Smaller Engines are the New Big Thing

By Ford Social Member

It’s hard to beat the “bigger is better” adage. If you want more horsepower and more torque, the time-honored solution is to build a bigger engine, often at the detriment of fuel economy. For the past five years, however, Ford has been engineering solutions to change that with new engine technology. The new big thing at Ford is decreasing the engine size while increasing both the fuel economy and the horsepower.

The Ford Mustang and Ford F-Series now provide the most dramatic examples of how new, smaller-displacement engines are delivering levels of performance that in the past could only be obtained with much larger engines:
  • The optional 6.8-liter V10 engine in the 2011 F-Series Super Duty is rated at 305 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. F-150’s EcoBoost™ 3.5-liter engine – with about half the displacement – delivers 365 horsepower and the same 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The horsepower per liter of the V10 is 38.125 compared with more than 127 for the 3.5-liter

  • The 2011 Mustang coupe has a 3.7-liter V6 engine rated at 305 horsepower and delivers as much as 31 mpg highway, according to the 2011 EPA Fuel Economy Guide. The 3.7-liter replaced a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 that was EPA-rated at 26 mpg highway. The 2011 Mustang Coupe is the first car in history to have a 300-plus-horsepower engine rated at 30 mpg or more. It also delivers 0-to-60 times of around six seconds

These new engines are part of nine all-new or significantly revamped engines Ford began launching in 2010. And they are helping make the 2011 Ford and Lincoln lineup the most fuel efficient in the company’s 107-year history.

Ford and Lincoln showrooms today are filled with an industry-best dozen vehicles that lead or are among the leaders in their sales segments for fuel economy. Four vehicles carry an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 40 mpg or higher, also best in the industry.

“From Fiesta to Super Duty, Ford has invested a record amount in new engines, transmissions and cutting-edge technologies to meet our commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which we compete,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering. “Though we have made great strides, our work in improving fuel economy is not done and never will be. We have to deliver a fuel economy gain of about 10 percent every three years from now on. Expect further improvements to our EcoBoost system, three-cylinder engines and our Auto Start-Stop system launched now in Europe and soon to be installed in North American vehicles.”

The next smaller but more powerful engines coming from Ford are two new four-cylinder EcoBoost engines already proving popular in Europe. First up is the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder slated for later this year in Edge and the all-new Explorer. Then comes a frugal 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine for the C-MAX multi-activity vehicle.

In the 2010 Explorer, the smallest engine available was a 4.0-liter V6 rated at 210 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. In the all-new Explorer, the 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine will be the smallest engine, yet it delivers 237 horsepower – 27 more than the old engine – and about the same torque, 245 lb.-ft. The 2.0-liter Explorer is projected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy.

“The 2012 Ford Explorer with EcoBoost is going to mark a new era in smaller-displacement SUVs, offering more power than the previous 4.0-liter V6 with a really remarkable improvement in fuel economy,” said Greg Johnson, Manager of North American Power Packs. “Similarly, Edge with EcoBoost and C-MAX with the EcoBoost 1.6 will both serve to redefine customers’ opinions about smaller-displacement engines.”

Although the Ford EcoBoost 2.0-liter is the smallest engine ever offered in Explorer – and the first four-cylinder – drivers likely will not notice the two fewer cylinders.

