Ford Authority

Three Cylinder Ford EcoBoost Engine Use Part Of Larger Trend

In recent years, the three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost lineup has grown to include the 1.0L EcoBoost I-3 – which has won International Engine of the Year not just once, but twice and was previously available in the now-discontinued Ford EcoSportas well as the 1.5L EcoBoost I-3, which is currently available in both the Ford Escape and Ford Bronco Sport. However, The Blue Oval isn’t alone in what has been a veritable rising tide of three-cylinder engines in the U.S., according to new data from S&P Global Mobility.

Since the onset of Q1 2019, the market share of three-cylinder engines in the U.S. has risen steadily, going from essentially zero all the way up to 5.6 percent in Q2 2023 and 6.2 percent in the partial third quarter. For the most part, this trend arises from the growing popularity of subcompact-plus crossovers, which includes models like the Bronco Sport, Buick Encore GX, and Chevrolet Trailblazer, which offer a bit more space than pure subcompacts.

In fact, through the month of July, consumers have purchased 589,026 subcompact-plus crossovers versus 123,033 subcompacts this year, which makes sense given the fact that on average, the former present those shoppers with an additional monthly payment of just $40, on average. Meanwhile, trading up to a compact crossover costs around $100 more per month.

Interestingly, this shift toward the three-cylinder hasn’t really affected sales of models equipped with four-cylinder powertrains, which continue to account for more than half the total market with a share of 57.2 percent over the past year. Since 2022, six-cylinder engines have dropped from a 28.6 percent to a 26.8 percent share, while eight-cylinder engines have dipped from 11.5 percent to 10.9 percent, however.

We’ll have more on the rise of the three-cylinder engine soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Crabbymilton

    I have doubts but as long as it fills the power needs and can be designed to be as smooth and quiet as any other engine, I say why not. Long term durability is yet to be known.

  2. Dave Mathers

    If somebody had told me over 50 years ago when I was selling GM high performance vehicles that I would some day be driving a 90 cubic inch three cylinder vehicle and LOVING it I would have laughed at them. Yet, here I am and loving it.

    1. John

      Yeah, I’m sure your 3 cylinder CUV is the coolest vehicle in the old folks home parking lot and gets Mildred all hot and bothered.

      1. Not john

        Seems unnecessarily juvenile and stupid to make this comment, john.

        1. Not Not John

          Yeah, it was a nonsense comment in response to Dave’s nonsense comment. Nobody is buying that any muscle car person is LOVING driving a 90 cid 3 cylinder CUV.

  3. Wright

    Three cylinder engines. Ford lost me as a customer on the Expedition when the V-8 was discontinued. Got to love the Godzilla.

    1. CrabbyMilton

      No doubt the classic traditional V8 is proven itself beyond a shadow of a doubt over the many decades. My second to last car was a ’04 GRAND MARQUIS had the 4.6 which I thought was a wonderful engine smooth and quiet and good power. However, in this day and age, engines have improved in efficiency and smoothess so the number of cylinders are almost no factor anymore. My ’23 NISSAN ALTIMA never ceases to amaze me on the smooth and quiet 2.5L 4 and the way it drives. Otherwise people might in theory buying engines rather than vehicles. I would never buy one of those small CUV’s or SUV’s regardless of the engine type. Wright, I can understand your love for the V8 but what reason turned you off to the EXPEDITION not having a V8? I know the ECOBOOST has had some questionable issues. But the power certainly is not a factor. Just wondering.

  4. cj

    I wonder what the reliality rate…..and recalls of this engine….that what most important….the 2.5 non turbo 4 cylinder was a great reliable engine…the 1.5 i have in 2017 Escape…is recall after recall…never again….Simpler is better…dont need all the Turbo Power…need the realiblity..

  5. Doug

    Ford makes the worst I3 there is. That oil soaked rubber belt is garbage. The I3 in the Rogue is very smooth.

  6. Ted

    I have a 1.0 3 cylinder engine it’s a2019 demo got it 2021 still had a full bumper to bumper warranty with 6200 miles on it. Its had 4 oil chang es by me.i see clear oil on the stick took it on 1200 mile round trip road problems just needs a spare tire a real one .that was the worst decision mfg.ever made.the car is great for around town trips.

  7. Ian Short

    The 3 cylinder ecoboost engine is under a law suit in the USA for oil pump issues

    1. John

      Unfortunately, Ford seems to have a lot of engine oilling issues across various engine lines. I don’t know what their problem is. It’s especially disappointing in the voodoo engine in the GT350.

    2. Mark

      Yes, the oil pump is belt driven off the crankshaft behind the front cover. Yes, you read that right. A wet drive belt system. What could go wrong?

  8. Polesitter

    How come the “expert” reviews ignore the major faults but go all ga ga over cup holders etc…yes..oil bath drive belt to the heart of the motor…genius for maybe a couple of years..maybe 3 when the warranty expires…..

  9. Nauticalone

    Nope! I’m not buying it.

  10. Polesitter

    And dont get me started over the Spark plug debacle Sorry…Ford is a no go for me

  11. Rob M

    The 1 liter 3 cyl that has the oil pump being turned by a wet belt running in oil that fails. And destroys the engine…
    Just what we need

  12. Dale

    My wife’s 1.0 I-3 died from the oil pump belt issue at 2 years old and 32k miles, just 2k miles out of warranty and cost us $8k on a $16k car because it also burned up the turbocharger. My friend Rick’s wife’s I-3 died for the same reason under 100k miles. I know for a fact my wife had hers maintained meticulously by the dealership. Those are the only two Ford I-3s I saw that anyone kept the car past 30k miles.

    Neither the dealership we bought it from brand-new, nor the factory rep would help us out at all.

    My wife’s replacement I-3 has made it about 60k miles on the new engine so far and is doing fine for now.

    The maintenance schedule from Ford is supposed to be 150k miles to replace that belt.

    1. ViperACR

      Your wife’s car was out of warranty at 2 years old and 32,000 miles? That doesn’t sound right.

  13. Matthew

    As far as I’m aware the Ford’s 1.L three banger is problematic however the 1.5L is pretty solid in terms of reliability. I’ve owned a 2022 Ford escape with the 1.5L three cylinder and it was rather shaky and didn’t get very good fuel mileage because you’d always keep your foot down. Very unrefined but it was reliable considering I put 46k miles on it and it never failed. With that said I needed a car that can handle so I recently purchased an Alfa Romeo Gulia Q4. So good luck everyone with the three cylinder engines.

  14. Bob

    82000 trouble free miles on my 2020 3cyl escape. I’m a fan

  15. Ray

    2018 Focus. First 1.0 failed at roughly 54k miles. All oil changes had been done at the dealership. Factory warranty replacement motor and turbo. Started changing oil on my own. Second one lasted until 130k, so 76k on new motor. Thankfully, the extended warranty is still active. At a minimum getting a new oil pump and belt. Will see if any other issues pop up once that is installed.

    For a motor that runs so well, it is such a terrible design.

  16. Pikey87

    It’s a lousy engine. I’ll deal with low power, but not if it doesn’t come with increased efficiency. Do you want to give up 55hp for one mpg? At best? Mostly less in real uses? There’s no reason to believe the engine will be long lived based on everything known about it either. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a 3 cylinder, but less power shouldn’t go hand in hand with less mpg.

  17. Ryan

    My 2017 focus with the same oil pump problems just died at 94k. Regular oil changes. In the process of replacing now because it’s cheaper than buying something else. The car itself is great, besides the terrible motor.

    New motor will have 3 year unlimited miles warranty. I know the clock will be ticking once I start driving it again.


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