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by Jez Spinks

The Ford Focus range will become dominated by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo as Ford starts to phase out its normally aspirated units for downsized forced induction petrol engines.

The pint-sized engine, which has a block footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper, has recently been launched in the Focus small car in Europe, with Ford Australia expected to introduce the Focus 1.0 EcoBoost in late 2013.

The three-cylinder punches well above its weight, producing either 74kW or 92kW from two engine tunes while slurping as little as 4.8 litres of fuel per 100km in a five-door Ford Focus.

It brings an improvement of about 20 per cent in fuel efficiency compared to the 1.6-litre four-cylinder found in the entry-level model of the Ford Focus range in Australia.

Ford’s vehicle line director for C-segment (small car) vehicles, Gunnar Herrmann, told CarAdvice at last week’s 2012 Geneva motor show that although the engine isn’t cheap to produce, its performance and efficiency makes it an obvious choice to become the dominant Focus engine in developed markets.

“The majority of the European market will start to substitute [with this 1.0-litre EcoBoost] so get out of the [1.6-litre] 160 iVTC,” he says. “[The 1.0-litre] is so refined, so characteristic, it’s quiet, [and] with overboost offers up to 230Nm. That’s performance you normally get with a 2.0-litre engine.

“I think [the normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engines] will disappear. It is certainly more technology [with the three-cylinder] but subsequently there is more cost, so you have to take this into consideration.

“But for the more sophisticated markets especially where prepared to pay it will clearly end up 100 per cent. Certainly in the C segment, if you want to downsize dramatically you have to go this route.”

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is expected to make its Australian debut in the Ford EcoSport baby SUV (above) that will launch about mid 2013.

A Focus 1.0L EcoBoost model should follow after that, though the engine will also become available in the Fiesta range.

EcoBoost engines combine turbocharging and direct injection for effective performance and economy, and they’re gradually becoming the primary petrol engine family for Ford.

A 1.6-litre turbo EcoBoost engine is also available for the Focus, with a version of it also powering the new Ford Fiesta ST hot-hatch (pictured above).

In April Ford Australia will release a Falcon variant powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine.




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