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Ford's Start Concept, the showcase for the company's upcoming three-cylinder EcoBoost engine
New EcoBoost engine is expected to replace Ford's naturally aspirated 1.6-liter inline-4 engine

When we've talked about Ford's EcoBoost turbocharged engines in the past, it pertained to four-cylinder and six cylinder engines. Ford claims that its four-cylinder EcoBoost engines give the power and performance of a six-cylinder, while the six-cylinder EcoBoost engines give the power and performance of an eight-cylinder engine.

So we're assuming that Ford's new three-cylinder EcoBoost will give the performance of a small four-cylinder engine. The new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine is expected to have CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km -- it is also said to generate around 120 hp.

According to Ford, the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine would be a prime candidate to replace the naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the upcoming Fiesta. The 1.6-liter engine in the Fiesta generates 119 hp and delivers fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

The numbers generated by the 1.6-liter engine are already quite good compared to its competition, but with the added cost and complexity of using turbocharging technology, we'd hope that the EcoBoost three-cylinder would be able to net at least another 5+ mpg in both the city and on highway.

“Ford engineers have experimented with the idea of a three-cylinder engine for the past twenty years, but felt the power that could be achieved from such an engine configuration couldn't be made substantial enough to offer a practical solution for smaller vehicles,” said Ford in a press release. “That's all changed with the advanced yet affordable Ford EcoBoost technology.”

While the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is the main news here, the engine is featured with a futuristic design study from Ford: the Start Concept. The Start Concept is merely a design exercise and has no chance of seeing future production.

"As a team, we engaged in a philosophical discussion that yielded a common vision. To create a beautiful object that spoke to us emotionally as well as intellectually", explains Freeman Thomas, design director. "The exterior design is simple with purposeful proportions and refined surface language normally found on vehicles in premium segments."

The exterior of the Start Concept is definitely interesting, but hopefully this design language won't filter down to future Ford vehicles.

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By mgilbert on 4/22/2010 1:14:27 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds good, but how about a 4 cylinder Diesel hybrid???

And why is it that concept cars never make it production, especially considering how much the public likes them?

RE: Diesel
By Motoman on 4/22/2010 1:32:43 PM , Rating: 5
...because most concept cars are totally impractical for mass production.

RE: Diesel
By mgilbert on 4/22/2010 1:47:18 PM , Rating: 3
I'd think they could at least make a car that looks like a concept car, even if the technology inside and under the hood is the same as what we have today.

RE: Diesel
By mdogs444 on 4/23/2010 8:49:50 AM , Rating: 3
They tried that...Isuzu Vehicross, Toyota MR2 Spyder, Subaru Baja truck, etc.

The physical appearance is obviously to each persons own liking or disliking. But the fact is they just don't sell enough to make them profitable after investing in R&D and producing on a small scale...especially when not attempting to sell at luxury prices.

RE: Diesel
By gregoryvg on 4/23/2010 11:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
I hope they bring the MR2 back someday. I couldn't afford to buy one back in the day, but could probably swing one nowadays.

RE: Diesel
By ksherman on 4/22/2010 1:47:47 PM , Rating: 4
And also many don't comply with NHTSB regulations (such as mirror/headlight/tail light sizes, crash ratings etc.).

RE: Diesel
By porkpie on 4/22/2010 1:58:40 PM , Rating: 5
You think all those voluptuous curves come cheap? The looks of most cars are predetermined by what can be stamped out easily in sheet metal. Also, some concepts have visibility or safety issues with the design.

RE: Diesel
By Phoque on 4/22/2010 6:23:32 PM , Rating: 1
"The looks of most cars are predetermined by what can be stamped out easily in sheet metal".

I doubted what you wrote, but then I concur:

RE: Diesel
By jjmcubed on 4/22/2010 1:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
Diesels are always a premium, as are hybrids. Add the two together and you have great gas mileage at a not so great price.

RE: Diesel
By Blight AC on 4/22/2010 2:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. The Diesel + Hybrid seems like a win. However, the double premium would be rough. You either get a horrible econo-box type car that's no fun to drive, but it's affordable or it would be too expensive to be worth the fuel savings. However, it would probably come with a nice Tax Credit regardless. :D

RE: Diesel
By JediJeb on 4/22/2010 2:12:43 PM , Rating: 3
Better yet a turbocharged 3 cylinder Diesel for the Fiesta.

RE: Diesel
By ImSpartacus on 4/22/2010 2:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Amen, I would totally snag one of those.

RE: Diesel
By YashBudini on 5/14/2010 9:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
The average American will refuse to service such a vehicle properly with synthetic oil at reasonable intervals.

Detroit is trying to get cars to end up on the scrap heap faster so that they can sell more cars.

RE: Diesel
By NullSubroutine on 4/22/2010 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 1
As much as many of us in the US would like to get some of the nice diesels like they have in Europe, but alas, our emission "standards" (led by California) make it impossible.

RE: Diesel
By knutjb on 4/22/2010 7:13:20 PM , Rating: 2
The lack of diesels in the US market have little to do with emissions. It is directly tied to the fuel user market. Trains, airplanes, and semi-trucks consume nearly all of the diesel in the US market. If Diesels were to flood the market fuel costs would skyrocket removing any long term fuel savings.

If it were only emissions the cars would be here.

RE: Diesel
By Alexvrb on 4/22/2010 9:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
Don't count emissions standards out. California (and the Federal government, to a lesser extent) constantly tighten up standards. It doesn't make it impossible, but it is an additional roadblock that turns off many manufacturers.

Sometimes they get around it with lots of diesel R&D, some delay/cancel their diesel efforts (Honda, as an example), others throw urea solutions in the vehicle and call it a day.

RE: Diesel
By porkpie on 4/22/2010 10:38:19 PM , Rating: 3
"The lack of diesels in the US market have little to do with emissions. "

This isn't true at all. Eemission standards are the reason Chrysler killed their popular diesel Jeeps (though they eventually brought some back with an engine redesigned to meet the higher standards), and several other automakers have said the amount of plumbing required to make a diesel meet CA standards makes them impractical for the US market.

Also, you have the economics a bit reversed. Diesel is more expensive than gas in the US because refineries produce less, due to the lower demand, which means it benefits less from economics of scale. In Europe diesel is very popular, and sells for the same or less than gasoline.

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