Mournful Glances: Carryover 2018 Ford Fiesta Loses the $995 Three-cylinder EcoBoost Engine Option

At TTAC, we’re big fans of Ford’s 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. In the right application — the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta — the EcoBoost triple is a happy revver, a fuel miser, a torque manufacturer, a smooth operator.

In fact, we’re such big fans of the EcoBoost three-cylinder that our editor-at-large bought and paid for a Fiesta 1.0 EB long-termer with his own money. That’s a strong recommendation. Recommendations don’t come any stronger than that.

With the existing, aged, increasingly antiquated Mexico-built Ford Fiesta continuing as a 2018 model year subcompact whilst much of the world benefits from the launch of a new generation of Fiestas, Ford is trimming the Fiesta lineup. The standard 1.6-liter four-cylinder persists; the Fiesta ST forges on.

But the Ford Fiesta’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder is signing off.

CarsDirect quotes Ford spokesperson Dan Jones as saying the decision to axe the 1.0-liter was “based on customer demand.” Presumably, offering the 1.0-liter triple exclusively as a $995 engine option with a five-speed manual transmission in one trim level had a, shall we say, limiting effect on U.S. demand.

Ford never released specific sales results for the EcoBoost Fiesta, but early on the company was pleased when the engine accounted for roughly the same percentage of Fiesta output as the ST: roughly 4 to 8 percent. A particularly high percentage of the cars were sold in California.

Yet as time wore on, 4 or even 8 percent of Fiesta volume represented a mere monthly trickle. U.S. Fiesta sales peaked at 71,073 units in 2013, but Ford is on track to sell fewer than 46,000 Fiestas in 2017. Based on the ratio Ford achieved early on in its tenure, that could be fewer than 2,000 Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoosts over the course of a calendar year.

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost lives on in the U.S. market, however. In the 2018 Ford Focus, the 1.0-liter triple is still the standard engine on the SE trim. In the 2018 Ford Ecosport, meanwhile, the 1.0-liter is the base engine and the sole engine for front-wheel-drive models.

Through the first eight months of 2017, the Fiesta is America’s fifth-best-selling subcompact car, claiming only 13 percent of a fast-shrinking subcompact category that apparently holds no future for the new Fiesta. The loss of the Fiesta’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost heading into the model’s eighth model year now means Fiesta fuel economy maxes out at 37 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris iA top out at 40 mpg highway. 2017’s Ford Fiesta SFE, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder model, was rated at 35 mpg city; 41 highway.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.


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