAFE which uses a poor formula to but in concept works well. I know this site is right-leaning but market forces don’t really drive fuel efficiency as much as we like to believe. Prior to CAFE getting serious (about 3-5 years ago) the Japanese dominated while the domestics were pleased with lazy sales of gas guzzlers. But that’s neither here nor there….

      Also, is that 220hp turbocharged or naturally aspirited? I would love to combine it with a hybrid system to cheat and get 300+ hp & prius efficiency.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        The BMW sixes I was referring to are normally aspirated with port fuel injection, not the trouble-plagued twin turbo DI six that was introduced a few years ago as the engine for the “335i” When introduced, the 3-liter engine was rated at, IIRC, 215 hp with variable valve timing on the intake side. Subsequent versions were rated at 230 hp (with VVT on both sides) and 250 hp (with a higher redline).

        I have a Saab 9-5 areo with the 250 hp 2.3 liter engine. It’s a perfect combination with the automatic transmission. Driven moderately, the engine speed will never exceed 2200 rpm right up to 60 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      There really is more driving the fewer-cylinders, smaller-displacement, blown/DI trend, though. The EB3.5 F150 has a good deal more torque than the Coyote 5.0. The kicker is how much sooner it comes on.

      More and more studies of driver behavior are telling the OEMs that, as American roads get more crowded and speed violation fines more draconian, drivers are more concerned with quick off-the-line acceleration rather than with sustained speeds much more than 80mph.

      That being the case, turbo- or super-charged motors are the way to go. In the stoplight wars and gridlocked commute, such engines can be more satisfying to drive. Ancillary benefits include economy that is – if not better – then certainly no worse than the bigger engines they replace, and generally speaking less weight, which, in time, could give rise to better handling & ride characteristics.

      BTW, the Triumph three-cyl engines are some of the most viscerally satisfying, beastly-sounding, reliable engines in all of motorcycledom these days.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    “We have a maximum capacity per cylinder of 500cc”

    I remember reading a while ago someone at BMW going on about the 5.0 V10, 4.0 V8, and a half a liter per cylinder. Ford copied them!!

    Surprising no one

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Why not a SMALLER motor? Say, 600cc? Take the best qualities of Smart, IQ and Mini- then build a “better Ford”?

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    [quote]More and more studies of driver behavior are telling the OEMs that, as American roads get more crowded and speed violation fines more draconian, drivers are more concerned with quick off-the-line acceleration rather than with sustained speeds much more than 80mph. [/quote]

    A very small heavily boosted turbo will feel flat or weak below 1500rpm. There really is no replacement for displacement.

    [quote]being the case, turbo- or super-charged motors are the way to go. In the stoplight wars and gridlocked commute, such engines can be more satisfying to drive. Ancillary benefits include economy that is – if not better – then certainly no worse than the bigger engines they replace, and generally speaking less weight, which, in time, could give rise to better handling & ride characteristics. [/quote]

    Only if compared to DOHC small sixes. If we are talking about driving feel you can’t beat the high torque/low center of gravity/low weight of an OHV V-8. I have found these have the best driving characteristics and are some of the cheapest to make.. Too bad they aren’t so great on gas.

    The turbo and OHC equitment add weight and raise the COG of the sophisticated engines. And when you replace displacement with boost you get some awful turbo lag.

    Don’t get me wrong the BMW I-6 twin turbo is an awesome engine. But a 1.0L heavily boosted Ford thing is just for regs. You wouldn’t design an engine like this without market manipulation.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Doesnt all this forced induction hardware require higher octane ga$oline ?


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