Today, I'll be getting my first spin in a car I've been very anxious to drive: The Ford Fiesta with the 1-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.
By now, I'm sure you're familiar with Ford's EcoBoost concept: Small, direct-fuel-injected turbocharged engines that replaced bigger ones. So far, the smaller these engines get, the more I like them. I enjoyed the twin-turbo V6, as seen in the Flex and Taurus SHO. I was impressed by the 2-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost in the Taurus. And I fell in love with the 1.6 EcoBoost in the 2013 Fusion. (Matter of fact, I'll be spending a week with one towards the end of December.)
And now we have the smallest EcoBoost, the 1-liter 3-cylinder engine that will be offered in the 2014 Fiesta. The 1.0EB does the job of a 1.6 liter engine, right down to its power ratings of 123 hp and 148 lb-ft. EPA fuel economy estimates have not been announced, but with the 1.6 liter Fiesta SFE rated at 29 MPG city and 40 MPG highway, they'll need to be pretty impressive to justify the extra cost of the engine.
I'm optimistic -- I think small engines like this are the wave of the future. A few months ago, I drove a Japanese-spec Mitsubishi i with a turbocharged 0.66 liter three-cylinder, and it had no problem keeping up with traffic... although it only managed 30 MPG. On the other hand, when I think of our long-term Passat diesel -- a queen-size car that averages 40 MPG -- I have to wonder why the automakers won't just hurry up and give us more cars that feed from the greasy pump.
Could we someday see engines even smaller than the 1-liter EcoBoost? Well, Fiat does have a two-cylinder turbocharged engine call the TwinAir, which they offer in the European version of the Fiat 500...
So, off to drive the Fiesta, and I'll be sure to tell you how it is as soon as I can. -- Aaron Gold