by Patrick Rall
In the early days of the sport utility vehicle, a 4-cylinder engine would have been a bare minimum, base model engine that might offer the best fuel economy of the lineup, but it would suffer badly in the area of performance. However, with the introduction of Ford’s new 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder in the 2012 Edge and Explorer, this mighty little engine uses Ford’s popular forced induction technology to make it a great engine, packing 240 horsepower and 270lb-ft of torque. These numbers make it the torqueiest and most fuel efficient engine in the lineup for both the mid-sized and large SUV with this new engine being priced as the premium engine option.
The new 2.0L EcoBoost in the 2012 Edge and Explorer is only available with a front wheel drive configuration, but this tiny engine packs plenty of punch to get these two SUVs moving. In the full sized Explorer, the output of the EcoBoost 2.0L is more than enough to keep up with traffic without feeling like the engine is being overworked. The 4-cylinder EcoBoost offers more torque than the 3.5L V6 found in the 2011 Ford Explorer and it provides plenty of grunt to get the big ute moving.
On the other hand, the FWD Ford Edge is a bit lighter than the Explorer, and in that mid-sized SUV, the 2.0L EcoBoost packs enough punch to give the tires a good hard spin ““ even from a roll. That 240hp and 270lb-ft of torque are enough to make the Edge quite a bit of fun to drive ““ while offering 30 miles per gallon on the highway and room for 5 adults. For those who don’t need 4WD and aren’t going to be doing any towing, the 4-cylinder EcoBoost option can allow SUV owners unprecedented fuel economy in a pair of great new sport utes.
There are rumors that Ford is working on a more powerful EcoBoost 4-cylinder for the Ford Mustang, possibly measuring 2.3L and offering 300+ horsepower. In the past many of the engines offered in the Mustang found their way into the F150 lineup, so in the absence of the Ford Ranger, the F150 could get a smaller engine for entry level buyers. Perhaps we could see an F150 with a similar (but more powerful) 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine that would offer plenty of power.
The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 offered as a premium engine option in the 2011 Ford
F150 is a fantastic engine, offering all of the capabilities of their
competitors trucks with V8 engines ““ while also featuring better fuel
economy to the V8-powered half ton trucks on the market. Unlike the 3.5L EcoBoost that focuses on offering huge power, best in class towing capacities and great fuel economy, this smaller EcoBoost could offer as much power as the current entry level F150s while also yielding great fuel economy.
The use of the 2.0L EcoBoost in the 2012 Edge and Explorer shows that these engines can be powerful yet efficient. And while their output of 240 horsepower in those SUVs wouldn’t be enough power for a future F150 ““ Ford should be well capable of offering a more powerful EcoBoost 4 that could serve as a great new entry level engine.
What do you think? Could a 4-cylinder engine really power an F150? Voice your opinion here!