Print 88 comment(s) - last by jconan.. on Jan 30 at 1:14 AM

Ford makes big promises for small engines

Auto manufacturers are furiously working up ways to increase the fuel economy of their vehicles without compromising the consumer's current expectations of large, powerful vehicles thanks to new CAFE regulations.

General Motors recently unveiled the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line with an improved two-mode hybrid system, and still hopes to push out the highly anticipated Chevrolet Volt by 2010. Toyota is merrily improving their popular Prius, while Honda is promising both a hot-hatch revival with the CR-Z concept and the "family diesel" in the 2009 Accord. Ford, on the other hand, is taking an entirely different approach, trying to make the adage "More From Less" apply to high-powered SUVs and sedans.

At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, Ford was showcased a new family of four and six-cylinder engines, dubbed "EcoBoost" to highlight their improved fuel economy. While the words "new engine technology" were thrown around fairly often to describe the EcoBoost line, the cornerstone technologies behind the engines -- direct injection and turbocharging -- should be immediately familiar to anyone who's followed automotive powertrain development in recent years. As the name suggests, Ford is trying to give small, high-boost engines a market beyond the current demographic of performance junkies -- but they need to get their foot in the door somehow.

The first vehicle to receive an “EcoBoosting” will be the upcoming 2009 Lincoln MKS. Shown in 2007 as the "MKR Concept," the MKS will feature a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 said to produce approximately 340 horsepower, and 340 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 and 5,000 RPM. Those hoping for a four-door, rear-drive performance sedan will be disappointed to discover the transverse mounting of the engine, and the associated choices of FWD or AWD; however, the possibility of such a vehicle hasn't been entirely ruled out.

Returning to the economical side of the impeller, Ford also featured a 2.0L turbo four, claiming an impressive 275hp and 280lb-ft. While such an engine would seem a perfect fit for a sport compact, Ford had bigger ambitions for the "little engine that could" -- announcing that it would be the base engine for the Ford Explorer America concept.

Ford's VP of product development, Derrick Kuzak, had high hopes for the technology, praising its low initial cost in comparison to other engine designs. "Compared with the current cost of diesel and hybrid technologies, customers in North America can expect to recoup their initial investment in a 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine through fuel savings in approximately 30 months." That's not to say that hybrids and diesels will be abandoned -- some light-duty Fords will be receiving these options as well.

Strangely, no mention of an EcoBoost engine was made for the Mustang -- perhaps Ford still has some of the hundreds of thousands of letters they received the last time they suggested a replacement.

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RE: About time...
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 4:46:51 PM , Rating: 3
Because they don't want to learn about things outside their little words.

Eye Smite's arrogance reigns supreme again.

Could be, perhaps, that it wouldn't make sense for a nation that adds roughly 25 square feet to the size of the average home per year over the last 40 years to suddenly want tiny, light weight European cars which were designed to travel through European cities smaller roads?

I also don't see the tiny little Mini Cooper outpacing larger cars, like the Camry, very often, and if there were demand for tiny cars they might get made, such as GM's failed Geo brand.

Direct from Wiki:
"Recent years have seen fading consumer interest in the economy compact market, and the last vehicle of the former Geo line, the Tracker, was discontinued in 2004."

American's know what the price of gas is at the pump, they're aware it's possible that it'll continue to sky rocket, and still are quite obviously willing not just to drive from their suburban home but to buy nice, roomy vehicles.

Individualism, by the way, was basically the very founding principle of the nation. Did you miss that part, or did a liberal government school teacher omit that?

RE: About time...
By Boushh on 1/7/2008 5:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
I also don't see the tiny little Mini Cooper outpacing larger cars, like the Camry, very often

You do watch to many movies. Like Lethal Weapon 2 where a BMW 630Csi is unable to outpace a Suburban Towncar (infact: it is not even able to outrun Riggs,, ON FOOT !!!)

The Mini is a small light car, so it doesn't need much to outpace your big american cars. It's small 1.6 V4 Trubo charged engine outputs 175hp, and does 0-60 in 7.1 seconds with a top of 141. I'm unable to find any relevant informations about the Camry 3.5 V6 (besides that it outputs 268hp). But I did find the Chrysler 300C 3.5 V6. Which outputs 249hp, does 0-60 in 9.5 seconds and has a top of 137 (both are european models). But where European cars really excel is on cornering. Also: europeans cars are generaly more fuel efficient than american cars because fuel is much more expensive.

I do however acknowledge that the american taste of cars is quite different from the european taste and that this has a lot (if not all) to do with America being a big country with very long and wide roads, while Europe is a continent with many small countries with short and small roads. Thus the average distance travelled in Europe is much smaller than in America.

RE: About time...
By d4a2n0k on 1/7/2008 5:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have an '07 Camry V6 and while it will smoke the mini in a straight line, when the first corner comes its over for the Camry. :) The magazines that tested the Camry ranged from 5.9 - 6.3 for the 0-60 and a 1/4 mile in the high 14's. It really is a rocket mostly because of the 6 speed auto transmission. Its always in the right gear and has a really short first gear so gets off the line very well. It is faster 0-60 than the BMW 330 and the Acura TL. All that and I still get about 30 MPG on 87 octane!

The 300C is a whale and is pretty useless unless you get the Hemi.

RE: About time...
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 6:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't mean outpace as in speed, I meant outpace in terms of sales -- my entire post was about supply & demand, not necessarily specifications.

RE: About time...
By Spuke on 1/8/2008 12:23:53 AM , Rating: 2
Sales? The Camry has been the best selling car for quite a number of years. And sales are up over 2006. The Mini is not even in the top 10 in sales in the US anyways.

RE: About time...
By Chris Peredun on 1/7/2008 7:09:15 PM , Rating: 1
It's small 1.6 V4

The Mini Cooper has an inline four-cylinder.

Trubo charged engine outputs 175hp, and does 0-60 in 7.1 seconds with a top of 141. I'm unable to find any relevant informations about the Camry 3.5 V6 (besides that it outputs 268hp).

2007 Toyota Camry V6
0-60: 5.8 seconds
1/4 time: 14.3 @ 99mph
Top speed: 145mph (governor limited)

But where European cars really excel is on cornering.

Personally, I don't consider hyper-twitchy, suspension-unloading go-karts with intrusive stability control to "excel" in anything other than annoying me.


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