“It’s got the efficiency of a small gasoline I-4 when cruising,” explains Greg, “because that’s fundamentally what it is. But when you need that extra muscle for passing or accelerating, the turbocharger provides a diesel-like reserve of torque without the drawbacks – like higher weight, slower engine speeds and, at least in the States, higher fuel cost – of a diesel engine.”
Thomas Artman 05/16/2011
Scott S.: that may be true for racing, but for practical every day use, raw displacement is obsolete.
Arthur Rozum 05/06/2011
Bring out the new Explorer with Ecoboost I4 AND AWD and I'll buy it. Offering it only in FWD version just does not cut it.
Scott Spicka 04/22/2011
Ask any professional race engine builder and they will all say there is no replacement for displacement. Enough said.
Jack Watson 03/31/2011
Why doesn't Ford offer Turbo Diesel engines? They get 25-50% more mpg than equivalent gasoline engines and Ford has them in European cars.
Thomas Lee 03/25/2011
Whatever the little things Ford does is a big hit to us !
Blue Oval for the future !
Lorenzo Fábio Grala 03/25/2011
My carbon footprint is bigger than your carbon footprint.
ron 03/24/2011
bring back the 300 straight six ,a straw and wire bench seat ,,granny gear and large back glass with a gun rack please
Frank Vawter 03/24/2011
To those people who are complaining about the smaller engines, as opposed to larger engines, I would suggesting a bit of history. Like the huge, flat headed straight 8s from the 20-30s that made a fraction of the power the new DOHC fuel injected mills do. The amount of power an engine can create is determined by a number of things, displacement is only part of that equation. Kudos to Ford engineers.
Bobby Cashman 03/24/2011
the old saying goes "thank the lord for the big block ford" so why would you wanna change that? i say bigger motor with better fuel economy more horsepower and torque, and bring back the MANUAL 6 SPEED. idk if this is some big secret or not but a manual transmission does infact get better fuel economy and more power... just sayin.
Dennis Murphy 03/24/2011
The 3.5 liter twin-turbo ecoboost has plenty of power in the F-150 - I bought one. It has no problems getting up and getting gone. The ecoboost already puts out so much torque that they had to upgrade the rear axles in the F-150's equipped with the engine - putting an even larger version of the engine into it would be extremely expensive, especially since 365 HP / 420 Lb/ft is far more than enough for anything an F-150 should be doing.
Now...making it bigger and dropping it into the Super Duty - that would be fun.
Emil Martinsek 03/24/2011
in the diesel space, the smaller-is-better has been proven for a while thanks to the low-end grunt hiding the fact that it's small. it seems that we just cannot conceive that a gas powered TDI can be equally beneficial despite the fact that it operates very similarly in some ways but with better overall value. Diesels have the same technical challenges (turbos, expensive injectors) and pollute far more for a much higher price. A 1.6 ecoboost seems like the engine of the future for a Ford Fusion. I expect the 3.5 ecoboost to be a hit in the F-150 over time. And wouldn't be surprised to see a lower displacement engine in there gaining good share (2.7 v6?). What matters is performance and mileage. It's why smaller, thanks to ecoboost, is the new big thing. I just wish it would roll out faster, particularly that 1.0 ecoboost Ford Fiesta.
James Bird 03/24/2011
I love my turbo charged 2.3. I will put her up against just about anything that rolls. She only has 250 HP now, but later after a few more upgrades...look out! Oh and for you V8 boys, look up a guy named Jon Huber in Missouri. Under 9 second 2.3 turbo.
Erik Swensen 03/24/2011
its cool that Ford can make nice power and torque numbers with good fuel mileage, but i'd like to see the Ranger make a major comeback with these new motors. Get rid of the 2.3 and 4.0 and put in an 2.5, 2.0 Ecoboost, 3.5, and for a high performance model, a 3.5 Ecoboost, all w/ 6spd auto or manual. The Ranger would be the best all around truck ever, power, torque, fuel mileage, performance. And I think Ford needs to stroke the 6.2, make it aluminum for weight savings, and make a Boss 429 Mustang!
Jerome Pulham 03/24/2011
Bring back the XR8
Garrett Radley 03/24/2011
The 3.5 Ecoboost is a great engine, lots of power and good gas mileage, but they need to have the same setup for the 5.0. If they do, it will be fast as hell in the mustang and give lots of power and torque for the f-150.
Anthony Boudreau 03/24/2011
You guys need to check out the all new Ecoboost. It is impressive! 365hp and 420ft-lb torque. Its responsive and the gas mileage is better than the 5.4. I wasn't sure about it until I got behind the wheel. Give it a try then post your comments.
Anthony Boudreau 03/24/2011
Brian if the gas mileage is the one thing swaying you to keep your jeep over the Raptor then you have no idea what the Raptor is all about. Jeep offers nothing even remotely close to the Raptor. Drive any Ford and you will see the difference in quality over the Jeep.
Ryan Smith 03/24/2011
very happy with new fords designs that are totally stunning and engienes that are more fuel efficient but, 1986 f250 HD with a 460 got to love it
JK 03/24/2011
I agree, why not produce an Ecoboost 5.4L for the F150?? Or produce an Ecoboost 3.5L for the Explorer?? Also, produce the Explorer with a true 4x4 (with 2wd on the 4x4 selection) not just automatic 4x4!!
Robert Wallace 03/24/2011
joe dang 03/24/2011
how many Trucks, Cars and SUV/Crossover are rated overall 5 Stars form
Dale Herring 03/24/2011
6 speed and turbo gets it done.
Matt Savage 03/24/2011
Smaller engine + more HP/TQ = lightger truck that can haul more and get bettet fuel economy.

