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Three-cylinder Ford Focus is pushed to show off performance potential

Tue, 05 Jun 2012

Ford has plans to bring a three-cylinder EcoBoost engine to its U.S. lineup in a bit more than a year from now, likely in the Fiesta.

But for a car-buying population that thrives on horsepower and 0-to-60-mph times, it might be hard to get excited by a 1.0-liter three-banger.

In a bid to dispel those misgivings, Ford took a trio of Focus hatchbacks with the three-cylinder EcoBoost engine to a track in France and set a handful of speed records--albeit records for small production cars with small engines.

EcoBoost is Ford's marketing name for engines equipped with the combination of direct fuel injection and turbocharging. The 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine went on sale in Europe earlier this year, with output ratings of 122 hp and 98 hp.

The event at the CERAM test track in Mortefontaine, France, racked up 16 world speed records, Ford says. It helped that Ford brought along World Rally Championship driver Jari-Matti Latvala.

Among the speed marks set:

-- Standing start, 1 mile: 79.402 mph

-- Flying start, 1 mile: 108.548 mph

-- Highest average speed over 100 miles: 118.412 mph

-- Highest average speed over 1,000 miles: 103.357 mph.

Ford says the Focus with the 122-hp EcoBoost three-banger runs from 0 to 62 mph in 11.3 seconds, has a top speed of 120 mph and gets 56.5 mpg on the European test cycle (which returns higher numbers than the U.S. test cycle).

By comparison, the last three-cylinder engine offered in the United States--the normally aspirated 1.0-liter unit in the 2000 Chevrolet Metro--was rated at 55 hp.

By Dale Jewett