Ford’s 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine: Diminishing displacement with forced induction

Published on January 23rd, 2015

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When you win accolades; you tend to earn bragging rights and that is all fine. However, as great as that achievement may be, until people witness your capabilities themselves; they are all just hearsay and if you’re not careful… you’ll end up looking like a little bit of a spanner.

Manufacturers face exactly two main problems when they want to develop a car – the buyers who seek for performance and design and governed regulations whom will restrict everything against their market base; making sure that their cars are as economical and environmentally friendly.

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Ford’s EcoBoost engine stands as one of the most highly accredited engines ever built, especially in the little 1.0-litre 3 cylinder form. It was first launched in 2012; and since has been applied to almost the whole range of Ford’s car line-up. Whilst the other models may be better equipped and more practical – we reckon the aspect of FUN can be most anticipated in the Fiesta application.

It took almost 2 years for the 1-litre EcoBoost to reach our Malaysian soil – but as always, better late than never; I have been very eager to try out the perky 3-cylinder turbocharged engine. And joy-oh-joy, the Fiesta was the first of the 1-litre EcoBoost iterations to arrive.

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Of course, it being a Fiesta – there weren’t going to be much faults and flaws to be found in the first place. We at Traffic are no strangers to the Ford Fiesta, as our own Head of Creative department and resident Sasquatch drives one, and has been driving it on a daily basis for the past 4 years.

As a little hatch, the Fiesta is one of the most enjoyable drive in its class, being small in size, it gives it an edge in the fun department undoubtedly. The chassis was built so well that Fiestas even goes all the way into the Motorsport scene like Rallycross, with a certain bloke named Block hitting the YouTube world of cars with his Gymkhana exercise.

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The Fiesta has had a few different hearts in Malaysia. Initially with the pre-facelift’s 1.6-litre and then the 1.5-litre in the facelift iteration; both in Duratec form. Yes they were potent engines that sufficed the weight and size of the little hatch, but what these engines didn’t really have was character. Can a Turbo really add character though?

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What nonsense… am I right? Any form of force induction, small or big regardless will add a little drama to a car… especially in a small, light hatchback like the Fiesta.

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The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine comes in two variations – 100 bhp and 125 bhp. Happily, the Malaysian market gets the slightly more powerful version and that means 0-100 kph in a rather respectable 8.2 seconds and as tested, it’ll power up all the way to a top speed of 200 kph. It may be tiny, but it’s no slouch.

But what I particularly like with the engine is it’s mid-range performance. On the go – the tiny 1-litre engine is able to sprint briskly on demand, and for a city car like the Fiesta, it befits the characteristics of what most daily drivers need. Power and torque, as and when it is needed.

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Coupled with that is the Fiesta’s perky and quirky handling. When you want to have a little twisty fun with the EcoBoost, you definitely can. The steering is sharp and relatively precise, whilst the handling is predictable and safe. I like how there is very little body roll for such a comfortable daily driver. In the short span of time I spent with it, the Fiesta will always deliver fun around corners without a squeal.

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And because it is regardless, still bewildering a tiny power plant – the car is also very easy at the pumps too. With promising figures of over 50 mpg, I managed to get about 400-600 kms to the tank.

  • 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder
  • 125bhp and 200nm
  • 0-100km/h – 8.2 seconds
  • Top Speed – 200 km/h (as tested)
  • RM 93,888.00

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The only issue is – the EcoBoost version is a premium iteration over the standard 1.5 Duratec. In fact, it’s a RM10 grand premium… almost. The standard version starts at RM 84k and the EcoBoost sits at the top at a whopping RM 93k. Of course, in the long run you will likely make that difference back (maybe after 70,000 km) but dropping that difference at the purchasing stage may be painful for some.

It’s rivals from Japan are a little bit cheaper too, and also a little more practical. BUT… none of them will be as fun to drive as the EcoBoost. Not even close.

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With such performance figures and on-the-road usability, the EcoBoost engine certainly proves some real world performance. As a first, there may yet to be another 1-litre engine in the world that can be as exciting as this yet – but the time will come for a successor.

This is just Ford’s way of telling the world that your daily driver doesn’t need to sound like a lorry and nor does it have to be a Prius or a Leaf. I highly support the direction of the EcoBoost ideology, and since it works so well, we will be seeing more of these engines locally in due time. Are you as excited as I am?

Words & Photos: Qhalis Najmi

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