17.6.2008 Ford Focus ECOnetic: Green Car of the Year '08
For full details see Press Release in PDF format.
WhatGreenCar? has awarded its first Green Car of the Year Award 2008 to the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic. The Focus has CO2 emissions of only 115g/km (65.6mpg on a combined test) and, with a diesel particulate filter fitted as standard on the 110PS engine, a WGC? rating of only 33; the lowest in its class and lower even than the bench-mark Prius hybrid (rated at 35).
The Focus is the first model in the diesel ECOnetic range, the name Ford has given to its new range of low CO2 models; due to be rolled out to the Mondeo in July this year, and the Fiesta in 2009. The engineering behind ECOnetic includes a recalibrated engine management system, and an improved aero-profile (the car is almost 1 cm closer to the ground compared with a regular Focus). Together with a lower grille and new front bumper skirt, a rear spoiler and slimmer low rolling resistance tyres, the aerodynamic drag coefficient is reduced to 0.31. Interestingly the emissions improvements are achieved without fitting longer gear ratios, as adopted by the competing VW BlueMotion and BMW EfficientDynamics models.
The Ford Focus ECOnetic was chosen by an independent panel of six judges representing leading UK green transport and environmental organisations who agreed to select and judge the latest green cars on the UK market. From an initial list of 26 cars pre-selected using WhatGreenCar?'s own environmental ratings, the Focus was selected as the winner of the 2008 Award from a short-list of 10 cars, which also included the new NICE Mega City electric car, VW Polo BlueMotion, MINI Cooper D, Fiat Bravo ECO, VW Golf BlueMotion, Toyota Prius hybrid, and the BMW 118d and 318d saloons.
The panel were unanimous that the Focus ECOnetic was this year's winning combination of a car that provided class-leading low emissions and high fuel economy, together with the vehicle performance, size and comfort required (and expected) by the majority of drivers in the UK. The judges also recognised the importance of the Focus as the UK's most popular car, and wanted to formally recognise Ford’s achievement in developing one of the greenest family-sized models on the market. In the words of Dr Ben Lane, one of the judges for the Award: "With the greener, fuel-efficient Focus ECOnetic now available in the UK, all new car buyers now have the opportunity to buy a more environmentally friendly car, one that meets the needs of the average motorist."
In considering the other short-listed cars, the judges were very impressed by the ultra-low emissions of the VW Polo BlueMotion 1 (with a WGC? rating of only 29, and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km), and highly commended this model. However, they were of the opinion that the no-frills offerings of the 1.4 litre Polo was unlikely to tempt the average motorist to buy a greener car. Similarly, while recognising the unbeatable green credentials of the Mega City, the panel considered that the market for electric cars would remain limited to the ultra-serious green consumer for some time to come.
The judges also highly commended the BMW 118d with its EfficientDynamics stop-start and regenerative braking technology (with a WGC? rating of 34, and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km), and were very positive about the driving experience offered by this car. However, they considered that its 143 bhp engine would encourage driving which would make achieving the test cycle CO2 emissions less likely than in the Focus ECOnetic and some of the other models in the short-list line-up.
Indeed, the contrast between BMW's high-tech green box of tricks (also employed by the MINI Cooper D), versus the pared down approach adopted by the ECOnetic and BlueMotion models was the focus of a great deal of debate among the judges during the day of test-drives. After much discussion, the panel concluded that the cleanest conventional diesels (such as the Focus ECOnetic and Golf BlueMotion) were currently likely to appeal to more motorists than the high-tech (and higher-cost) solutions employed by BMW. However, with news that the future BlueMotion range may include a stop-start system, consumers will soon have a wider range of technology packages to choose from.
In conjunction with EcoBoost that combines petrol direct injection and turbo-charging technology to improve vehicle fuel economy, the ECOnetic range is part of Ford's response to growing demand for more fuel efficient models; sales for Ford's existing fuel efficient Focus, Fiesta and Fusion models with CO2 emissions under 120 g/km have risen by a third in the last year. Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: "Drivers want to be green but without giving up comfort and performance or paying a high price. ECOnetic answers that demand. Ford ECOnetics... deliver style with a green conscience."
In giving the Green Car of the Year Award 2008 to the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic (110PS), WhatGreenCar? recommends this model to UK motorists in recognition of its best-in-class greener credentials. Priced from £16,050 (about £250 above the Style model with the same engine), the Focus ECOnetic slots into the Focus range between Studio/Style and top-end Zetec/Titanium models. [Potential buyers should note that, while the lower power (90PS) ECOnetic engine has slightly reduced CO2 emissions (114 g/km), the WGC? rating is worse at 39 as no diesel particulate filter (DPF) is fitted on this model.]
For motorists who want the full trim level options offered by the Ford Focus range, Ford have made life easy in finding a close second to the Focus ECOnetic, and need look no further than the standard 1.6 TDCi Duratorq 110PS (with DPF) that has a WGC? rating of 35, and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km.
Winner of the 2008 Award: Focus ECOnetic 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic (110PS) (115 gCO2/km)
Highly Commended: VW Polo 1.4 BlueMotion 1 (99 gCO2/km)
Highly Commended: BMW 118d Saloon (119 gCO2/km)
Ford Focus 1.6 ECOnetic - Summary
Family: FORD Focus 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic - WGC? rating 33, CO2: 115 g/km
The Focus is the first model in the diesel ECOnetic range, the name Ford has given to its new range of low CO2 models that will be rolled out to the Mondeo later this year and the Fiesta in 2009. The engineering behind ECOnetic includes recalibrated engine management and power steering system, and an improved aero-profile (the car is almost 1 cm closer to the ground compared with a regular Focus, has a lower grille and new front bumper skirt, a rear spoiler and slimmer tyres). Interestingly the emissions improvements are achieved without fitting longer gear ratios (as adopted by the VW BlueMotion and BMW EfficientDynamics models). The results of these changes for the Focus ECOnetic 109PS is CO2 emissions of only 115g/km (65.6mpg on a combined test cycle) and a WGC? rating lower than the bench-mark Prius hybrid. Priced from £16,545 (about £250 above the Style model with the same engine), the Focus ECOnetic slots into the Focus range between the Studio/Style versions and top end Zetec/Titanium models. Links: Ford, CarPages.
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