Engine downsizing trend exists in many segments from sedans to trucks. However, you do not have to compromise on power and performance in the name of better efficiency. Turbocharging comes to the rescue. Take this 2015 Ford Fusion as an example. It’s powered by a 1.5L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at a relatively high 4,320 rpm. The power is sent to the front wheels via a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission.
The power delivery is relatively smooth. There is not much turbo lag, but you can tell that the little engine is working hard when you require brisk acceleration. After all, it has to move a mid-size sedan that itself weighs around 3,400 pounds. It gets the job done and is able to deliver quiet and efficient highway cruising. The estimates are 24 MPG city and 36 MPG on the highway. However, you can squeeze out an extra mile for every gallon if you order the optional automatic start-stop feature. It shuts the engine off when you come to a complete stop.
Is the 1.5L EcoBoost worth getting over the naturally aspirated 2.5L Duratec base engine? The little turbo is only available on the middle SE trim level and it is a $795 option. The Fusion SE with the 1.5L starts at $24,340 before destination charges or any discounts. The base 2.5L is rated at 22 MPG city and 34 MPG on the highway, so the engine option does give you a two MPG advantage.
In the end, I would recommend the 1.5L EcoBoost as it provides a bit of extra fun and is able to deliver good real-world economy numbers (if you take it easy on the right pedal).
Ford is working on additional use of light-weight materials, so expect engine downsizing and improved efficiency to continue. If you want to compare a competing sedan with a small turbocharged engine – take a look at the 2015 Hyundai Sonata 1.6L Eco.
Check out this video where Nathan Adlen takes the Fusion 1.5L to the test track to find out how quickly it accelerates 0-60 MPH. It’s actually very peppy and this is at high altitude.