New Fiesta has become a frugal city car without compromising the ride

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

Add a comment…
theonlydt 16 February 2009

Re: Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi

The Ford website does quote that depending on model they have either a 6 year or 12 year anti-perforation warranty. It does not say which for what model. I've not seen rust on any <10 year old Mondeos and very little on the Mk1 Focus. Compare that to a work collegue's 98/99 Escort which has just had very expensive (for an old car) welding done to the sills, floor etc.

SDR 16 February 2009

Re: Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi

Leisuresuit Larry wrote:

If you go to the VW website you'll not find any mention of the latest Golf being galvanized - or any mention of anti-corrosion warranties, but we can safely assume that it is. Rust has become a "non-issue" in the minds of car makers and consumers. We assume they won't rust and they have faith in the anti-corrosion techniques they have developed over the last 20 years.

It's possible that you are confusing cars that have body parts stamped out of pre-galvanized steel (some Audis) and the majority that are electro-galvanized after assembly. Both methods have pros and cons. I spent £250,000 on hot dip galvanizing steel last year and you can still have problems with rust.

Okay you may have a point re the new Golf on the VW web site, but there are still 89 other hits for "galvanised" there so they drop some pretty heavy hints! And as I said I didn't rely solely on their web site - the dealer could not tell me it was galvanised, and Ford couldn't be bothered to reply to my e-mail enquiry (there's a shocker). So as far as I'm concerned it's not galvanised...

As for types of galvanising, I bought £0 of galvanised steel last year so I bow to your superior knowledge! However I contest that rust is a non-issue - people may not think about it but that's just because people are a bit stoopid(!) - I have read many stories about rust on recent Ford products, so personally I still view Ford's rustproofing with a good deal of suspicion. If they have finally sorted themselves out they should be making a big deal of it on their website - they are not in VW/Audi's league, in this regard at least.

theonlydt 16 February 2009

Re: Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi

Lee23404 wrote:
The standard 1.6 TDCi is only slightly less economical and only emits 4g Co2 more in Zetec/Titanium trip than the Econetic with it's crappy plastic wheel trims and odd looking chin spoiler.

I completely agree with the Focus. With the Fiesta the non-econetic is quoted as 67mpg - 8-9mpg less than the econetic. Also over 10g per km more for the non-econetic, pushing it into band A over band B for the normal model. 8mpg is not to be sniffed at (although mostly if you're on a "run" as most of the changes seem to maximise fuel effeciency at speed, rather than town) and the £35 a year saving on fuel is nice to have.

£500 for air conditioning is still annoying me something chronic though!