Ford’s 3-cylinder engine comes to U.S. in the new Fiesta this summer image

Ford Motor Co. will offer its award winning small three-cylinder engine for the first time in the United States this summer, when the 2014 Fiesta will hit the market.

According to the Dearborn automaker, in this configuration, the new Fiesta will be among the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle available – expected to deliver more than 40 mpg on the highway.

“Initially, it will be a case of feeling out the market,” said Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain at LMC Automotive, in a telephone interview with The Detroit News.

On Wednesday Ford’s three-cylinder engine was named again, for the second time the International Engine of the Year, an important award where journalists across the globe are voting for the best and intelligent engine.

“This is truly a dynamo of an engine,” says Bob Fascetti, Ford’s director of global engine engineering.

On the new Fiesta, the three-cylinder engine is rated at 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque – three more hp and 36 more lb-ft of torque compared to the standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder variant.

Three-cylinder engines are common in Europe where Ford plans to triple annual production to approximately 480,000 units by 2015, from 141,000 in 2011. Until now, in Europe, in the first quarter the little three-cylinder engine accounted for 24 percent in Fiesta, 30 percent in Focus and over 40 percent in the new B-Max.
However, in the United States, three-cylinder engines are rare, mostly because they are considered underpowered and shaky. At this moment, Smart is the only automaker that offer a three-cylinder vehicle in the United States.