Prepare for an onslaught of three-cylinder cars
January 27, 2013
by Michael Vaughan
Are you ready for a Ford with a tiny, one-litre, three-cylinder engine? There’s a Ford Fiesta soon to go on sale with an engine so small it will fit in a large suitcase. I’ve driven the car and it’s brilliant.
Alan Mulally, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company, is the man who brought Ford back to profitability after years of billion-dollar losses. Under Mulally, Ford was the only major American car manufacturer to avoid government-sponsored bankruptcy.
In 2008 he said: “Everybody says you can't make money off small cars. Well, you'd better damn well figure out how to make money because that's where the world is going.”
Tough fuel economy regulations are forcing the issue for sure, but people are also finding out for themselves that small cars are comfortable and safe these days. And who doesn’t want to pay less for fuel?
When I spoke with Mulally at the Detroit Auto Show I mentioned that I was impressed with their three-cylinder engine. He was even more enthusiastic. “What an engine! What efficiency! I’m so in love with it. There’s a picture of me kissing it at the official launch. Well, a lot of people were wondering about that,” he said.
The 1-litre, 3 cylinder is the latest in the line of engines Ford calls EcoBoost. Mulally explained, “EcoBoost is going across all our product lines. Direct fuel injection plus turbocharging gives a 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy and a 20 per cent reduction in CO2. That’s technology that is going to be available to everyone.”
You get improvements in that order when you downsize from a V8 to a V6 or even to a four cylinder. The point is that now you can get more horsepower from a smaller, more efficient engine. Soon you’ll have the option of going all the way down to a three-banger.
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