1.5L Dragon Reviews and Impressions in other Vehicles

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I've been researching this 1.5L Dragon 3-cylinder engine.

While I don't like that some (mainly Escape drivers) complain of the subwoofer-like "booming drone" or warble, and I'm skeptical of the wet timing belt, there is one place where this engine seems to review well:

That would be in the Fiesta ST with a manual transmission. Perhaps the closer ratios allow the engine to stay out of the "droning range". I don't know, but there are quite of few favorable reviews of that combo, mostly European.
 

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In the Ford Escape that I test drI’ve i did not find that at all. Most car reviewers favour the bigger engine by default. There are few good reviews of the smaller engine because everyone test drives the titanium and boiler plates their analysis of the 1.5.
 
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Good find Bob. That wasn't too flattering. It reiterated concerns of vibration that I had read about elsewhere, and it appears to have limited serviceability, like a German automobile.
 

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Here's a relatively negative review of the 1.5 in an Escape:
Many people that buy the 1.5L will not be looking to service their vehicle themselves. Although this mechanic views the 1.5L maintenance as a near impossible task, ford service will not.
 

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If you’re expecting a sports car’s performance, you might be unimpressed. Many that are expecting a competitively priced rugged small 4x4 suv will be impressed with the base.

 

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I don't know a lot about Ford's 1.5L turbo 3 cylinder, but I thought it would be of interest to know that the new Chevrolet Trailblazer comes standard with a 1.2L turbo 3 cylinder producing only 137 hp. The upgrade engine option is a 1.3L turbo 3 cylinder making 155 hp. Standard for both engines is a CVT automatic transmission. I'm feeling pretty good about the Bronco Sport's drivetrain offerings.
 

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If you’re expecting a sports car’s performance, you might be unimpressed. Many that are expecting a competitively priced rugged small 4x4 suv will be impressed with the base.

Unfortunately, this video is of the 2019 escape, which has an older chassis and a 1.5L, 4-cylinder, not a 1.5L, 3-cylinder. Actually, the 3 cylinder is an improvement as long as the engine is not bogged down.

The primary issue with the 3-cylinder is the programing of the cylinder deactivation / transmission. If the engine operates at low rpm, under load, it can boom. This is thought to be a cylinder deactivation issue as during these conditions it's likely running on 2-cylinders. Car and Driver noted that the Sport mode on the 2020 Escape helped eliminate this issue as the transmission did not bog down and operate the engine at low rpm under load. Perhaps software updates can cure this issue for the Bronco Sport's modes.

One major gripe that the mechanic's video pointed out is the oil bath (internal) timing belt. I have no problem with timing belts as long as they are set up for maintenance. However, Ford has decided that this belt is a "lifetime" belt. By lifetime, they mean >60,000 miles, out of warranty, and not Ford's problem that you may need a new engine when it fails.

If you keep the 3-cylinder beyond 100,000 miles, plan on a changeout of an internal timing belt. Pricey, but doable. Many in the UK have converted the belt to a chain when this unprescribed maintenance is done. That way, you don't need to do it again. The 2.0L Ecoboost has a timing chain. so no such maintanence would be needed.
 
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essentialemployee

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Unfortunately, this video is of the 2019 escape, which has an older chassis and a 1.5L, 4-cylinder, not a 1.5L, 3-cylinder. Actually, the 3 cylinder is an improvement as long as the engine is not bogged down.

The primary issue with the 3-cylinder is the programing of the cylinder deactivation / transmission. If the engine operates at low rpm, under load, it can boom. This is thought to be a cylinder deactivation issue as during these conditions it's likely running on 2-cylinders. Car and Driver noted that the Sport mode on the 2020 Escape helped eliminate this issue as the transmission did not bog down and operate the engine at low rpm under load. Perhaps software updates can cure this issue for the Bronco Sport's modes.

One major gripe that the mechanic's video pointed out is the oil bath (internal) timing belt. I have no problem with timing belts as long as they are set up for maintenance. However, Ford has decided that this belt is a "lifetime" belt. By lifetime, they mean >60,000 miles, out of warranty, and not Ford's problem that you may need a new engine when it fails.

