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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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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.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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