By on April 9, 2013

A story making the rounds of various forums is that Ford will introduce a 1.5L version of the Ecoboost three-cylinder in the MY2014 Fusion. Yes, a three-cylinder might be offered in a North American family sedan.

Ford offer’s the Fiesta’s 1.0L triple in European versions of the Fusion (dubbed the Mondeo), while the Chinese Mondeo gets the 1.5L variant. This engine makes 177 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 177 lb-ft from 1,500-4,000 rpm. These numbers are nearly identical to the 1.6L Ecoboost 4-cylinder, but apparently, both engines will be kept around. The 1.5L will be offered with an automatic and stop-start, while the 1.6L will be only available with a stickshift. If the rumors are to be believed. We have put feelers out to our Ford contacts, but haven’t gotten any word back yet. Supposedly, the 1.5L engine will let Ford claim the fuel economy title back from the Nissan Altima and its 38 mpg highway rating.

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51 Comments on “Wild Ass Rumor Of The Day: Three-Cylinder Ford Fusion For North America...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    How about just a giant one-cylinder lawn mower engine banging away under the hood? Could you get another 1-2 mpg for the EPA crown from that one, even if it isn’t repeatable in the real world? By all means, do it! And be sure to charge more for the privilege.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Hell yeah! Put a pull cord starter on it and you won’t even need a battery.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      You’ll pop a Civic’s hood, only to find a red [lawnmower] engine cover inside.

    • 0 avatar
      Mrb00st

      that’s a fair point, but having seen some footage of the prototype BMW 1.5L I3 turbo in the 1-series, it might not be that bad.

      Then again, that’s assuming Ford can engineer an engine with the same standard of NVH qualities as BMW. Looking at the Duratec V6 versus, say, the N52 straight six says “probably not.”

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “Then again, that’s assuming Ford can engineer an engine with the same standard of NVH qualities as BMW. Looking at the Duratec V6 versus, say, the N52 straight six says “probably not.””

        In a competition between an I-6 and a V-6 for NVH, the I-6 will always win because an inline 6-cylinder is inherently balanced (both primary and secondary). A V-6 requires things like offset crank pins, counterweights, or balance shafts, depending on the design.

        It’s an unfair competition.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Beat me to it Corn, an I6 definitely has an architectural advantage over a V6 when it comes balancing forces and an advantage when it comes to torque production (or so I’m told) due to angular displacement of the rotating assembly.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            As an American I feel that you have an obligation to write to your congressman demanding that GM start building an all aluminium 350cid straight six. Not that I’ll ever want such a thing in a car but it would make one sweet boat engine for all of us that can’t stand that awful fishing boat sound crossplane cranked V8 makes.

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      Have you actually driven a 3-cylinder Ecoboost engine? Or still sticking to big V8?

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    OMG! Shades of the 3-cyl Suzuki and Geo cars of yore.

    What’s next, Ford’s supercharged version of the 2-cyl 2CV (Deux Chevaux)?

  • avatar
    ninja14blue

    Thanks CAFE…I suppose a 3-cylinder Mustang is just around the corner also.

    • 0 avatar
      Sir Tonk

      That three cylinder already has more power than the best V8′s the Mustang had thirty-five years ago, what are you so worried about? Do you think Ford is going to bring back the Probe and kill the Mustang?

  • avatar
    Reino

    Why stop at 3? At this rate, the guys at Ford should just take a trip over to Milwaukee and source a bunch of Harley V-Twins for the Fusion.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    “This engine makes 177 horsepower at 6,000 rpm…”

    She’s goin’ta tear herself ta pieces, Jim!

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with a 3-cylinder motor.

    Triumph uses 3-cylinder motors in many of their products. They are smooth, powerful, sound awesome, and are generally regarded as some of the best motorcycle powerplants available.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Mmmm, I sense a triple-engined Ford Fusion entering 2016 LeMons race, totaling 4.5 liters and 3 turbos. Yeeehaaaa!

    • 0 avatar
      Mike

      How about an engine to a wheel?
      True 4WD FTW!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        That’s about the only thing that makes sense. One, approx 500cc engine at each wheel with the 1st engine having a gear reduction of say 8:1 and all have a starter and torque converter. The second engine represents 2nd gear and comes ON as 1st shuts down. At full throttle, 1st stays on and 3rd & 4th come on line as an AWD effort. Sequential at light throttle.

        The 4th engine would have the overdrive gear and would work alone under light throttle. If slip is detected, the coresponding, left or right engine, would turn ON with the engine management and traction control balancing the output. When lots of slip is detected, all 4 will come online up to a certain speed.

        All engines would be OFF at a stop and the car would start off in 2nd when facing a 1% grade or better and light throttle.

        The 3 cylinder idea sounds good on paper, but in practice, it’ll drink a bit more fuel unless you put it in a Geo Metro. It’s the same reason full boat V6 mid-size trucks get worse mpg than a full boat V8 full-size. No, you match the engine to the load.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          ^This. If you drive aggressively with those turbos you just don’t see good mileage.

          Where I drive its almost 100% city with lots of stop lights. So its very bad on gas mileage with any car. Its not just non stop traffic – but stop and go..

          I got 35 MPG on the highway but only 16 around town. In a 4 cylinder turbo car. You can do nearly as well with a V8. Its more technology chasing diminishing returns.

          If CAFE runs it course modern ICE cars are going to be absolutely terrible to drive IMHO.

          It doesn’t matter when your turbo’s kick in – they are sluggish off the line if the displacement is too small.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    It’s been 20 years (or more!) since anyone has purchased a naturally-aspirated diesel for anything other than a sailboat auxiliary motor.

    Why are people so afraid of turbocharged gasoline engines?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Compact tractors are normally aspirated, and VW still has some SDIs in the catalog.

