1.0 Ecoboost Zetec 5-dr Hatchback
you drive, your pocket will
continue to be hit by escalating tax
bills and fuel prices, fuelled by the
UK Treasury needing ever-more
easy revenues and EU emissions
regulations getting ever-tougher.
Clearly, downsizing is here to stay...
ARE DOING THEIR BIT to help the motorist for instance, they already
have lower emission Econetic and Ecoboost technologies for diesel and petrol
engines but now their new Ecoboost 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
engine with 99 and 123bhp power outputs has become the industry benchmark for
And one in four of the new Ford Focus Hatchback and Estate models to be sold
in the UK will be ordered with one of these new British-designed 1.0-litre,
three-cylinder, Ecoboost powerplants.
Already this new Ford unit with a cylinder block (width and length) the
size of an A4 sheet of paper has been voted 'International Engine of
the Year' by 76 Journalists from 35 countries around the world. Fresh from its
debut in the new Ford Focus range, it will shortly be added to the C-Max and
new B-Max MPVs and, eventually, the Fiesta.
1.0-litre Ecoboost prices start from £16,445 for the five-door hatch and £17,545
for the estate. The price premium for the new 1.0-litre three-pot Ecoboost petrol
engine over the 1.6-litre four-pot units the newcomer replaces is just £250.
Spec-wise there are Edge, Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium and Titanium X levels of
The power outputs of
the new units (99bhp and
123bhp) are the same as
the equivalent old 1.6-
litre engines but there are
in performance and fuel
The power outputs of the new units (99 and 123bhp) are the same as the equivalent
old 1.6-litre engines but there are significant improvements in performance
and fuel economy (combined cycle 58.9/56.5mpg). And all with lower CO2 emissions
(109 and 114g/km) which, of course, means much lower road tax.
At the UK press launch Ford pointed out that in the past UK customers traditionally
bought a model of their choice based on engine capacity because if you wanted
to impress then 'size mattered'. But high taxes and fuel prices have changed
all that; now an increasing number of buyers look at engine efficiency in terms
of power output but with lower tax gathering emissions.
So selling the idea that a 1.0-litre engine is better than a 1.6-litre unit
isn't now as hard a job as in the past; in fact, Ford are finding that once
a customer has actually driven a Focus with the new 1.0-litre Ecoboost unit
they have no reservations and are sold on the idea of owning the latest fuel-saving
technology engine. And 60% of customers trying the new engine are buying it
nearly double the sales conversion rate of other Ford models.
Being the International Engine of the Year is a huge sales boost. But three-cylinder
petrol engines are not new the Japanese were using them more than 25
years ago for their city cars; even back then some were turbocharged and had
multi-valve cylinder heads but they were all multi-point, fixed timing fuel
new engine is even more compact and combines variable valve timing with direct
multi-phase fuel injection. Plus the latest turbos, instead of supplying a rush
of boost pressure high up the rev band, can offer a more linear and progressive
boost from very low engine speeds; 1,400rpm in this new Focus unit.
brief 1.0-litre, triple-cylinder Ecoboost first drive was in the 123bhp version
(the 99bhp engine arrives shortly). Having read a few of the early reviews and
heard the comments of colleagues who had already undertaken the first appraisals,
I was not disappointed in any way. Actually, I was even more impressed.
These latest turbos,
instead of supplying
a rush of boost pressure
high up the rev band,
offer a more linear
and progressive boost
from very low engine
Admittedly, three-cylinder engines are traditionally not as smooth as 'fours';
they have a throaty roar to them during acceleration, and they are not that
responsive. If we're honest, fuel economy and lower emissions are generally
achieved at the expense of realistic performance.
However, the new Ford 'triple' sets new standards: the engine is smooth with
little vibration and while there is a slight change in engine note during hard
acceleration, it's not a sound of stress.
It's also responsive and offers good flexibility without too many gearchanges
from low speeds right through the mid range thanks to the wide torque band provided
by the electronic mapping, variable valve timing and the turbo's linear boost.
Let me not be seen to over-praise this new engine it's no ball of fire.
But it's no slowcoach either, and still better than many larger capacity non-turbo
four-pot petrol engines. Top speed is 120mph, zero to 62mph takes 11.3 seconds
and it cruises effortlessly and quietly at the UK's legal limit all with
CO2 emissions of just 114g/km.
Ford might have a few battles still to win is with the fuel economy expectations.
Officially, the 99bhp version will return up to 58.9mpg and the 123bhp version
56.5mpg. These days it's rare for owners to come close to the official laboratory-obtained
figures during real-life driving, so meeting expectations may be an issue which
Ford has to deal with.
123bhp Focus Hatchback test car, during two test drive sessions, returned 42mpg
against the expected 56.5mpg. This was racked up on some 70mph motorway sections,
50mph-limit A and B country roads and a small amount of sub-30mph stop-start
Its true, size no longer
downsized petrol engine
combines all the latest
fuel and CO2 saving
technologies without too
many compromises in
Ford's 1.6 TDCi diesel in the Focus will easily beat that and it only
costs £850 more than the new 123bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine in the
The 99bhp Ecoboost version is £1,350 less than the 1.6 TDCi so that unit probably
makes more sense for low-mileage drivers.
Diesel engines are not dead yet but admittedly the reason to buy one
today, with such good new small capacity petrol engines readily available, is
Reasons to buy: highly-praised, award-winning new benchmark downsized petrol
engine which combines all the latest fuel and CO2 saving technologies without
too many compromises in performance while proving that size no longer matters.
Against? Living up to the official fuel economy figures in real-life motoring
conditions might be a challenge. So the advice from me is: try the 1.0-litre
Ecoboost before you buy you will be impressed because it really does
live up to all the 'hype', sorry 'positive reaction', it has already received.
Note, too, that diesel still makes a strong case for itself and the latest 1.6-litre
TDCi diesel Focus will work out to be even more fuel efficient for high-mileage
drivers, plus there's already a new 83.1mpg/89g/km Econetic 1.6 TDCi diesel
Focus on the way. David Miles
Focus 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec 5-dr Hatchback | £17,945
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds | Overall test MPG: 42mpg
Power: 123bhp | Torque: 125lb ft | CO2 114g/km