Engine Focus – Save Money 3 Ways


You may have heard me say on this website that the most important part of a car are the tyres. They’re the one bit of the car that touch the road (assuming nothing untoward has happened). Everything the car does goes through them. They’re crucial to a good car. But to me, a good engine is very nearly as important. A good engine, tyre and chassis combination can transform a car from a mere device to something you look forward to driving. Today, we will focus on the engine in my car, why it suits me, and what I look for in an engine. And of course, there will be potential money saving tips for us all to take away. Three main areas to consider, plus a fourth one for fun!

(Before we get into the details, don’t forget our 10% Referral Refund Scheme, for anyone who sends a customer to Motorkwirks Finder and Consultancy Services. Could you be the next to benefit?)

Solid engine is this Focus, extremely tolerant of bad drivers
Solid engine is this Focus, extremely tolerant of bad drivers

I’m focusing on petrol cars today, and there will be a future post which considers what fuel we should be going for. Stay tuned for this.

The engine in my car displaces 2.0 litres, and throws out 130 bhp with around 131 lbft of torque. There are no turbos, superchargers or electric motors . And immediately there will be people reading this laughing, because it the specific output is not very high. It’s only 65 bhp per litre, and these days there are turbo diesels that produce much more than this. You can find more detail as to why this analysis is slightly one dimensional in my myths article. But my engine has given very few problems, even after 114,000 miles of me driving. And the actual amount of power is plenty. In the real world, with traffic lights, blind corners, pedestrians who don’t bother looking before they cross, there is very little point in huge power. There is nowhere to use it. Unless you like getting a bit too familiar with the local livestock.

Aspiration (and Fuel Economy)
Another feature is the lack of turbocharging or supercharging, both of which are types of forced induction. The Focus is naturally aspirated, which has a big effect on the power delivery, particularly for a low specific output. The spread of power is very even across the entirety of the rev range, making the car easier to drive. Driving a car with a large turbo, it can sometimes be difficult to accurately predict when all the power is going to arrive. In addition, it could arrive quite suddenly and it you happen to be going round a corner in damp conditions, things could end badly. All the stories about early 911 Turbos being wrapped around trees did not come from absolutely nowhere.

No such problems for the Ford. The power delivery is very smooth, and there is good torque even from 1500 rpm. Ideal for nippy getaways, and for cruising in top gear to keep the revs down, thus saving fuel. Much has been said about the relatively poor economy of this engine. With my tips, and keeping the car in good conditions has yielded around 30 mpg around town, and more than 40 mpg on the motorway.

The smooth and reliable 2.0 Zetec Focus Engine. So much better than the brochure suggests
The smooth and reliable 2.0 Zetec Focus Engine. So much better than the brochure suggests

When we bear in mind that a lot of the modern cars are not meeting their claimed mpg, this car is not as far away from current fuel economy as some may think. And we achieve the savings without having to ‘cheat’ and just buy a supposedly more economical vehicle. If anyone is after a car that’s cheaper to run, an instant saving could be a simple as the way one drives their existing car. For more tips on this, I have a whole guide, just for you. Aren’t I exceptionally kind and thoughtful?

Of course, the trend these days is to downsize car engines and turbo charge them. That way, we obtain the same power from a smaller capacity, thus in theory saving fuel. At least in the brochure, and there may be other compromises elsewhere. The focus engine is smooth, reliable and robust. It’s easy to work on, which saves time for us, or cost if we go to a garage. And the low rev power delivery makes saving fuel achievable, which can also help the longevity of the engine. To me, the biggest difference a person can make to conserving fuel is to adapt the way they drive. This is applicable across a wide range of cars, so the savings will keep on coming even when we eventually have to change vehicles.

For me, an important aspect of a car’s engine is the sound that it makes. And wow, the sound that the Focus 2.0 makes is, sort of exactly the same as any other vehicle. But it does rev cleanly and smoothly. Once you exceed 6000 rpm, it starts to sound a bit like a touring car, which is mildly exciting on the right road. Similarly, if you just want to cruise home at 60 mph, the engine is quietly doing less than 3000 rpm. This makes the drive more relaxing. Some of the popular forced induction methods used today have a tendency to muffle the engine note of a car, ruining the sound. No such worries here. Everything is pure and unfiltered.

Simple to work on, and very tough. Focus has a good engine
Simple to work on, and very tough. Focus has a good engine

What do you like about the engine in your car? What would you change about it? Have you modified it in way and what has the effect been? Get in touch, join the family and let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

What are your thoughts?