The more power the better mileage because the engine works less to prol the truck. Im sure ford did their homework.

But seriously bring back the 7.3's they were the best diesel out, right next to cummins. And the 351 series and 302 sb.

Atleast make thsm options.
Homer Wagner 03/24/2011
Everyone seems to forget about the TurboCoupes Ford built until 1988,just to replace it in 89 with the supercoupes which worked well but were plaqued with problems. I for one enjoy my turbocoupe which has 195,000 miles on the original engine. I've ran 18psi of boost through it and never blew the head gasket all with the original Turbo.
Gregg Potts 03/24/2011
the new F150 Ecoboost is very impressive!
Homer Wagner 03/24/2011
You what would be fun stuff a twin Turbocharged 5.0 into the mustang or a V6 diesel engine. But that would never happen cause it would take sales away from the Gt500
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
The Terminator motor, Eagle rods & crank topped with a Kenny Bell twin screw, 323gears & still get 18mph on the trips to Tenn.,
Christopher Cobos 03/24/2011
And I work at the #1 Ford dealership in Texas, so I do know what im talking about. I've experienced and worked on quite a few of these vehicles. And there will always be some big engines around because there will always be demand for it.
Tony Ludwig 03/24/2011
Another vote for a smaller diesel to put in the F150. Bringing over the diesel Ranger would be nice too.
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
Big motors will go the way of the dinosaurs, you'll see
Christopher Cobos 03/24/2011
5.0 is already back. Granted, the Ecoboost is an awesome engine, but trucks need power. That's why the are tr workhorses. Personally, id prefer a bigger engine over fuel economy. Also, a diesel in a mustang is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. Maybe the 6.2 in the mustang, but let's face it, emissions is a m.f. that's why im all for the new Boss 302. Its got lots of hp and tq, can be a daily driver/weekend racer, and most important of all, it all motor.
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
And then people just freak out, who cares about lining them up with this and that, frankly I could care less, oh ya and what's in your 03 cobra? Right a massive v8, it better destroy my car or it should anyways probably paid 6 time the amount
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
@jesse, yes it is amazin what those motors r doin, spring is here & I've got a itch to, ive got 680 at the wheels & wanna tear up some tires
Kevin Harper 03/24/2011
Now just to get a stick shift...
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
The tech has been out there for so long, I don't understand how the "big" auto manufactures are just catching on
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
Ill let my 16yr old daughter drive, only tryin to b fair
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
I realize that, but im not trying to have a pissing match here, im just saying, I also know a guy that has an Audi TT that has 600 all wheel hp. Out off a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder...turbo's are just so much better at pulling potential from an engine
Nathan Vineyard 03/24/2011
Its simple...I love Ford
Keith Schlecht 03/24/2011
For those of you who are concerned with the longevity of a small engine with lots of power and boost like the 3.5 I strongly advise you to watch the Ecoboost torture test on the ford website. They already made a video to prove to all the skeptics what its capable of. Oh and Chevy guy bragging about your 427... small engines can make torque, not that you would know that beings your a Chevy guy. 420 ft lbs out of that 3.5 v6, probably more ft lbs than 80 percent of Chevy v8's. I would have one by now if I had the heart to trade in my 2003 7.3
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
@jesse...ill run vw with my 03 Cobra, might as well bring ur dad along to run as well. Lets line'm up!
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
jesse.... see above. there no motor in a vette, at least a new one. its just a hunk of iron. my 95 GT beat a Z06, and it just has punched cats, nothing else!
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
Every North American company will benefit from fords ecoboost design, glad to see someone finally saw the light and started using forced induction in North American vehicles, leave it to ford ;)
Jesse Harkema 03/24/2011
USA is so far behind on car tech its dumb, you also notice the new focus rs has a Volvo engine...ya so IDK turboing and supercharging are the future of fuel efficient and powerful car, my built 1.9 vw engine, from 1990 walks on my dads corvette
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
