Ford may not have been first on the eco motoring bandwagon but they’re certainly pushing it forward now. This Fiesta ECOnetic represents the summit of their achievements in this respect, the company already having delivered on its promise to bring us a sub-140 g/km Ford Mondeo and a sub-120 g/km Ford Focus. Now, we’ve a sub-100 g/km Ford Fiesta. These models are designed to provide a compelling choice for consumers who are increasingly concerned about CO2 emissions.
One of the key reasons behind this Fiesta’s outstanding fuel economy actually lies in the fitment of a feature you’ll find on all current Fiestas, Ford’s clever electric power steering system, EPAS. Going this route was one the engineers were loath to take: many previous electric systems after all, had a reputation for giving the driver the feel of a PlayStation and it was important that this car retained its reputation as the enthusiast’s choice in the supermini class.
The EPAS system delivers its fuel savings by operating only when steering assistance is required and deactivating when not, thereby reducing the power it consumes from the engine and the fuel it requires. This compares favourably to a traditional hydraulic pump, which operates continuously once the car’s ignition is engaged. As for steering feel, 50,000kms of development road work went into making sure that the set-up offered a new standard for steering systems of this type. The result on the move isn’t perfect but it will satisfy most potential buyers, who’ll like the direct feel, the way the system copes with road camber changes and the tighter 10.2 metre turning circle.
The trendy ‘kinetic’ styling creates a dynamic look, even when the car’s stationary. That’s not a recipe for class-leading interior space - and so it proves - but what’s on offer should be quite adequate for most. There’s reasonable, if not outstanding, stowage space, the boot capable of swallowing 295 litres (or 979 litres with the seats folded) and ingenious storage areas abound throughout the cabin, including charging points for mobile ‘phones and MP3 players.
Equipment-wise, all the basics are there. That means ESP, ABS, air conditioning, power steering, electric windows, an immobiliser, front, side and knee airbags, a CD player with wheel-mounted controls, central locking and electric, heated mirrors. There are nice touches too like the EasyFuel cap-less refuelling.
The ECOnetic Fiesta comes only with one engine choice. You won’t be shocked to learn that it’s a diesel but you might be surprised to find that it’s the more powerful of the two units that Ford offers with this car. Under the bonnet lies a specially calibrated version of the 1.6-litre, 94bhp Duratorq TDCi engine.
What’s more important is what’s achievable at the pumps. Not only that headline-grabbing 76 mpg combined fuel economy figure but also a highly impressive 61.4mpg fuel figure around town and an astonishing 88.3mpg on the open road.
As for that 98g/km CO2 emissions figure, well it’s worth repeating, 10 percent better than the already impressive emissions level of the mainstream Duratorq TDCi Fiesta engine range. For reference, an ordinary Fiesta 1.6 TDCi manages 107g/km and a combined fuel figure of 67.3mpg. A no-maintenance, coated Diesel Particulate Filter (c-DPF) is fitted, designed to regenerate automatically during normal driving conditions.
The Fiesta ECOnetic sets a new standard for small car running costs, it’s as simple as that. It’s astonishing that such a relatively simple package of improvements can have such a profound overall effect.