The latest trend for car manufacturers is to use a tiny engine with a hefty turbo on it, to keep CO2 emissions down.
The VW family have the 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol turbo engines, and even BMW use a 3.0 litre twin-turbo to replace their 3.5 litre engine.
In fact BMW are the clear winners with this technology, they’ve got a 2.0 diesel that only produces 109 grams of CO2, which means your road tax is £20, but it still does 0-60 in about 7 seconds, which is pretty quick – about the same as a MINI Cooper S.
I’ve driven the Skoda 1.2 turbo in a Roomster, I was quite impressed, nippy enough at low speeds and quick enough on the motorway. It kind of felt like a 1.8 petrol, and did around 40 mpg across a mixture of motorways and country lanes. It’s supposed to do around 50, but it’s hard to hit the manufacturers claimed figures unless you live on the motorway.
Ford’s next addition to this turbo charged frenzy is a three cylinder 1.0 turbo engine, expected to produce a choice of 98 or 123 bhp and return over 55 mpg! These are silly numbers from such a little engine.
The only 3 cylinder engine I’ve driven is the one in the 1.0 Corsa, and I’d describe that one as practically dangerous. It launches you onto the road and then runs out of power, deciding not to accelerate you up to any reasonable speed.
The Skoda engine is better, but that still has problems accelerating when you’re already moving. Without the turbo or the bottom end torque, the Skoda engine struggles to do anything – mid range power is lacking.
So it will be interesting to see how this new Ford engine drives. In the end if you’re getting the 55mpg from it, you wont be going quickly. If you are using 123 horse power your consumption will be rubbish, but maybe it’s all about having then choice… And keeping the manufacturers name “green”.
There’s more about the new Ford engine here: Auto express review