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If we asked you to name cars that used a three-cylinder engine, you’d probably pick the Smart ForTwo without much trouble. If you’ve been around cars as long as we have, you’d remember that the Geo Metro, Chevrolet Sprint, Suzuki Swift and Subaru Justy all came with fuel-efficient three-banger engines.
They all had one other thing in common, too – they were (or are) near-dangerously underpowered, and deliver zero amusement behind the wheel. Enter Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, which is small enough to fit in a carry-on bag but big enough to produce 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. By Ford’s estimation, that delivers the performance of a normally aspirated 1.6-liter engine, while returning superior fuel economy.
The 1.0-liter EcoBoost has been on the market in Europe since spring, and in 2013 it will cross the pond to become an optional engine for the Ford Fiesta. With peak torque coming in at just 1,400 rpm, the baby EcoBoost will feel a lot like a diesel to most customers. It offers class-leading refinement, too, and Ford has opted to balance out the engine’s vibration with an offset crankshaft and external balancers.
There’s no word yet on the kind of fuel economy Ford expects to see from the engine in the Fiesta, nor has Ford quoted a price for the engine upgrade (although most other EcoBoost engines run an additional $995). While this won’t be of interest to enthusiasts, it will definitely catch the attention of those looking for a compact commuter not powered by diesel or a hybrid drivetrain.
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