Ford’s newest 1.2-litre engine, the second iteration of its 'Dragon' family of petrol engines after the 1.5-litre unit that debuted in the EcoSport, is set for a market introduction in the first half of 2018. This smaller capacity motor will debut in a new, yet-to-be-named, derivative spun-off the Figo platform. The 1.2 petrol will also power the mid-cycle refreshes of both, the Figo hatchback and Aspire compact sedan models.
Built in Ford’s state-of-the-art engine plant in Sanand, the 1.2 Dragon, like the 1.5-litre unit, is also an all-aluminium, three-cylinder, twin-cam one and shares the same block. Cubic capacity is scaled down to 1,194cc by using smaller pistons. However, unlike the 1.5-litre unit, the 1.2-litre engine doesn’t get a balancer shaft that helps smoothen out the natural vibrations of a three-cylinder engine.
The high-tech Dragon unit sets a benchmark in the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre class with a best-in-class power and torque output of 95hp and 115Nm, respectively. To put the 1.2 Dragon’s impressive figures in perspective, the Honda 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol makes 90hp, while Maruti's 1.2-litre K-series petrol puts out 83hp.
Interestingly, the new motor will be mated to a new five-speed manual gearbox from Getrag (code: MX65), which replaces the old IB5 unit. The new gearbox is lighter, more accurate and needs less effort to operate. Ford is expected to also introduce an AMT derivative of the MX65 at a later stage.
The new model that will debut the 1.2-litre unit has been dubbed a 'Compact Utility Vehicle' by Ford and is yet to be given a market name. Built off the Figo platform, this new derivative will feature lots of SUV-like cues such as raised suspension, wider stance, larger wheels and additional body cladding to take on bad roads with aplomb. From the front, it looks more like a mini-EcoSport with its large grille and upright bonnet.
Equipment levels are expected to be adequate with the top-end variants getting Ford’s Sync 3 system and the lower-spec trims getting a slightly smaller touchscreen with a functional infotainment system.
We recently got a sneak preview of the new Ford and actually drove a prototype of the model with the new 1.2-litre Dragon engine. You can read all about it in the January 2018 issue of Autocar India, now on stands.
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