11.2.2009 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic review
Although Ford Motor Company could never be accused of avoiding issues, its approach to eco-friendly transport is, according to Iain Robertson, considerably more conventional than its rivals'.
When assessing the new car scene to ascertain which manufacturer has made the greatest contribution to reducing exhaust pollution and upping mpg, one carmaker rises to the surface every time. Of course, on the advanced technology front, companies such as BMW run out clear victors, but as with previous `green car` models, Ford's medicine for the ailing eco-conscience, the Fiesta ECOnetic, comes at a reassuringly moderate price.
In standard form, the Fiesta develops a nominal 88bhp, which is enough to whisk it from 0-60mph in around 11.8 seconds, before reaching a maximum speed of 109mph. Boasting an official combined fuel economy of 67.2mpg and emitting just 113g/km from its exhaust tailpipe, it is already a satisfyingly cost-efficient compact car. However, faced with a need to meet the terms of its own ECOnetic banner, Ford set to carrying out some pertinent modifications on the diesel unit, the results of which are little less than miraculous. The 1.6-litre HDi/TDCi engine is an undoubted star turn.
Naturally, this is not something that you might attend to at home but, with the might of its hugely competent engineering team behind it, Ford ascertained that the changes required to turn the car into a hybrid-beater, while retaining the essence of conventionality, needed to be substantive. And they are.
By installing longer gear ratios in the 5-speed, front-driven transmission, some additional advantages could be wrought. Of course, the electronic engine management system needed to be tweaked accordingly. Allied to it was a red shift-up lamp located in between the twin dials of the instrument binnacle, small enough not to be a nuisance but clear enough to provide a good warning to the driver. On the aerodynamics front, lowering the car by 20mm helps it to cleave through the air more cleanly, while slightly stiffer springs maintain a greater degree of body control to ensure that the car’s frontal area is maintained at the prescribed levels. The finishing touch is a set of stiffer sidewall tyres and more slippery wheel-trims.
After that little lot, you will be keen to know what advantages were gained. They are substantial. The mpg rises to an official 76.3mpg, a near 10mpg improvement, which can be bettered on longer steady-speed runs. Amazingly, the top speed of the car now runs to 111mph, while the benchmark acceleration time increases marginally (long gearing) to 12.0 seconds.
However, the big saving arrives in the form of CO2 rating, which is now a fantastic 98g/km, which means a zero-rating on VED. Factor in the £12,182 price tag (3-door model is £587 less) and a sound handling, spacious and clean and green family hatchback results. Also, in an effort to make it stand out from the competition, the stylists have pulled out all of the stops, introducing a new design language, which is also evident in the Ford Kuga, the revised Focus, and the new Ka.
The Fiesta ECOnetic is an undoubted success, and is helping Ford go some way towards rebuilding its reputation, which has slipped slightly from its grasp in recent years after much-publicised issues in Dearborn and its US HQ. With this model, Ford's European subsidiary are making a statement of intent, and it’s a very effective one at that. As Gordon Ramsay would say, "Job done!".
Model tested: Ford Fiesta ECOnetic
Body-styles: 3/5-door hatchback
Engines: 1.6 (TD4)
Trim grades: ECOnetic
Prices: from £11,595 to £12,182
In the showroom: March 2009
Review star rating: 5 STARS
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles
Iain Robertson © Next Green Car.com 2009
Post a commentReturn to top
blog comments powered by Disqus