Ford calls the 1.0-liter engine the "EcoBoost" but did not say which model cars would have 3-cylinder engines, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
"Consumers are telling us they want to buy affordable vehicles that get many more miles per gallon. Our new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development.
The government has also weighed in on the subject, mandating car company fleets average 34.1 mpg for 2016 model year cars and beyond.
Small engines -- a quick way to increase fuel efficiency -- are becoming more commonplace. More than a third of Ford and General Motors Co. cars sold in 2011 have 4-cylinder engines under the hood, a sharp increase from just three years ago, the newspaper said.