Three Cylinders for the '14 Fiesta

When you're looking for a new car, especially these days, you probably put fuel efficiency near the top of your list. But you don't want to give up any more excitement or fun than you have to. Ford might have something for you here. Today Ford announced it's bringing U.S. shoppers a one-liter engine for the 2014 Fiesta. It's not just a small engine; it's a small, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine that's thoroughly modern and part of Ford's popular EcoBoost lineup. With this powerplant as an option, the fun little Ford will become the most fuel-efficient car you can buy without springing for a hybrid or a diesel.

The Engine That Fit In the Carry-On Bag

The one-liter three-cylinder is the smallest member of Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged engine lineup, and it’s also Ford’s only three-cylinder. It’s so small that a Ford spokesman boasted he was able to fit one into his carry-on luggage.

The One-Liter EcoBoost Is Already Big in Europe

The Ford one-liter was named International Engine of the Year this spring, and Ford is already selling it in Europe, where about 30 percent of Focus buyers opt for it. In fact, the whole EcoBoost thing is working out well for Ford, which started making the engines in 2009. The company announced this week that it has passed the 500,000 mark in production of its lineup of fuel-efficient turbocharged engines. By 2013, you'll be able to choose an EcoBoost engine for more than 90 percent of the vehicles Ford sells in North America. In the Fiesta, the engine is expected to make 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, which is actually better than the 2013 Fiesta’s four-cylinder can do. Although fuel economy testing hasn’t happened yet, Bob Fascetti, Ford’s director of global engine engineering, confidently predicted that the Fiesta with the one-liter EcoBoost engine will have the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid on the market. You can look for numbers well above the current brass ring of 40 mpg.

But How Does It Feel?

Now you may ask, Is this thing going to run like a lawnmower engine, and is it going to sound like one? A good question when you consider the odd number of cylinders and the diminutive size. In response, Ford enumerated ten ways in which the EcoBoost one-liter has been developed to achieve what Fascetti called “world-class levels of smoothness and refinement.” They range from the wonkish (optimized engine mounts and an offset crankshaft to reduce shaking and friction) to the truly surprising (a sealed rubber belt that reduces noise and requires no maintenance). Fascetti noted that Ford engineers focused on "such things as bearing sizes, piston ring tension, and thermal management," so you don't have to. No prices are out yet, and the one-liter engine will be an option, not standard equipment, on the 2014 Fiesta. However, choosing an EcoBoost engine on one of the many other Fords that offer them costs about $995 now. So if you're really set on fuel economy but find diesel or hybrid vehicles out of reach, the 2014 Fiesta with this EcoBoost engine seems like one to put on your short list.
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