2013 Ford Fusion SE EcoBoost

Ford recently made the surprising, yet easily explained move to add a second mid-level turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine to the 2014 Fusion sedan’s engine lineup. The company has revealed the new 1.5-liter engine’s specifications, and as promised, it offers nearly identical output to the other mid-level turbo engine, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost.

For an explanation as to why Ford decided to further crowd the Fusion‘s already-crowded engine order sheet, the answer is twofold: One, Ford is looking to expand in the Chinese market, and the government there offers tax breaks for cars powered by engines that displace 1.5 liters or less. Two, demand for the 1.6-liter EcoBoost–powered Escape has been through the roof. Previously, the Fusion offered buyers a 175-hp, 2.5-liter four; a 178-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost four; and a 240-hp, turbo 2.0-liter EcoBoost four. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost four joins the family paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic driving the front wheels, leaving the (als0 front-drive-only) 1.6-liter to mate only to a six-speed manual—freeing up capacity of the motor for the Escape.

  • Comparison Test: 2013 Ford Fusion vs. Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Passat
  • Prototype Drive: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost
  • Comparison Test: Ford Escape vs. CR-V, Tucson, Sportage, CX-5, RAV4

Ford’s spec sheet for the 1.5-liter lists Craiova, Romania, as its assembly location, as well as tentative output figures of 178 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 177 lb-ft of torque that peaks between 1500 and 4500 rpm. Those numbers nearly mirror the 1.6-liter EcoBoost’s 178 ponies and 184 lb-ft of twist. There are other minor differences, of course, with the 1.5-liter getting a slightly lower compression ratio (10.0:1 compared to the 1.6′s 10.1:1) and a lower oil capacity. It also boasts an oversquare design, with a 3.11-inch bore and a 3.01-inch stroke as opposed to the 1.6-liter’s undersquare 3.11-inch bore and 3.2o-inch stroke; this likely explains why the 1.5-liter’s slightly lower peak torque hits earlier in the rev range.

Fuel-economy data for the 1.5-liter-equipped 2014 Fusion isn’t available yet, but Ford claims the smaller mill will return better efficiency than the 1.6-liter. That means it should be the Fusion’s most efficient gas engine, since the 1.6-liter currently sits at the top of the non-hybrid Fusion efficiency heap with ratings of 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. (The base 2.5-liter four is good for 22/34 and the range-topping 2.0-liter EcoBoost gets 22/33 mpg; all-wheel-drive 2.0-liter models are rated at a slightly lower 22/31.) Pricing, on the other hand, is out, and unsurprisingly the 1.5-liter EcoBoost will set buyers back the same $795 as the 1.6-liter. Also, like its barely larger sibling, it is available only in the Fusion’s mid-level SE trim, and an engine stop-start system is available for $295.

By Alexander Stoklosa

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