Ford has underlined the surprising performance of the Focus 1.0 by setting 16 FIA world records for cars under 1.0 litre.

The completely standard 125 PS Focus was driven by a team including World Rally Championship star Jari-Matti Latvala and set records over distances from 0.6 miles to 2,550 miles at a test circuit in France.

To be eligible, each car was required to be run-in under the supervision of an official FFSA (Fédération Française du Sport Automobile) steward, after being selected from the Ford manufacturing facility in Saarlouis, Germany.

"This little engine punches way above its weight when it comes to performance," said Latvala, whose regular ride is a 304PS Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car. "The records prove the Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost can be lots of fun – as well as a very frugal car."

The average speeds ranged from 103 mph over 1000 miles to 118 mph for 100 miles (compared to its official top speed of 120 mph). The difference in average speeds was down to the need for fuel stops, which would have been pretty frequent. The official consumption of the car is 56.5 mpg, but it would probably not achieve even half of that at top speed.

Ford is very keen to demonstrate that the size of the engine does not matter – the 1.0 litre provides more performance than a conventional 1.6 litre engine. While manufacturers naturally hype up their own engines, we would have to agree with Ford on this occasion. When we drove the 1.0 Ecoboost, we reckoned it was the best engine in the whole Focus range – smooth, eager, reasonably powerful and frugal.