Green is the Theme at the 2012 International Engine of the Year Awards

It seems that the green movement continues to gain momentum, especially when it comes to cars. This is evidenced at the 2012 International Engine of the Year awards where the recent trend has shifted from overall performance, to an emphasis on efficiency and eco-friendly engines. This year was no different, as Ford's minuscule 1.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged three cylinder engine won the International Engine of the Year Award over nominees from the likes of Audi, BMW, and Ferrari.

The award competition is not specifically linked to engine capacity or power, but rather is based on the level of engineering that goes into producing the engine, and how effectively the engine delivers on its capabilities in the real driving world. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine may not provide eye-popping power, but it scores big in terms of efficiency, technology, and by the fact that the engine weighs just 214 pounds and is small enough to fit almost perfectly on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.

The tiny Ford power plant also offers high-tech tidbits like direct injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing for both inlet and exhaust camshafts. Once considered to be rare and exotic items only found in high-performance street or race engines, the technology has now trickled down and is in use by almost all manufacturers to maximize efficiency and power.

With all its technology, the turbocharged 1.0-liter EcoBoost produces 123 horsepower and has an overboost feature that pushes torque to 148 lb-ft. The engine produces the same amount of horsepower as Ford's outgoing 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, while also producing more torque and offering better fuel economy. Ford promises an outstanding combined city and highway fuel economy of 56 mpg from the new EcoBoost unit.

Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost three cylinder engine is currently not available in the U.S., however. For now, it's is only offered in the European market Focus. But according to Car & Driver magazine, Ford is planning on bringing the engine to U.S. soil in the 2014

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