The original Model T that helped elevate Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] among the world's top automakers might have had a four-cylinder engine under the hood, but the automaker has never built a production three—until today, when Ford officially revealed an all-new three-cylinder engine design.
In addition to being Ford's first three-cylinder, the new engine is the smallest one the automaker has ever built.
And this time, the smallest engine in the lineup won't be restricted to overseas; Ford says that the engine will "play an important role in North America," providing the same performance as a four-cylinder engine, but with higher gas mileage.
"Our new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice," said the company's global development chief, Derrick Kuzak, in a release. Kuzak also called the engine "a little dynamo."
The new three, which was designed at Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in the U.K., has an offset crank, which helps fuel economy, and a split-cooling system helps the block warm up before the cylinder head to help save fuel, especially in cold weather. Also, the exhaust manifold is cast right into the cylinder head—a feature that's beginning to appear on a number of new engines, to help save weight and lower the temperature of exhaust gases, as well as help it run with greater smoothness.
Ford's entire EcoBoost technology suite is employed here, meaning that the engine is turbocharged and direct-injected, and it has the automaker's twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) system.
Power and torque figures for the new engine haven't yet been released; neither has the exact product that will be seeing installation of the engine here in the U.S. It's likely the engine will be featured in a special high-mileage version of the Ford Fiesta, but the automaker hasn't ruled out bringing its urban-oriented Ford Ka minicompact—another high-mpg vehicle—to the U.S.