Ford B-MAX: What’s so special about EcoBoost?

  • Our B-Max’s engine is voted ‘International Engine of the Year’
  • 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine squeezes 118bhp from just 999cc
  • Fun to drive and economical too: averages 57mpg and 114g/km

The Ford B-Max is currently offered with six engine options, but under the bonnet of our long-termer is nothing less than the best engine in the world.

Don’t just take our word for it. Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine has just scooped the overall ‘International Engine of the Year’ award for the second year running.

As well as the B-Max, the little engine also powers versions of the Fiesta, Focus, C-Max and even the big seven-seater Grand C-Max.

For the B-Max, it’s available with two power outputs: 98bhp and 118bhp. We’ve got the top 118bhp one, which is only available with the most expensive Titanium trim specification.

You can also get the same engine with 98bhp in either Titanium or mid-range Zetec trim, but the 118bhp one gets start-stop as standard to help save fuel and cut emissions. You’ll have to pay handsomely for it though; at the time of writing a B-Max with the top EcoBoost engine costs a hefty £18,195 on-the-road.

So what makes it such a noteworthy motor? Well, first of all it produces an incredible amount of power given its size (999cc to be precise - Ford points out that it could even fit in the overhead luggage compartment of an aeroplane).

Squeezing disproportionate amounts of power from tiny engines through the magic of turbocharging isn’t a new idea, but making them drive well and run efficiently is not an easy task.

The 118bhp EcoBoost is a very tractable and easy to drive engine. There’s a small amount of turbo lag (where the engine momentarily feels sluggish until the turbocharger itself has gathered momentum) from very low revs, but no more than you’d find in many larger diesel engines.

As a three-cylinder engine, it has a slightly rough, lumpy feeling at low to mid revs but it quickly smoothes out and it’s as good a motorway cruiser as they come. That odd number of cylinders also gives it a characterful sound – an offbeat growl that’s no hardship to listen to.

There’s lots of pulling power – a maximum of 200Nm of torque – and all of it is available from relatively low revs. The engine feels happy to be worked hard if necessary and the five-speed manual gearbox it’s paired with has a slick and easy action.

The 118bhp EcoBoost is also the fastest B-Max of the range, should that matter to you. It somehow feels inappropriate to quote 0-62mph times for a people carrier, but for reference its 11.2 seconds is nearly a second quicker than the next fastest version, the 1.6 Duratec petrol, and 2.7 seconds faster than the top diesel version.

The EcoBoost is also an economical powerplant. Ford’s quoted average fuel consumption for the car is 57.7mpg and CO2 output is 114g/km, which makes it the most efficient petrol engine available for the B-Max.

For reference, the 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine also available in the B-Max averages a little over 70mpg according to Ford’s figures and emits 104g/km of CO2.

We'll be keeping an eye on our car's real-world fuel consumption over the coming weeks to see how close we can get to the claimed figure.

EcoBoost-equipped cars actually made up 42% of all B-Maxes ordered in Europe in the first quarter of 2013. Ford has announced that the engine will also be making an appearance in the Mondeo and even certain Transit models ‘in the near future’, so it seems we’ll be seeing plenty more EcoBoost Fords on the roads before long.

Ford B-Max engine

Ford B-Max EcoBoost engine

Total mileage: 4,901 miles

Average mpg: 33.7 mpg