Refined and with plenty of grunt, Ford’s Focus proves you can get more from less
Ford’s three-cylinder EcoBoost engine packs a punch and can mix it with the big boys — which is sure to propel Focus sales
WEprobably won’t see a Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost Down Under until 2014 but we won’t have to wait that long to sample the Blue Oval’s awardwinning engine.
When Ford’s tiny-tot SUV, the EcoSport, hits dealerships late next year, the headlines will be for the 1.0-litre threecylinder EcoBoost engine. And what a brilliant engine it is.
Launched in Europe a couple of months ago, this engine has made an instant impact, accounting for almost a quarter of all Focus sales.
Tricky this. Ford wants to make the EcoSport a hero for the brand but, given at least 70 per cent of buyers want an auto, it won’t come before the Powershift (Ford’s excellent twin-clutch auto transmission) is available.
Expect as standard things such as Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights, dual-zone climate control and much more. Given the extra cost involved in building this clever little engine, it probably will be at the upper end of current Focus pricing of between $25,000 and $35,000.
The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine comes in 74kW/170Nm with a five-speed manual or 91kW/170Nm (200Nm on overboost for 30 seconds) with a six-speed manual.
The Powershift— available in the Focus and Mondeo— is being developed for the tiddler engine. We drove the (relatively) bigger engine. With peak torque available from 1300rpm-4000rpm, it returns an impressive 5.0 litres/100km on the combined cycle.
But what makes this engine truly remarkable is its level of refinement and driveability.
Because of the inherently unbalanced nature of a threecylinder car, engineers came up with ideas such as unbalancing the crank pulley and flywheel to balance the engine.
There is absolutely no vibration transferred to the car’s structure. There is no balancer shaft. It also runs an offset crankshaft to reduce piston friction and thus improve fuel consumption. The cam belt, made from a glass fibre-rubber compound, runs through oil and lasts the life of the engine. Sound impressive? It is.
A smaller engine means less weight and this helps steering and handling, making a car already at the top of the smallcar-handling tree even better.
There have been no changes to the interior and exterior of this EcoBoost model, which means a well-laid out dashboard, quality materials and plenty of room in the front and rear.
TOP MARKS: The Ford Focus has the best engine in years.