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Engines promise power plus fuel economy

Automotive News reports on new fuel efficient engine development.

Automotive News

Fuel economy has vaulted to the top of consumers' priorities. No surprise there, with a gallon of gasoline selling for more than $4. Also, automakers' fleets must achieve 35 mpg by 2020, under a new federal law.

Here's a look at Ford Motor Co.'s power-train plans, say Ford, supplier and other industry sources.

Gasoline engines: Ford's likely fuel economy star, the Fiesta small car, arrives in 2010. Ford won't disclose the car's engines, but to save fuel, it likely will be offered with two small engines.

Base European versions of the Fiesta are powered by a 1.25-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 47 mpg in combined city and highway driving. But the Fiesta's base U.S. engine likely will be a 1.4-liter four-cylinder that could deliver about 40 mpg.

Ford could go smaller than 1.25 liters in the United States. Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president for global product development, said a 1-liter four-cylinder engine with Ford's EcoBoost system is possible for the Focus after 2012.

EcoBoost combines turbocharging and direct fuel injection to deliver good performance and fuel economy. It is the centerpiece of Ford's plans to make engines smaller and broadly improve fuel efficiency.

Even Ford's Mustang and F-series trucks are likely to be offered with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, sources say.

Until an EcoBoost V-6 arrives in 2010, Ford's flagship F-150 pickup has an all-V-8 strategy.

While Kuzak acknowledged a "re-looking" of the big-V-8 program, he noted that trucks such as the F-series Super Duty will need large V-8s.

Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 will be the workhorse engine in cars and trucks when used with EcoBoost. Direct injection and turbocharging can raise output to between 290 and 390-plus hp.

The restyled and re-engineered 2010 Mustang should launch with carryover 4.0-liter V-6 and 4.6-liter V-8 engines, but Ford is expected to quickly replace them with the 3.5-liter V-6 and a new 5.0-liter V-8.

Diesels: Ford is working on an in-house diesel V-8 for the F-150 pickup truck, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. The 4.4-liter turbodiesel is a close cousin of an existing 3.6-liter European diesel. Last spring, Ford dealers learned that the 4.4-liter engine will deliver more power and torque than Ford's 5.4-liter gasoline V-8 but use 20 percent less fuel.

Ford also is developing a bigger diesel--a 6.7-liter V-8 code-named Scorpion--to power Super Duty trucks and full-sized vans. Ford plans to end ties with diesel supplier International Truck & Engine Corp. around 2010.

Transmissions: This year Ford is introducing two six-speed automatics that boost fuel economy.

A new front-wheel-drive transmission arrives on the 2009 Lincoln MKS sedan and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner crossovers. It is part of a family of six-speeds developed with General Motors. Six-speeds are eventually expected on nearly all the automaker's fwd vehicles.

A new transmission for rear-drive vehicles debuts in the restyled, re-engineered 2009 F-150. It delivers 4 percent to 6 percent better fuel economy.

Kuzak said Ford plans to offer a dual-clutch transmission around 2011 in small and mid-sized cars. The transmission will deliver a 6 percent to 8 percent fuel economy gain.

(Source: Automotive News)