When the new Ford Focus compact arrives in U.S. showrooms early next year, it will come with a new 160-horsepower, two-liter four-cylinder engine that will help the car get a projected 40 miles per gallon on the highway, Ford said Wednesday.
The engine will have high-pressure direct gasoline injection into the cylinders, which makes it more efficient than earlier engines. The Focus engine also will have variable valve timing to adjust the intake and exhaust valve openings for maximum efficiency, yet the car also will accelerate quickly, the company said.
"Drivers will notice improved low-end power and better fuel economy. And there are benefits they won't notice too, like reduced emissions overall, especially at part-throttle," Jamie Hanshaw, a Ford valve timing technical specialist, said in a statement.
The new Focus, which will compete with the top-selling Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, also will be able to run on E85 ethanol, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 generally is cheaper than gasoline, but also less efficient.
The new engine has 14 percent more horsepower than the current Focus with 140. Gas mileage with a six-speed automatic transmission is expected to rise six miles per gallon above the current automatic Focus, which gets 34 mpg on the highway.
Ford also said it gave the Focus electric power steering, eliminating the drag of an engine-driven belt to run a power steering pump. Other belts that drive the water pump, air conditioning compressor and alternator have new friction-reducing technology, the company said.
The new engine will be made at a factory in Dearborn, Mich., while the Focus will be assembled in Wayne, Mich., near Detroit.
(This version corrects fourth paragraph to fix gasoline-ethanol percentage of E85 ethanol).)