23.5.2012 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic TDI review
This will be the last eco advancement model before the new Fiesta debuts in four months' time. As usual, the problem with today's high economy, high technology models is that they also have a high price and motorists could do a lot of motoring, even before discounts, if they chose a cheaper model such as the 1.25 litre Studio at £9,795.
Refinement seems to have taken a hit here too. Ford, incidentally, remains unconvinced about the environmental and practical use of hybrid power units.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Despite a more powerful engine management system and taller third, fourth and fifth gears than the previous model (the final drive is unchanged); in use, the four-cylinder 1560cc TDI turbo-diesel engine still feels slightly irregular and gruff, especially when cold. It pulls well enough once rolling but the benchmark 0-62 mph is a long 12.9 seconds. Top speed is 111 mph so motorway cruising isn't a problem, but you do notice the absence of a sixth gear. Maximum power of 94 bhp arrives at 3,800 rpm while maximum torque is available from 1,750 rpm to 3,000 rpm.
Fiestas have long been the car to beat when it comes to agile handling that pleases a keener driver and that hasn't changed even with this high economy version and low rolling resistance tyres. I think driver 'feel' would be even better with hydraulic rather than electrically assisted power steering, even if it does save a few puffs of CO2 over the miles – but Ford wanted a headline grabbing 87 g/km and every little helps. At least the positive feel brake pedal hasn’t gone electric.
Most people seem to think the Fiesta is a great looking little car, and I wouldn't disagree, so it's intriguing to hear from Ford insiders that the new Fiesta, due to debut in September at the Paris Motor Show, is said to be a major improvement and so good looking that 'it will maintain sales leadership.' Rear seat access on three door cars could be made better, but I reckon the interior needs improving more than the outside as the mobile phone-style centre console now looks very dated and attracts dust badly. Five door models cost from £15,595. It is 3950 mm in length and 1787 mm wide.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The cabin is quite spacious, and light and airy, and in the front you could almost be in the larger Focus, but a lack of rear legroom means the rear seats are best for children. The driving position seems good for all builds thanks to steering and seat adjustment.
Some of the information screens are small and faint in some lights, but major switchgear is easy to locate and operate. The boot is a good size, but be warned, the rear seats don't fold completely flat when you need extra load capacity.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
In the laboratory tests all cars have to go through, the Fiesta shows 74.3 mpg urban, 91.1 mpg extra-urban and 85.6 mpg overall. This translates to a fuel cost of about 8 pence per mile. The test car had averaged 52.5 mpg prior to my drive, but with the read-out reset I easily managed 62 mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of 87 g/km put the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 diesel into tax band A which means no road tax to pay under current regulations and no congestion charge payment for central London. It is in insurance group 12, and warranty is for three years/ 60,000 miles.
An automatic start-stop system, a new fuel-injection system, a faster, more powerful engine management system, greater air-conditioning and alternator efficiency, together with smart regenerative charging and 'taller' gear ratios has pushed CO2 emissions down from 95 g/km with the previous car to just 87g on official tests. An aerodynamic under-shield and wheel deflectors minimise aerodynamic drag. The Fiesta runs on low rolling resistance tyres and has a particulate filter to trap sooty particles out of the diesel fuel.
Standard kit on Zetec ECOnetic models (Edge versions cost from £14,445 and have less equipment) includes alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear window spoiler, power steering, air conditioning, electric mirrors and front windows, RDS radio, CD player, MP3 connection (Bluetooth £175), anti-lock brakes with force distribution to wheels with most grip, emergency brake assist, central locking, driver and front passenger airbags. Options on test car included auto wipers and auto headlights £125, Sony DAB radio with Bluetooth and voice control £475, City pack including folding mirrors and reverse parking sensors £300.
Model tested: Ford Fiesta Zetec ECOnetic 1.6 TDI
Body-style: Hatchback supermini
Engine/CO2: 94bhp 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel/ 87 g/km
Trim grades: Edge, Zetec, Titanium
On-road price: Range from £14,995. Test price £16,620
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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