Like it or not, the cost of petrol is starting to impact on our motoring activities. Jumping in the car and heading out for a drive just for the fun of it is becoming an expensive hobby, so what can be done? Drive less is one option, although not very palatable to me. A more attractive choice is to fit cars with smaller more efficient engines, which is fine so long as that dinky engine is powerful enough.
That’s why Ford’s decision to fit their new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine into the Focus is an interesting one. Initially the idea of an engine with just one litre capacity and three cylinders in a car the size of a Focus sounds laughable. Surely it will grind to a halt as soon as it encounters a hill?
Look more closely at the details of the new engine and it starts to make a lot more sense. For a start it has a turbocharger, represented by the ‘boost’ in EcoBoost. It will also be available in two states of tune, one with 99 bhp and the other with a more noteworthy 123 bhp. That more powerful version has a peak torque output of 125 lb/ft between 1,400 and 4,500rpm, more than the non-turbo 1.6-litre petrol (111 lb/ft) and with exactly the same amount of power.
Ford claim that a Focus fitted with the 1.0 EcoBoost will be able to achieve economy figures of up to 58.9mpg on the EU combined cycle, while CO2 emissions drop as low as 109 g/km for the 99 bhp model and 114 g/km for the 123 bhp. Compare that with the 1.6-litre petrol and you have figures of 47 mpg and 136 g/km of CO2. You can see how there are savings to be made.
Even with the more powerful version of this engine the Focus will be far from a performance icon, but just stop and think what this could do to the smaller cars in Ford’s range. The engine is very compact and has a cylinder block that could stand on a sheet of A4 paper. Imagine that slotted under the bonnet of the smaller and lighter Fiesta and Ka. Could it be the perfect starting point for a Ka ST?