Coming Soon: Three cylinder cars
Propelled by coming new Federal regs for better fuel economy from cars, Ford announced that its Focus model will have a three cylinder engine with a turbo in it. The little 97 kg engine will produce 118 hp with only tres cylinders. The tiny 1.0L engine is no longer than 14", yet creates more horsepower than its current 1.6L 4 cylinder. VW is already selling its, Up, compact car in Germany with a 3-cylinder engine, and BMW has one in development.
There is a real mindset in consumers about a car with only ONLY three cylinders. The last ones sold in the US were in the 90s, the Suzuki Swift and Chevy Metro. The main issue with these little tiny engines is lack of power, which Ford thinks has solved the problem. Maybe.
A car weighing 23-2500 lbs is light and if powered by a 100 hp engine, the car will be a dog when accelerating. Just drive the new Fiat 500C, or a 1991-94 Mercury Capri automatic without a turbo. They all have 100 hp engines. But add another 15 hp, and things are much more powering. Remember the old VWs, their engine was less than 100 hp and remember them chugging up a hill?
The downsizing of cars is mostly because the price of gas hovering around $4 a gallon in the US, yet, consumers still want power. Because gas will more likely go up and not down, Ford and other carmakers are seeing the trend.