If you keep the 3-cylinder beyond 100,000 miles, plan on a changeout of an internal timing belt. Pricey, but doable. Many in the UK have converted the belt to a chain when this unprescribed maintenance is done. That way, you don't need to do it again. The 2.0L Ecoboost has a timing chain. so no such maintanence would be needed.
Fortunately, replacing a $500 timing belt is not as expensive as upgrading to badlands for those that want 1.5L base.
4260406F-DCAB-4334-9B86-39D1F1D98C10.jpeg
 
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Tdubz

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I don't know a lot about Ford's 1.5L turbo 3 cylinder, but I thought it would be of interest to know that the new Chevrolet Trailblazer comes standard with a 1.2L turbo 3 cylinder producing only 137 hp. The upgrade engine option is a 1.3L turbo 3 cylinder making 155 hp. Standard for both engines is a CVT automatic transmission. I'm feeling pretty good about the Bronco Sport's drivetrain offerings.
The trailblazer also starts at $19k and tops out around 33k. The bronco sport starts at 26k and tops out around 40k. That’s a pretty big price difference. Even though the sport and trailblazer are relatively the same size, I think the approach gm and ford took are completely different. To me, the trailblazer seems like a large subcompact, and the bronco sport seems like a smaller compact suv. The price and engine choices also reflect this.
 

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Fortunately, replacing a $500 timing belt is not as expensive as upgrading to badlands for those that want 1.5L base.
4260406F-DCAB-4334-9B86-39D1F1D98C10.jpeg
60,000 to 105,000 miles (7-10 years max.) is the scheduled replacement of a "dry" timing belt from different car manufacturers’ service manuals. My point is that Ford does not schedule replacement of the oil bathed, "wet", timing belt. Indefinite mileage, as if it was a long life timing chain. The problem with this is the failure mode of a belt is typically catastrophic. A timing chain typically wears/stretches till the ECU triggers a timing error. Regardless, if you plan on replacing an oil bathed timing belt on a regular basis, it is going to be more expensive than a conventional "dry" belt replacement due to the added fasteners, gaskets and fluids that may be involved with the work.
 
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essentialemployee

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For any 1.5L expert advisor,

If this engine is a problem, I’m sure members here that are interested in the lower trims would appreciate some substantial proof that this 1.5L engine is a bad engine in relation to other engines of this price range. Not a video of a mechanic complaining about how difficult and inconvenient it is to service. Not a negative review that also contains no proof. At this point it seems some people are just talking shit.

Hopefully asking for proof of an asserted claim isn’t offensive to anyone making a claim without proof. Asking for proof is aka questioning. Questioning helps the ignorant learn.

If your answer is research it, I have and found no overwhelming or substantial proof that this engine is anything less than economical and efficient.
 

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For any 1.5L expert advisor,

If this engine is a problem, I’m sure members here that are interested in the lower trims would appreciate some substantial proof that this 1.5L engine is a bad engine in relation to other engines of this price range. Not a video of a mechanic complaining about how difficult and inconvenient it is to service. Not a negative review that also contains no proof. At this point it seems some people are just talking shit.

Hopefully asking for proof of an asserted claim isn’t offensive to anyone making a claim without proof. Asking for proof is aka questioning. Questioning helps the ignorant learn.

If your answer is research it, I have and found no overwhelming or substantial proof that this engine is anything less than economical and efficient.
You can listen to Consumer Reports opinions of the 2020 Ford Escape with the 1.5L. As it stands, they think the 1.5L would be better replaced by the hybrid motor. This is inline with other auto magazine opinions.


This is not to say the 1.5L is hopeless, because the vibration/booming issues can be improved with software changes.

The design decisions of the 3 cylinder’s timing belt and cylinder deactivation add reliability risk and vibration with minor improvements in fuel economy, emissions, engine noise and cost. To some, this is a poor trade off.
 
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essentialemployee

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You can listen to Consumer Reports opinions of the 2020 Ford Escape with the 1.5L. As it stands, they think the 1.5L would be better replaced by the hybrid motor. This is inline with other auto magazine opinions.


This is not to say the 1.5L is hopeless, because the vibration/booming issues can be improved with software changes.

The design decisions of the 3 cylinder’s timing belt and cylinder deactivation add reliability risk and vibration with minor improvements in fuel economy, emissions, engine noise and cost. To some, this is a poor trade off.
I see we went from problem engine to not the best engine in the world. This makes way more sense to me👍
 

VapourTrails

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I think enthusiasts just don’t like this engine because it’s a non traditional 3 cylinder. The actual power and performance is on par with other engines in its class.
 
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