I will not put my daughter behind the wheel of a small gas sippin car! Dealth traps!!! My old '03 F250 will do just fine as soon as I finish the Kenny Bell supercharger. Oh yea! It rides on 44's
Scott Smith 03/24/2011
7.3...come on people. Test drive a 2011 Superduty. BETTER IN EVERY SINGLE ASPECT, PERIOD.
George Stom 03/24/2011
no need for compensation small engines are the new big thing!!
Jan Simnacher 03/24/2011
Still sore at Ford for discontinuing the Ranger with no replacement. Some of us older folks want a truck but don't want to have to get a step stool to get into it or use the bed. We currently have two Rangers - if Ford doesn't come up with a small truck option when those quit - we will be forced to buy from the competition
Ben Boshaw 03/24/2011
To bad your almost 30 years behind on this type of tech. oh no that's right you did have this... IN EUROPE!!!! MkIII cosworth escort and focus RS FTMFW!!!! Your doing better but quit half assing it and give us the awd fiesta and focus now!!!! Idk how many people say they'd buy one instead of a subaru if it were only awd.
Jimmy Melanson 03/24/2011
@ Kevin I hear that screw rat motors it's all about the blue oval
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
@Brandon Chevy makes motors? thought they just made hunks of iron that look pretty under the hood...
Larry Strong 03/24/2011
Goodbye to are big American cars that guzzle so much fuel ($$$)
Dustin Hitz 03/24/2011
Ford, if you put an Auto Start-Stop system in a truck, expect to lose my business forever. I mean FOREVER.
Jimmy Melanson 03/24/2011
I hear that Kevin how bout a ridiculous 1000 horse concept that flatlines the heartbeat
Addison Harlem Towing 03/24/2011
The 2011 V10 in the F series F450/F550 is rated at 362HP & 457TQ. The low power V10 Ford referred to here is only available in the F series stripped chassis (think motorhome), not a true F series truck. The Ecoboost 3.5 is still very impressive. Now build an Ecoboost V8 that is more fuel efficient than the current V10 in the F550 and I will be in line to get one. Until then, I'll keep my 09 & 11 F550 3 valve V10's.
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
And for naysayers on boost... ever heard of forged internals? A bit more expensive, but there's a reason were starting to see 1000 hp daily drivers.
Tina Hamilton Comer 03/24/2011
I have a 7.3 diesel and the 6.0 and I, like the tool man, need more power! Arh Arh Arh! Size matters! No sissy stuff
Mike Nelson 03/24/2011
Give us half ton diesels, and bring over the diesel engine for the ranger. I have considered a diesel swap for my 98, but everything I find that is domestic (Cummins) is too heavy to be viable! Also, ecoboost FTW, turbo GDI technology is here to stay.
Brandon Gomm 03/24/2011
no offense zac hoofbeats are louder than heartbeats no one cares about chevy motors in here
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
@ darrel... have you seen any ford new lately? The 302 has BEEN back.
Jimmy Melanson 03/24/2011
New lightning please bring something out like the 05 body style concept low mean stance dual hood scoops side exit exhaust and lots of power adders yes please
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
also,@ don.... tell your kids to stop playing on the highway, maybe they should just stay inside and lick windows.
Zac Russell 03/24/2011
I'll take my 7.0L LS7 over a 4.6-5.0 anyday...They forget to mention the NO TORQUE production of the smaller motors.
Kevin Weidrick 03/24/2011
No replacement for displacement is NOT true. The coyote five liter would actually outperform the 5.4 in a apples-to apples comparison. Shorter stroke, higher revs, boost, cooling, and water/meth, nitro/meth and straight nitrous oxide can all benefit a short stroke motor more than long. Hence why the ecoboosts are so badass.
Patrick Hapeman 03/24/2011
the intercooler for the turbo is in a shakey place!!!
David Meinen 03/24/2011
Now that they brought back the 302, they need to bring back the 460! It would be interesting to see what they could do with a big block.
Brandon Gomm 03/24/2011
i dont know i say an old 5.0 stroked to a 347 with a nasty cam and supercharged would tear up anything on the road right now
Dean Mustang-Matters Hillestad 03/24/2011
More power and more miles per gallon per inch: that's talking!! Makes more sense than electric.
Use coal and natural gas to make our electricity and hear our homes.
Drill here drill now, tell the countries that don't like us to stick it
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
The new 5.0 is awsome but.....puttin a 6.2 into a Mustang would b heaven!!!!
Lj Alonzo 03/24/2011
Got 118, 123 milrs on my lightning STOCK bottom end 6lb pulley and custom tune still going strong

