In the wake of the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, automakers flooded the market with a variety of high-mileage powertrains that were, well, less than impressive. That included smoke-belching and rough-riding diesels as well as pint-sized engines, including some 3-cylinder alternatives that could shake the fillings out of your teeth.
The latest European import diesels have begun to reshape the way Americans think about that technology, sales for products like the Volkswagen Passat TDI surging fast. Now, Ford is ready to rewrite the rules on micro-sized engines, with a diminutive 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost scheduled to debut in the subcompact Fiesta line next year.
The package is the latest of four EcoBoost engines Ford has introduced in recent years, a line-up that the company bills as a serious alternative not only to conventional gasoline power but even battery-based hybrids. Motorists have so far taken to the technology, EcoBoost sales soaring in products ranging from the midsize Fusion sedan to the big F-150 pickup. But will the new 3-cylinder offering deliver in the 2014 Ford Fiesta?
To find out, TheDetroitBureau.com took an early flight out to Los Angeles, in advance of the upcoming LA Auto Show, to get a day’s driving behind the wheel of a 2014 Fiesta equipped with the new 1.0-liter engine. Our initial experience was, in a word, “impressive.”