It’s also a word that describes that absolutely sublime engine notes of most of these cars, like the beautiful, trance-inducing growl of Aston Martin’s 6.0-litre V12 in the Rapide. In short, it’s a word we only unwrap when describing the ultra- and über-special.
Here then, is where I will do the unthinkable and attach ‘magnificent’ to a three-cylinder engine that displaces all of 999cm3.
This 1.0-litre EcoBoost powertrain is the smallest engine Ford has ever produced. Now that’s nothing new. Ford is just another one of several manufacturers on the downsizing mission and it’s hardly the first company to put an engine that small into production.
What made the world sit up and take note, though, was when this little engine took home the award for International Engine of the Year in 2012. When Ford announced that will join the line-up of the facelifted Fiesta, anticipation reached fever pitch, especially when details revealed that its power output will put pretty much all of its rivals to shame. The only competitor that betters this Fiesta’s power output is the Suzuki Swift Sport (take note of the word ‘Sport’), while the 1.0 EcoBoost’s torque is
Before we get behind the wheel though, here’s a piece of wisdom from French writer Gustave Flaubert: “Anticipation is the purest form of pleasure. And the most reliable. And that while things that actually happened to you would invariably disappoint you, the things that never happened to you would never dim, never fade.”
In a way I felt the same about this tiny powertrain. Did I really want to experience this engine? After all - despite all the hype - it is just a 1.0-litre machine powering a Fiesta, a car that isn’t actually that small.
But the car was eventually delivered and with a huge sigh of imminent disappointment, I turned the key and off I went.
Oh, what a gem! That engine powers the Fiesta along without any muss or fuss. Even up here at altitude, it’s never wanting for power. The turbo kick isn’t hard; it feels like it feeds you torque rather than unleashing it upon you. Which is a great thing, because it makes you feel like you don’t have to work the revs all the time. Combined with the typically fun Fiesta ride and handling, the whole driving experience is just absolutely sublime.
But quickly back to that ‘Sport.’
We got this Fiesta and Suzuki Swift Sport together for some drag racing. It made (some) sense on paper, as their prices and power outputs are pretty much the same. The big question, however, was whether the Fiesta could hold its own against the 1.6-litre, naturally aspirated sports version of the Swift, especially given the fact that this Fiesta doesn’t have sporty anything attached to it anywhere.
Surprise! We raced them seven times (all we had time for), with each one ending up in a photo finish. That’s some feat for the Fiesta, but did it actually win? Yes, four times, in fact.
So indeed, after all that driving and reliving my magical week with the Fiesta, I will forever assert that this 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is magnificent.
The only problem for Ford here is that it made this model the Fiesta’s range topper. The Trend model will set you back R211 200, while the Titanium will add another odd R20 000. Fine, these cars are specced to the hilt, but the majority of South Africans still prefer size over small clever tech.
And will they spend this much money on a car with just 999cm3 under the bonnet?
I’d rather sit in anticipation for the sales figures than actually look at them.