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Ford’s Push for Greener Cars Rolls On

  • Ford unveils new 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder Taurus: 32 mpg highway
  • New 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine likely to make debut in Focus
  • Upcoming C-Max Hybrid to get 47 mpg

Ford’s Power of Choice slogan seems to be resonating with consumers. Not only does it accurately describe how people want to approach their cars and the modern car buying experience, but in Ford’s case it isn’t even hyperbole. The company offers consumers an incredible array of options when it comes to drivetrains and technology, and the list keeps getting longer.

At an event dedicated mostly to exploring this diversity, Ford provided a chance to journalists to try out the newest fuel-saving tech and hear a bit more about the technologies coming down the pipe.

2013 Ford Taurus: 2.0-Liter EcoBoost

The newest EcoBoost-powered vehicle is the 2013 Ford Taurus with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Getting behind the wheel, we were expecting to find a slightly underpowered car that people would have to accept as a compromise in the quest for better fuel economy. What we found had us singing the praises of engine downsizing combined with turbocharging, the two hallmarks of Ford’s EcoBoost technology.

At the time of our full review of the 2013 Taurus a few months ago, the 2.0-liter engine wasn’t yet available, but after our short test drive of the 2.0-liter Taurus we see that it’s clearly more than capable as a daily driver. The 2.0-liter engine successfully delivers the expected performance and driving feel of a full-size sedan while eking out a very good 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those numbers place it at the top of the full-size sedan category and are better than even those for the diesel-powered Mercedes E350 Bluetec.

Certainly if you’re looking for a car that can get you there as fast as possible, the 2.0-liter Taurus with EcoBoost won’t be nearly as fun as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost on the Taurus SHO, but for most every other driving circumstance it will satisfy. There was no word on pricing of the optional 2.0-liter engine available at the event.

Coming Soon: 1.0-liter, 3-Cylinder EcoBoost

Ford is taking the engine downsizing theme to entirely new heights with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It’s already available on vehicles in Europe, so we tried a Euro-spec Focus equipped with the technology on Ford’s test track. Although it exhibited significant turbo lag, it was surprisingly a hoot to drive. It neither behaved nor sounded like 3-cylinder engines of old (1995 Geo Metro, we’re looking at you), and in fact it even felt a bit lighter of foot than the already well balanced base Focus.

Ford says that the 1.0-liter engine will show up on an unnamed small car in the U.S. sometime next year. Given that Ford really only makes two small cars for the U.S., and only one is sold in volumes large enough justify adding another engine option, we expect the Focus to be the car to get the treatment here. No word on official EPA fuel economy ratings, but in Europe the Focus with the same engine returns more than 56 mpg.

40-Plus Highway MPG from 8 Fords

By the end of 2012, Ford will have eight vehicles on sale that offer 40 mpg or more on the highway. Among them are the all-new Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids, which Ford predicts will both return 47 mpg on the highway; the Focus Electric and the Transit Connect Electric, which are both fully battery-powered vehicles and the Fiesta and Focus with special high fuel economy packages. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid and the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid round out the list of eight; both are expected to return more than 45 mpg on the highway.

What it means to you: If you seek a brand with an incredible diversity of drivetrain options to suit virtually every need and lifestyle while delivering great fuel economy, Ford is a good place to look.

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