POCKET ROCKET

Re­fined and with plenty of grunt, Ford’s Fo­cus proves you can get more from less

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On The Web - ISAAC BOBER isaac.bober@carsguide.com.au

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.

VALUE

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

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