DETROIT -- When the 2014 Ford Fusion debuts this fall it will be offered with a new 1.5-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the fifth member of Ford's EcoBoost family, Ford said Thursday.
The engine will be quieter and more fuel efficient than the 1.6-liter EcoBoost offered on the current Fusion, while providing about the same horsepower and torque, said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering.
The 1.5-liter EcoBoost will include some of the advanced technologies Ford introduced on its 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which debuted in 2012, including an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head.
The integrated exhaust manifold "allows us to recover the heat that's normally wasted going through the exhaust pipe and warm up the engine more quickly," Bakaj said. That enables the to reach optimum running temperatures faster, with the added benefit that the system warms the cabin more quickly.
Phasing out the 1.6-liter
Because the manifold is integrated and not bolted on, the engine is lighter and simpler to manufacture, Bakaj said.
The engine will be launched simultaneously in China on the 2014 Ford Mondeo, which is virtually identical to the Fusion.
During the initial phase of the 2014 Fusion launch, Ford will offer both the 1.5- and 1.6-liter EcoBoost engines, along with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost. Then the 1.6-liter engine will gradually be phased out in the Fusion.
Ford expects the new 1.5-liter to be the volume engine.
Having both engines will help Ford ease capacity constraints that have slowed sales of the hot-selling Fusion.
"There's so much demand for the Fusion, but we will want to transition to the 1.5-liter because of better efficiency," said Bakaj.
Ford will release horsepower, torque and fuel-economy estimates when the 1.5-liter engine debuts this year.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost is listed at 178 hp and 184 lb. ft. of torque. The mpg rating is 23 city, 36 highway and 28 combined.
Built in Romania
The 1.5-liter EcoBoost was designed at Ford's engineering center in Dunton, United Kingdom. Manufacture has already begun at Ford's engine plant in Crajova, Romania.
Depending on demand, Ford could eventually make the engine elsewhere, Bakaj said.
Ford had cooling problems with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine that led to recalls of the 2013 Fusion and Escape crossover. Bakaj said Ford fixed those problems in the 1.5-liter powerplant.
"This engine has utilized all the knowledge from the 1.6 recall," Bakaj said.
The EcoBoost has rapidly become the centerpiece of Ford's North American powertrain strategy. This year Ford has been averaging sales of 50,000 EcoBoost equipped vehicles per month and 70,000 globally.
Ford has sold 600,000 EcoBoost engines since the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 was introduced on the F-150 pickup in 2009. Ford added the 2.0-liter EcoBoost in 2010, the 1.6-liter in 2011 and the 1.0-liter in 2012.
By the end of 2013, Ford says, 80 percent of its global nameplates will be offered with EcoBoost engines.