After more than a year of keeping us wondering what vehicle would be the first sold in America to get its new 1.0-liter/3-cylinder EcoBoost engine, Ford has confirmed that honor will go to the 2014 Fiesta. This high-tech gasoline sipper, which was named 2012 International Engine of the Year, features loads of new technology and design innovations and has nearly 25 percent fewer moving parts than a conventional alternative. Tuned to make 123 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, it returns 47 mpg on the European combined cycle in the 2013 Fiesta already on sale there. Although still awaiting final EPA numbers for this market, Ford expects the 2014 Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car sold here.
"Customers are going to be pleasantly surprised at what the smallest member of the EcoBoost engine family can do," said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering. "Most customers are not going to be thinking about the number of cylinders under the hood when they drive the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost Fiesta. They'll notice an extremely smooth and quiet idle, terrific acceleration accompanied by a sporty sound at high revs, and - most importantly - outstanding fuel economy."
Our first encounter with the 3-cylinder EcoBoost took place in a Euro-spec 2012 Ford Focus 1.0-liter earlier this year. Even in that larger, heavier compact vehicle, the engine impressed us with its surprisingly spirited performance and overall refinement. That enthusiastic character and mileage-maxing skill should come across even more definitively in the subcompact Fiesta.
Ford has yet to price the 1.0-liter EcoBoost upgrade, although it has promised the engine will be "a very affordable option." Elsewhere in the Ford lineup, checking the EcoBoost box generally adds about $995 to the bottom line.