Ford Motor Company is moving boldly to smaller conventional and even more EcoBoost engines for its power trains going forward setting the pace with the all new 2013 Escape compact SUV.
The all new 2013 Ford Escape introduced this week to journalists in San Francisco is the most significant statement that Ford has made to date that smaller can and does perform better.
Including the 2013 Escape, Ford now offers seven vehicles with the smallest engines in their specific segments. And, the smaller engines are becoming more often one of the developing line of EcoBoost Technology engines that Ford is bringing to market.
The new 2013 Ford escape offers three engines, all of them four-cylinder having abandoned the previous workhorse 3.0-liter, 240 horsepower V6 and Hybrid power plant options. The 2013 Escape engines are the base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that delivers 168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 170 lb.-ft @ 4,500 rpm of torque plus two of the new EcoBoost engines.
The EcoBoost engines in the new Escape are the 1.6-liter four-cylinder delivering 178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.
All power train combinations for the new Escape use a six-speed select shift automatic transmission in both front wheel (FWD) or FWD/4WD combinations. With same or better power, the fuel economy for the new Escape is up to 5 mpg better than the earlier versions.
My partner, Linda Water Nelson who is the Sport Vehicle Editor of Texas Fish and Game Magazine, drove the new 2013 Escape for a day this week in California, taking it up the 101 from San Francisco to Bodega Bay and then back down California 1 along the coast to San Francisco.
She drove a 2.0-liter EcoBoost equipped model of the Escape and, having driven both the earlier Hybrid and V6 extensively in the past, pronounced the 2013 Escape as the best yet in power train plus design and technology. She noted also that her EcoBoost Escape had a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds which is important to her audience.
When the EcoBoost equipped 2013 Fusion, Escape and 2.0-liter Taurus arrive on dealer lots this spring and summer, Ford will offer an industry-leading seven vehicles with the smallest engines in their segments – more than any competitor.
EcoBoost is available now in displacements of 1.6, 2.0 and 3.5 liters. Ford’s EcoBoost engines have been designed to offer drivers outstanding performance in everything from economy cars to trucks. On average, an EcoBoost engine can improve fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.
The next new EcoBoost engine scheduled for launch in North America, a 1.0-liter three-cylinder coming in 2013, will be Ford’s smallest yet. This compact, innovative engine – which is the same length as the average laptop computer – is rated at 125 horsepower, making it one of the highest output-per-liter regular production engines Ford has ever made.
Most of the Ford vehicles with the smallest engines in their segments – 2013 Escape and 2013 Fusion (1.6 liters); Explorer, Edge and Taurus (2.0 liters); and Interceptor and F-150 (3.5 liters) – deliver the same or greater power than the larger, heavier engines in competitive vehicles, along with higher fuel economy.
This year, Ford Motor Company will offer EcoBoost engines in 12 Ford and Lincoln nameplates. By 2015, the company plans to offer an EcoBoost engine on 90 percent of its North American nameplates.
Reducing weight in vehicles is a key element in improving performance and fuel efficiency in new cars. New stronger and lighter materials including high strength steels, aluminum and composite materials are showing up everywhere in new vehicle designs.
Ford also works on weight reduction through its engines and power train components with the expanded development of the EcoBoost line. In addition to developing more horsepower per liter than the larger engines they are replacing, EcoBoost motors also reduce vehicle weight, which improves handling and braking also helping to increase fuel economy.
The 2013 Escape and Fusion models provide a graphic example of why Ford’s new generation of smaller, lighter and more powerful engines are better. In the 2012 Escape and Fusion, the 3.0-liter V6 engine weighs 340 pounds.
The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that is optional in the 2013 Escape and Fusion weighs just 295 pounds, 45 pounds less than the old 3.0-liter. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine available in both vehicles weighs just 223 pounds.
Since launching EcoBoost in summer 2009, Ford has sold more than 180,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles in North America; making it the most rapidly adopted fuel-saving technology in recent automotive history.
Ford’s EcoBoost lineup outsells all competitors’ diesel, compressed natural gas and battery-electric cars combined. To meet the demand Ford is increasing its global production of EcoBoost engines by 300%.
As we mentioned, trucks are also being powered by EcoBoost. “The F-150 is a great example of how EcoBoost is changing the way customers think of our engines,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering. “Before we launched the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, few people would have believed a V6 was tough enough to get the job done in a full-size truck. The last time a six-cylinder engine outsold a V8 in the F-150 was in the late 1980s.
“But with 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, towing capacity as much as 11,300 pounds and EPA highway fuel economy of 22 mpg, the EcoBoost V6 has quickly become the top-selling engine in the F-150,” said Bakaj. Just over 40 percent of F-150s are sold with an EcoBoost engine, he added.
EcoBoost engine technology in the Ford F-150 has been singled out by a long list of automotive magazines and professional auto journalist organizations as a key element in awarding the F-150 several “Truck of the Year” trophies in the last 12 months – the latest being “Truckin” magazine’s half-ton Truck of the Year.
At next week’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress at Cobo Center in Detroit, Ford executives will be giving presentations that outline Ford Motor Company’s power train strategy going forward.
Stay tuned, Ford will be having a lot more to say about how smaller and lighter is more powerful and fuel efficient for the Ford Brand in coming years.
Jim Nelson is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association