Tiniest engine is biggest star of Ford's show
DETROIT -- When Ford Motor Co. showed off its latest models to journalists and analysts at its annual ride-and-drive, the smallest engine was the biggest star of the day.
That would be the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost now sold only in Europe but coming next year to North America in a small car. Ford brought two European-spec Focuses powered by the engine to its test track in Dearborn.
The test loop was short, but journalists and analysts came away wowed by the little engine that could. The 1.0 is peppy and has plenty of torque: 123 hp and 148 pounds-feet of torque at 1,400 rpm.
"I was floored with how refined it was, how quiet, the lack of vibration, the amount of torque," said David Sullivan, analyst for AutoPacific Inc. "I had heard people say it was the best engine in Ford's lineup. I think that engine has awards coming down the pipeline."
Customers in Europe have been impressed, too. Joe Bakaj, Ford's chief powertrain engineer, said, "During its first month on sale in Europe, it accounted for 25 percent of all Focus sales."
Bakaj isn't saying on what vehicle the 1.0-liter EcoBoost will first appear in the United States, but the Fiesta is the most likely candidate.
The Fiesta has hit a sales trough while U.S. sales of the larger Focus have soared. Ford could turn to a sophisticated new powerplant to lift the Fiesta out of its doldrums.
You can reach Bradford Wernle at email@example.com.