Ford is all set to launch the heavily updated EcoSport this October in time for the festive season. More importantly, this compact SUV will also mark the debut of the all-new Dragon series of petrol engines which will power Ford’s future small car range. The big news is that India has been selected as a global production base for the Dragon range and an official announcement from Ford confirming this news is expected in the coming weeks.
For the Indian market, the Dragon range will initially consist of a three-cylinder engine in 1.5-litre and 1.2-litre displacements; The 1.5-litre unit, with an estimated power output of 120hp, will first be launched in the EcoSport facelift and will later power future Fords like a mid-size sedan being developed on an all-new platform (Code: B563) to rival the Honda City.
A 1.2 petrol will be the staple engine for the models that qualify for the ‘small car’ tax benefits and hence, is likely to power cars ranging from the next-gen Figo and Aspire (expected in 2019) to a new premium hatchback that is also being developed on the B563 platform. Lower variants of the EcoSport could also get the 1.2 motor.
Ford has not yet officially released details or specifications of the Dragon engine family but according to sources, it is a state-of-the-art motor designed to comfortably meet future emission norms.
The Dragon range is expected to come with technology like an integrated exhaust manifold, a rocker shaft with hydrodynamic bearings, a variable oil pump and dual-valve independent valve control. It also believed to feature individual ignition coils for each cylinder, spark plugs centralised in the combustion chamber and hydraulic tappets with rotor arms. This full-aluminium engine is believed to b over 10 percent lighter than the current four-cylinder Sigma motor.
To be manufactured in Ford India’s spanking new engine plant in Sanand, the high-tech, highly localised Dragon family should translate to cars that offer good performance and efficiency at a competitive price.
Also read: Ford developing premium hatch to take on i20 and Baleno