A fresh report out of the United States suggests that the upcoming new-generation Ford Focus ST will downsize from the outgoing model’s turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder unit to a 1,5-litre three-cylinder engine.

According to AutoGuide, the new version of the front-wheel-drive C-segment hot hatch – based on the recently revealed fourth-generation Focus (pictured above in ST-Line guise) – will be unveiled prior to the end of 2018, before going on sale in initial markets the following year.

While the four-pot in the current Focus ST churns out 184 kW, the report speculates that the smaller 1,5-litre turbo-triple expected to do duty in the next-generation version will make up to 205 kW.

AutoGuide adds that the 1,5-litre will in all likelihood be cleaner and more efficient than the current engine, while also offering a cylinder deactivation function. Of course, Ford followed a similar formula with its new Fiesta ST, moving from a 1,6-litre four-cylinder unit to a 1,5-litre three-pot, which in this case makes 147 kW.

In related news, an earlier report suggested that the next-generation, all-wheel-drive Focus RS (slotting in above the Focus ST) would employ a mild-hybrid set-up to boost peak power past 300 kW.