From £9,715
New Fiesta has become a frugal city car without compromising the ride

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

11 February 2009

What is it?

This is the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi, Ford’s greenest Fiesta. It would be easy to compare the Ford Fiesta Econetic unfavourably with the Ford Fiesta 1.6 Zetec S, but in many ways the 89bhp turbodiesel Econetic is at least as impressive an engineering achievement.

The concept behind the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi is very similar to that of the VW Polo BlueMotion, Seat Ibiza Ecomotive or even the original eco-supermini, the Audi A2. The gearing of the five-speed gearbox is taller, the tyres have lower rolling resistance (though don’t run at a higher pressure), the engine is retuned for greater fuel efficiency, and a few accessories around the car are sacrificed to save weight.

All this combines to bring the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi in at 98g/km of CO2, the lowest figure for any family car on sale in the UK. It also means it now lacks a spare wheel.

What’s it like?

The outward similarity of the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi to the rest of the class disguises a few notable differences. For instance, The Fiesta Econetic has a split rear bench, unlike the Ibiza.

The most important difference, however, is the superior ride and handling. It’s taken as read that the ride and handling of these eco-tweaked cars suffer due to the stiffer tyres. This also applies to the Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi. But what singles the Fiesta Econetic out is that its abilities were so much better to begin with.

It’s possible to twist the wheel and fling the Fiesta Econetic into corners in a way that you simply can’t with any of its competitors. Turn-in compares pretty well with the hotter ends of the Polo or Ibiza ranges.

What about the Fiesta Econetic’s economy? An average of 50mpg on a high-speed motorway trip is useful, though by no means exceptional for a 1.6 diesel. The lack of a sixth gear stops it from being truly competitive at higher speeds.

What was really revealing was the Fiesta Econetic’s ability to cross London in rush hour at 50mpg – well, 49.8mpg. Over a distance of about 100 miles there was never a time when I felt that I could not keep up with the traffic or had to change my normal driving style to cope with lower levels of grip.

Should I buy one?

If you want an economical, overtly green supermini, but don’t want to sacrifice driving enjoyment, then the Ford Fiesta Econetic is peerless. The only reservation I have is the lack of standard-fit air conditioning, which is merely a detail at this time of year, but would be irritating in the summer.

Join the debate

Comments
22

11 February 2009

I wonder why it isn't based on the 1.4TDCi. Wouldn't that be even more economical?

12 February 2009

I cant remember a car that was so right for its time when launched than this Fiesta Econetic.

Attractive, frugal, fun and less harmful to the environment than most, who says you cant have fun in these miserable times.

This car makes a total mockery of such vehicles as the IQ,

I suspect the Fiesta is the reason Ford are suffering less than most at present. Be interesting to see if the americans and chinese take to it

12 February 2009

Seems to be a little-known fact that the standard 1.4 TDCi will actually do over 80 MPG.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

12 February 2009

What do you mean by a "high speed run"? If, for example, someone took the car on to a motorway and drove at 70mph what would you expect mpg wise?

The lack of airconditioning is a real pain though - £500 to add it, combined with £300 metallic paint and £300 for ESP (a must) does start to push the price a bit high. Luckily they're already available with almost £2k off!

12 February 2009

[quote Autocar]The gearing of the five-speed gearbox is taller, the tyres have lower rolling resistance (though don’t run at a higher pressure), the engine is retuned for greater fuel efficiency, and a few accessories around the car are sacrificed to save weight.[/quote]

This info. is misleading. The gearbox gearing has not changed; only the gearing of the final drive has been made longer. There is no mention of the lower viscosity oils in the engine and g/box and dropping the ride height by 10ml to improve aerodynamics. Come on Autocar even Channel 4's report on this car repeated the press release points correctly.

http://www.channel4.com/4car/rt/ford/fiesta/27760/2

SDR

12 February 2009

Sorry, I fail to see how this is an "impressive engineering achievement" in the slightest. 50 mpg on a motorway, and 50 mpg in town... well, my four year old 2.0 Golf TDi does about 12 better than that on a motorway and about 5 less in town - it has climate control, the correct number of forward gears, and - luxury of luxuries - a spare wheel. It could also be bought now for about five grand less than this Fiesta.

A family car without air conditioning for that money is unappealing, a car with a small engine and five gears is compromised in terms of drivability, economy and refinement, and a car without a spare wheel is, in my personal opinion, dangerous.

I'm really very bored of half-arsed 'green' versions of cars from major manufacturers which are based on old technology (1.9 VW 'bluemotions' for example), have fundamental inadequacies vs logical specification for any economy-minded car (like a lack of a sixth gear), and demand far too many compromises for very little or no real gain over a sensibly driven 'normal' model.

The biggest factor in any car's economy is the one installed behind the wheel - give me a sensibly spec'd car (mechanically and toys-wise) any day.

12 February 2009

[quote SDR]which are based on old technology [/quote]

The fiesta is not based on old technology - the chassis is new and the engine is the same as the highly respected unit in the focus, c4, c5 etc.

I am not sure how much I trust their fuel economy figures. With 75mpg official quoted I'd hope for about 60-65mpg on a run - significantly more than most other cars.

5 forward gears isn't that "backwards either". They have changed the gearing and most people have commented that the car does not need a 6th gear.

The lack of air conditioning is shocking, but no doubt done to squeeze the car under the 100g/CO2 barrier.

Finally - yes, someone could buy your 4 year old Golf for £4 less. That's a car that has to be MOTed every year, will need consumables like bushes/gaitors etc within the next 4 years etc. A new car is a new car - don't knock it.

SDR

12 February 2009

[quote]

"Finally - yes, someone could buy your 4 year old Golf for £4 less. That's a car that has to be MOTed every year, will need consumables like bushes/gaitors etc within the next 4 years etc. A new car is a new car - don't knock it." [/quote]

True... just a matter of personal choice, but for me my old Golf is less compromised, faster, roomier, safer, much better equipped, won't rust (Ford can't quite bring themselves to galvanise) and by the way will depreciate a whole lot less than a new Fiesta over the next four years. I could buy a pretty big pile of bushes for the extra 4 grand the Fiesta would cost plus the additional depreciation... ;o)

My Golf's off in two weeks, I don't have an obsession with it... just this particular expensive little Fiesta with the crappy spec and suspect 'green' credentials is not one for me, that's all.

Oh and a final thought - if Ford HAD given the Fiesta six gears, galvanised the thing, and/or bothered to return my test drive request call, it would be a new 1.6 Titanium Fiesta replacing my Golf - I very nearly love these little cars. Sadly though while the car has improved, Ford never does...

13 February 2009

[quote horseandcart]This info. is misleading. The gearbox gearing has not changed; only the gearing of the final drive has been made longer.[/quote]

So overall, the gear ratios have all been made longer...does it really matter to the user which part of the gearbox was changed to avoid this? No mention was made of spacing changes, and the final drive is part of the gearbox.

13 February 2009

Are we absolutely sure its not galvanised?

I have a previous model Fiesta and its a damn site better than the Mark 4 Golf GTTDI I ran a few years ago.

I also question whether your Golf is safer aswell.I'd take the Fiesta every time because it doesnt pretend to be something its not like the Golf does.

Anyway seems a bit silly to compare a second hand car to a new one,I doubt if someone looking for a new car would consider an old Golf of 4 years and over.

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