Ford’s three-cylinder future

Ford EcoBoost
1 Nov, 2012 11:16am Steve Fowler

Clever 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is set to go large and go global

Ford’s 1.0-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine could expand up to 1.5-litres in size with power in excess of 200bhp, and feature in cars as large as the S-MAX and Galaxy in the next few years.

Speaking to Auto Express as Ford was awarded the Dewar Trophy by the Royal Automobile Club for outstanding British technical achievement, Ford’s head of petrol engine development Andrew Fraser said: “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.”

According to Fraser, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost has hit a high of 220bhp while testing, and ran at 202bhp in a Formula Ford road-legal race car around the Nurburgring racetrack in Germany.

However, Ford is happy with the engine’s current road car application where its highest output is 123bhp.

Bigger capacities mean more power, though, with Fraser saying that 200bhp is certainly possible: “We might not be up at Focus ST levels [247bhp] but it’ll be something pretty exciting.”

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It's a great engine, it really is. Far more grunt than the 1.6 it replaced, more torque, better sound, improved emissions, improved fuel economy, small.

There does seem to be a trend towards 3 cylinder engines now. I can remember the 3 cylinder Saab from the 60s. Let's hope they've come on since then!!!!!

Indeed I hope so. That power unit was, of course, a two stroke which made it the equivalent of a six cylinder in terms of the number of power strokes per revolution if in nothing else.

When ever I read comments about the "noise" or "thrum" of three cylinder power units I realise that the propaganda by manufacturers driven by cost cutting is working. Any engine which is coarser or noisier than the one it replaces is not progress.


just keep it over 5000 rpm

I wont be any anything from ford, they closed thier factories in Britain.

were is it made if not in the UK then the RAC is
not helping British workers so should not be used by
them try other services

So would you not have a smaller engine that improves your consumption considerably (therefore saving you money) but perhaps is slightly nosier?

How does pushing a highly stressed small engine to it's maximum capacity affect reliability?

I had an early Zeta (nee Zetec), was an absolute lemon.

The RAC is in cahoots! :)

Ford put out a highly stressed small engine.

RAC then handle the inevitable breakdown callouts.


That, as Hamlet said, is the question. These power units, apart from being cheaper to make, are designed to be "rule cheaters", i.e. to produce fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures in the artificial circumstances of the test procedure which cannot be replicated in "real" life. There is anecdotal evidence already that the gap between test and everyday results is larger with these rule cheaters than is generally the case.
It will be interesting to see as well if there will be any durability problems in the longer term (outside the warranty) as a result of the three cylinder layout.

Most likely true, however if the artificial circumstances make the co2 emissions low enough to keep road tax down then quite frankly I don't care. The cheaper the better!

Saving a few pounds (and it is a few) in road tax at the price of increased real world fuel consumption is an interesting exercise.