By on June 1, 2016

2014-Ford-Fiesta-Ecoboost-engine-2

If you want to own one of the world’s best engines (as ranked by a panel of multi-national auto journos), you don’t necessarily have to find a higher paying job or buy a plane ticket to Europe.

Most categories at the recently announced 2016 International Engine of the Year Awards were won by high-end powerplants and European mills you won’t find in North America — except for one entry dominated by Ford.

Winning the sub 1-liter class for the fifth year in a row was Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, an engine available in the Fiesta and Focus, but rarely talked about on these shores. (Unless you’re TTAC’s managing editor).

That tiny mill was lauded for its technology and power-to-displacement ratio. The automaker uses the 1.0-liter EcoBoost in a slew of European models, with one in five new Ford vehicles featuring the engine last year, according to the company.

The North American take up rate? Ever so drastically less.

In a wildly unshocking move, Tesla Motors won the “green engine” category for the lineup of drivetrains offered in the Model S and X.

Other winners available to drivers on this side of the Atlantic were BMW’s 1.5-liter three-cylinder hybrid powerplant, which powers the pricey i8 sportscar, and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and GLA45.

Going up the displacement scale, Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder (bound for the U.S. in the 2017 RS3) grabbed a top prize, as did Porsche’s turbocharged 3.0-liter flat six.

Winner of four categories, including the top “engine of the year” spot, “performance engine” and “new engine,” was Ferrari’s 3.9-liter biturbo V8, offered in the 488 GTB. After going gaga over small-displacement motors for the past several years, the panel went with a block that has more than four holes in it.

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50 Comments on “There’s an Affordable International Engine of the Year Winner, if You Can Find It...”


  • avatar

    Pentastar

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The ones without the loose valve guide problem?

      • 0 avatar
        ahintofpepperjack

        The cylinder head issue was corrected in 2012.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          I know, I just had to get that in there.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The Pentastar and ZF-Clone together is a super impressive combination, and probably the best 6 cylinder-automatic transmission coupled together in mainstream, daily drivers in a long, long time.

            It’s bizarre that FCA has not shitcanned the 9 speed transmission altogether, as it’s shitcan worthy.

            As to the 3 cylinder ecoboost, and its chances of success/acceptance in the U.S. in the future, don’t fret; the way things are going for the bottom 80%, a 3 cylinder under the hood will be aspirational within a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      Lol,

      6 ford wins. (some #1 spots from 2011 to 2014 no less)
      .5 Chrysler designed wins… the 1.4 turbo was designed by fiat.

      Seems the world does not agree with you ..

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    GIVE ME NORMALLY ASPIRATED V8’S

    phoning it in for BTSR today ;)

    edit
    Sh!t looks like he beat me to it.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    When I was shopping this past winter, I drove a leftover ’15 EcoBoost Focus. It simply wasn’t enough engine for a car of that weight. You would have to beat on it to get it going, probably negating any fuel savings.

    No Ford dealer within 100 miles had an EB Fiesta on the lot. Since it’s a lot lighter, I’m sure that engine is better suited.

    I think it’s a classic Catch-22 problem. Dealers won’t stock them, so nobody will buy one, so dealers won’t stock them.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I haven’t driven the 1.0 Focus but with the automatic it’s a dog. It’s better with the manual. But apparently in the Fiesta, with the stick, this is a very nice powertrain combo.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I wouldn’t call the 2.0L/6-speed auto Focus a dog. It’s not fast, but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s an engaging cheap car. Although the best non-performance Focus is the Focus SE with the manual transmission. The 1.0T Focus is a dog. Yuck.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      I had my heart set on buying a 1.0 EcoBoost Fiesta. When not in boost, the thing is a slug. Since Ford was giving incentives and rebates galore for Cinco De Mayo 2014, I ended up with a Focus 2.0 5MT for $1k more since alloys and replacing the horrible Hankook Optimos that come on every Fiesta < ST would have set me back at least that much for the EB Fiesta.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        That’s why Ford can’t move any Fiestas. The Focus is basically the same price for a more liveable vehicle. The Focus is cheaper on a lease too.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        Once again, America demonstrates that it prefers buying its cars by the pound.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “America demonstrates that it prefers buying its cars by the pound”

          Who wouldn’t if they could?

          Although buying by the cubic foot would be more accurate.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            People who don’t live in the U.S. and drive our interstates daily, with few exceptions (e.g Germany) fail to grasp what’s it’s like driving on highways where the effective speed is an average 80 mph, and one is sharing the road with vehicles weighing up to 80,000 lbs (full size tractor-trailer semi), also traveling 75mph to 80 mph, kicking gravel and debris everywhere, and often over not ideal road surfaces.