      Turbo fear in general is a holdover from ’80s sports cars, and bad tunes on aftermarket installs.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    Pssst. Ford. You still make the Focus and Fiesta. Hint, hint.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    Not surprising. one less cylinder = less friction and less moving parts. you get better return on power and more reliability (so long as the design is solid)

    as for vibration… i dunno… i would have to see and sit in one.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Why would you expect vibration?

      A 120* straight-three is rotationally balanced and can be very very smooth if properly engineered.

      Again, refer to Triumph’s triples which are quite smooth all the way up to their redlines at 10,000 RPM or higher.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Inline-3s have torsional vibrations along the crankshaft. Honda and Ford addressed that by offsetting the crank.

        http://www.autozine.org/technical_school/engine/smooth1.htm#Inline-3

  • avatar

    Me thinks this is a “joke” or is it for real, anything to get more MPG maybe, it works in the United Kingdom with there short distances but I don’t think it will work that well here in North America!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      One of our friends graduated from Northwestern years ago and moved her whole family to California in a 3-cyl Geo, loaded to the gills with people and stuff.

      First thing she did when she set up her law practice there was buy a Honda minivan!

  • avatar

    I don’t think that a dynamometer cares how many cylinders are producing the power and torque. Ford put a 200 HP version of the three cylinder Ecoboost in a street legalized version of the new Formula Ford chassis and set a very impressive ‘Ring time with it.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    They won’t sell many, if any at all! this is really stupid, sort of the 4 cyl Mustang 2 of years ago.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Yet another amazingly stupid idea from Ford. They are on a roll lately.

    All this will do is cause the engine to work very hard using more fuel as we have seen in the Taurus and the Taurus wagon…I mean…Explorer. The Fusion is a porky car just like the Taurus.

    And, without a doubt, this will get poor fuel economy just like the Hybrids, Egoboost engines out now, etc.

    Ford is such a failure of a automotive company.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The Ford hybrids get very good gas mileage, just nothing like what they claim. I think the 3 cylinder Fusion will be terrible though. Car and Driver tested a 3 cylinder Ecoboost Focus. It was slow, shook under the hood at idle, and used more 89 octane gasoline than the 2.0 liter NA Focus uses 87 octane. Throw in the additional cost and it is a complete loser anywhere other than a badly calibrated fuel economy testing dynometer.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        How’s that trite expression go? “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”

        This seems like a move to purely reduce Ford’s CAFE liability.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          ‘How’s that trite expression go? “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”’

          Some hate the player no matter what. Ford could come out with an 8 passenger vehicle that handled and accelerated like a Formula 1 car, rode like a 60′s Cadillac, fully loaded for $8k, and never needed fuel – and some people would still call the car a failure.

  • avatar
    zeg

    Kind of takes me back to the two-cylinder air-cooled engine in the Honda 600.

  • avatar
    ByTheLake

    I ride a 3 cylinder motorcycle. That engine is silky smooth with balance shafts inside. There’s no reason a modern automotive engine can’t be similarly smooth. For small cars, it could be a good alternative engine that costs less to build.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Why the hell would a 3 cylinder need to drink premium fuel, anyway?

    Both the Euro market Focus 3 cylinder and the Smart need premium fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      ‘Cause they are engineered for a market with higher quality gasoline and because a turbo engine usually has a higher cylinder pressure. Turning the car into a makeshift diesel isn’t an appealing idea for most people, hence, the requirement for fuel that’s less prone to compression ignition.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I hope Ford has done their homework better than they did their homework here in Australia with these Eco Boost engines.

    The 2.0 litre Eco Boost Falcon didn’t go over as well as they had thought it would. Replacing the existing 4 litre 6 seemed to be harder to achieve. The Falcon consumer obviously thought the smaller Eco Boost didn’t offer enough. It could be a case of bad timing on Ford’s part.

    But in a small car it might work as most buy these vehicles for the economy of ownership.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    You couldn’t pay me to drive a car that had an engine without overlapping power strokes. 3 cylinder will never do it for me. 2-3 cylinders might work fine in a motorcycle, but I don’t see it being a viable long term car motor.

  • avatar
    AFX

    How about a 3-cylinder aircooled radial Ecoboost engine, has Ford tried that one yet ?. I’m thinking along the lines of an turbocharged Anzani engine mounted to the front bumper of a Fiesta, sorta like the Morgan that Baruth got to ride in.

    This guy has a “Better Idea” for a Ford:

    http://www.carscoops.com/2008/01/1929-ford-model-with-250-hp-cosworth.html

    That is until someone comes along with a Hayabusa engined Model T.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    Ford could try putting the Fusion on a diet before putting in a three-cylinder engine. Some of their vehicles weigh a couple hundred more pounds than the competition and could stand to be a bit lighter.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    The Fusion’s base curb weight is 3600 pounds. Imagine if it were 2900. That’s where I get lost in all of this. There was a time, when 5-6 passenger cars weighed less than 3000 pounds. No, they didn’t haveairbags pointing at every mm of human flesh, and their structures could not support the weight of a steamship resting in the middle of a framerail, but somehow we survived.

    As others have pointed out, our societal bloat, mechanical and otherwise is truly to blame. We created this game, we’re the players, and we’ve been played.

  • avatar
    niky

    I don’t see any problem with this. I’ve driven the new Volvo S60 with a turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder, and that drove pretty fine. Much better than the 2.0T in the old car, and actually better than the current 200+ hp 2.0T. In fact, the 2.0T makes enough torque that the traction control and drivetrain ECU have to clamp down torque to where the 1.6 is actually peppier in the first two gears.

    A 1.5 turbo would be fine as long as it’s tuned right. It will probably drink less gas in the city cycle, but might do worse on the highway at your typical American 80 mph cruise…


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