Americans have never had much love for 3-cylinder engines. Memorable examples like the Geo Metro and the Smart Fortwo come to mind with their less-than-admirable performance anywhere besides the gas pump. However, Ford plans to change America’s perception. Their plan: the 1.0-liter EcoBoost.

Ford plans on offering the little 3-cylinder Stateside starting next year in the 2014 Fiesta. Americans can rest easy knowing the new EcoBoost is a surprising powerhouse. The engine is so well liked in China, India, and Europe that it recently won the Best Engine Under 1.0-liter award given by Engine Technology International Magazine – for the second consecutive year.

Inside a Euro-spec 2012 Ford Focus, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost produces 123 horsepower and a respectable 148 lb-ft. of torque at 6,000 and 1,400 rpm respectively. Mated to a 6-speed transmission, the Focus gets an estimated 32/41 mpg city/hwy as reported by Car & Driver.

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The EcoBoost makes it power by using three main features: Direct injection, variable valve timing, and turbocharging. It also features stop/start technology, a clutched alternator, and a variable-flow oil pump, which work together to reduce parasitic losses and wasted fuel.

Expect the 1.0-liter to become the standard engine in the Focus and Fiesta as Ford promotes the EcoBoost moniker. Perhaps they will win the battle over bad perceptions with this little 3-cylinder and help America leave its memories of the Geo Metro far in the past.

Source: Automotive News