            A tin can, motorized mail box with a 85 to 105 horsepower mill can be a terrifying ride in such an environment, especially when wet, foggy, icy or other adverse weather conditions set in, and if they experienced such a thing, they’d also run to the blessed serenity, quietude, solidity, stability and power of a larger to much larger vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Europhiles, claiming austerity and BO to be virtues since 1918.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          There are very few reasons to buy a subcompact over a compact in the US. You have to really want that subcompact size, are a super cheapskate, or think the Fiesta ST is an awesome driver’s car. A Focus hatchback will be able to navigate even the most densely populated American cities with ease.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Yup. Especially when you can drive what today is considered a full-size sedan that will get 35mpg on the highway. That’s plenty good enough fuel economy for most folks.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Continuously lubed belt FTW

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    That picture looks like a lawn mower engine.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Seems silly to include electric motors in the same category. Greenest engine should go to a ICE with a great power-to-displacement ratio AND amazing fuel economy, if anything.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    What an awkward site to look at all the winners…click, click, clicketyclick. So how do you explain the dominance of European engines? Europe has many small countries = many national auto journalists = many votes in an international competition? Or do they generally award innovation? I’d not expect American engines to get international recognition – mostly for the persisting issue of high fuel consumption and huge displacements – but what about East-Asian offerings?

    • 0 avatar
      Snail Kite

      What great new engines have come out from Japan this year? I can only think of the Prius (on the list) and Honda turbo in the civic. I’ve definitely seen plenty of Japanese engines other years.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Loooooong list of judges there. Frank Markus, Jason Cammisa, Dan Carney, and Tom Wilson, and others from the US, plus others I recognize, like Georg Kacher from Car.

  • avatar
    brettc

    The VW group 2.5L is coming back with a turbo? Well I’ll be!

  • avatar
    carguy67

    How the hell does a 1.0-liter engine win the ‘sub 1-liter class?’ Are they used in submarines?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    turbo 3 cyl with a manual trans seems like it would be more fun to rent than own. But of course no rental company would rent a manual trans hatch in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      mazdaman007

      Serious question. Can you rent *any* manual transmission cars in the US ? Never seen one or seen one advertised when searching. Disclaimer: I’m usually looking for the cheapest option so perhaps they don’t fall under my search criteria.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think so. On the flip side, I went to Germany a few years back. I specifically reserved a cheap 3 manual, figuring I’d get a 316i or some such. The rental lady spoke no english and gave me a Mercedes E class for the same price. I was confused. My German speaking wife showed up later and after a brief conversation with the rental agent, laughed, looked at me and said “just take it and go”. She was smart enough to assess and NOT argue.

        “Americans Can’t Drive Manuals” was what she said to my wife. The only Automatic in stock was from the luxury line of cars….

        Yes, I enjoyed driving this fully optioned E Class (first time I ever saw GPS in a car, parking sensors, and snow white interior)) from Berlin to the Baltic, and yes, it was better than a base 3. Stupid Americans !

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Yeah try Costa Rica or most anywhere overseas. Rental GT500s or Shelby/Hertz do offer manuals, if they’re still a thing, or supercar, exotic rentals.

        • 0 avatar
          mazdaman007

          I always save a ton (tonne ?) when I go back to the UK by avoiding the rental automatics which seem to be double the price of the manuals.

          And anyway it’s not like I’m going to give up the unique privilege of driving a manual with my left hand on the “wrong” side of the road :)

          • 0 avatar
            MikeyToot

            You were correnct with “ton”. We still work in tons, although at 2240 lbs, they’re 12% larger than those lightweight US tons.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I (seriously) think that I’m going to learn German.

          I’ve been wanting to learn to speak and write fluent German for too long for it to be a passing impulse.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    At least they saw fit the get the 6.2 litre LT powerplant in there…

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Sure it’s “International”, except with a slant towards European engines, thanks to the “rules”, leaving US exclusives prevented from a win. It favors what’s in the most countries, and also, by the way, a very good engine.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    What a nightmare…a 3 cylinder…anything.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Nothing wrong with a 3-cylinder at all.

      The Triumph motorcycle 3-cylinders are sublime engines, universally beloved, and easily among the best powerplants on any bike.

      The architecture is so good that it is spreading to other motorcycle OEMs.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I would surmise the only reason the CLA was selected because it was the AMG version with the 2.0 DI turbo. The base CLA 250 is meh.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    What’s with the displacement obsession? Power to mass, power to required underhood volume, power per fuel; these are what matters. 1.5l + 200lbs of plumbing and 3ft3 of extra space is worse than 2.5l NA. I’m sure they design to what matters, why must media and therefore marketers obsess on displacement?

  • avatar
    maserchist

    Great juxtaposition of the Pratt & Whitney engine advertisement at the very end of the comments section FWIW…

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