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Dyno: Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-Cylinder Proves Less is Better

Ford Fiesta’s come standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, but an optional 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine was available starting from the 2014 model year if you checked off the $995 option. But, both motors deliver similar amounts of power so why should you spend the extra grand?

fiesta-sfe

To find out, I took a 2014 Fiesta SFE to Drift-Office in Auburn, Wash. to use its vehicle dynamometer (dyno) to highlight the intricate details of the tiny blown mill.

Engine specs

Fiesta Fiesta SFEFiesta ST
Engine1.6-liter I41.0-liter Turbo I31.6-liter Turbo I4
Horsepower120hp @ 6,350 RPM123 hp @ 6,000 RPM197 hp @ 6,350 RPM
Torque112 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 RPM125 lb.-ft. @ 2,500 RPM202 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 RPM

The $995 option only nets you an extra 3 hp and 13 ft.-lb of peak power, which doesn’t seem worth it, on paper. However, the power band reveals the benefits of turbocharging – instant torque and a power band that mimics the sportier Fiesta ST, albeit with less power.

Disclaimer: Dyno numbers are lower than manufacture ratings because its taken at the wheels. Manufactures rate power output at the crank.

Disclaimer: Dyno numbers are lower than manufacture ratings because its taken at the wheels. Manufactures rate power output at the crank.

I was only able to test the Fiesta SFE and ST on the dyno. A regular 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder wasn’t available, unfortunately.

Despite Ford’s rating of peak power at 2,500 RPM, the three-cylinder EcoBoost reaches peak torque at around 2,200 RPM and holds steady until red line for a flat torque curve. A typical naturally aspirated motor generates torque in a linear upward manner that gradually increases the higher the engine revs, which is similar to the horsepower line on the graph.

So with the Ecoboost 3-cylinder, you aren’t just gaining 13 lb.-ft. of torque, but also reaching peak torque in half the revs. High horsepower looks great on paper, but torque is what gets the car going. In city traffic, the Ecoboost three-cylinder’s low-end torque makes the Fiesta a lot peppier when you mash the gas pedal.

Final thoughts

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder piqued my interest because I’m a big fan of low-end torque. The Fiesta SFE is a joy to drive and I only wish it was available with the ST suspension for a thrilling yet fuel-efficient solution. Plus the 31, 43 and 36 mpg in the city, highway and combined is a healthy boost from the 28, 36 and 31 mpg of the regular 1.6-liter so you get more MPG and smiles-per-gallon.

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Published on: October 17, 2016

Filled Under: Dyno, Featured, Test Miles Exclusive

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