Europeans are well ahead of Australians in their acceptance of a large car with a small engine. While sales of the first-ever four-cylinder Falcon languish here, the Blue Oval's European division has launched a larger (in fact, almost Falcon-size) Mondeo with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine.
The tiniest engine of the 'Ecoboost' family produces 102kW and 170Nm – or 200Nm on overboost – about the equivalent of a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. The triple gets a lightweight aluminium head, twin-variable valve and cam timing, and a low-inertia twin-scroll single turbocharger to maximise the punch from the half-milkbottle capacity.
It's the headline act of the all-new Mondeo range, which is due here mid next year, but Ford Australia says it is unlikely the turbo-triple will be imported.
However the new Mondeo debuts Ford's next-generation design language, which replaces the 'Kinetic' theme of the outgoing Mondeo, and current Fiesta and Focus. The new design doesn't have a name per se, but is angular and aggressive, with more than a hint of Aston Martin in the front five-point grille.
An updated Fiesta has followed the Mondeo's lead, debuting the new Ford face. The 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine looks like a finer fit for the baby Ford than the full-size Mondeo, but the company hasn’t yet confirmed its inclusion in the range locally. With the imminent release of the VW Up, and Fiat poised to lower prices of its 500 range, Ford would almost certainly be studying the case for the three-cylinder Fiesta.
With Focus soon to follow Fiesta and Mondeo and fall into line with Ford's new design language, it leaves our locally-built Falcon looking particularly exposed. Sales of the large rear-driver are down 27.4 percent YTD, despite the addition of the EcoLPI and Ecoboost variants.