Ford motors are meant for boost

Tge new ecoboost with a tune and tge boost turned all the way up to 17psi will put out another 50hp
Brendan Elliott 03/24/2011
i wish they would bring back the boss that was a big engine
Brandon Gomm 03/24/2011
indeed windsor was the best motor ford ever did away with they were awesome to work on and you could make stupid power and not worry about the block giving out
Hans Freisheim 03/24/2011
But as you put turbos and superchargers on the engines they are goin ta run into problems in the future bigger problems than an engine by itself. The engine will wear out a lot quicker and will be no good
Darrel Windham 03/24/2011
Agreed bring back the windsor. 351 and the 302.
Amanda Bonesy Boyle 03/24/2011
It would be great to get a hybrid. Work on the price. K?thx
Don Bond 03/24/2011
Why don't you try producing a car that is safe and won't let the drive pull stunts that Kill innocent kids.Take away the Honesty Bar, We call a driver's licenses, too many steal from it and that's why our Kids die.
George Mitchell 03/24/2011
Go FORD !!!!
Lj Alonzo 03/24/2011
No ford needs to make another lightning who cares about mpg i don't!!

Make that thing cam hard! With a 2.3 whipple
Patrick Rutherford 03/24/2011
Smaller engine in full size tricks= retarded!!!
Tommy Tuurbo Buck 03/24/2011
I also love my 7.3L. But diesel engine options are getting ridiculous in price.
Craig Petty 03/24/2011
Ford should have done this years ago.
Darrel Windham 03/24/2011
To me turbo charging a small gas engine is a bad ideal...they tried that in the 80s and it was a total failure. I think turbo diesels are they way to go.
Jim Ludovico 03/24/2011
Brandon, a 7.3 in a mustang would be insane and I would want one lol.
Derek Whitaker 03/24/2011
So when I drove to Wash DC in my 2011 Mustang, I was averaging 33 MPG
Marty Hale 03/24/2011
I've bought a new powerstroke 4x4 every year for 12 years until last year i bought a gas 6.0 v8. and I just took a chance and bought the new 3.5 v6 Ecoboost and it has more hp and torque with better fuel economy than my 6.0 v8 2010. Ford has taken their diesel turbo technology and engineered it for a gas engine. I love it!
James Hayes 03/24/2011
Wished we had more diesel options, that's where the mileage is and decent power.
Vince Gallo 03/24/2011
Sorry, as much as I love the new Fords, I would never buy a truck from them if they began putting the 2 liter turbo in their trucks... not sure if they have plans to do so or not.
Brian Der-Stepanian 03/24/2011
i want a Raptor sooo bad, but the mpg is terrible. improve on that and you just won over a jeep guy to the blue oval!
Brandon Gomm 03/24/2011
put a 7.3 turbo diesel in a mustang and see how many people want it that would be a fun toy
Bay City Motors 03/24/2011
People are starting to catch on. We see it on our lot!!
Jay Marking 03/24/2011
We still want our Rangers!!!
Paul Potvin 03/24/2011
It makes me sad that the panther chassis was never offered with the 5.4 as an OEM...
Sebastian Soliz 03/24/2011
Chevy volt
Larry Martin 03/24/2011
Listen to Matt!!!!! We need a "BOSS"
David A. Ufer 03/24/2011
lol, 6.2 liter in a Mustang. that would be awesome!
Darrel Windham 03/24/2011
No replacement for displacement. Just making the little motor work harder.
Joe Stratton 03/24/2011
My 7.3L diesel is better!!! Like if you agree!!!
Matthew French 03/24/2011
some people still like big ones! don't forget out us please! 6.2 liter needs to be in a mustang now. mach 1???
Sam Johnson 03/24/2011
Smaller engines are NOT the new big thing, don't trick yourself!
Smaller Engines are the New Big Thing
Related articles