Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:02 PM
As the name suggests, the Ford Fiesta Econetic is all about economy, with a sipping turbo-diesel engine and drag-reducing aero and mechanical features to help cheat the wind. We’ve seen the 76.3mpg Fiesta Econetic before but until now the trim level wrapped around that long-legged engine has been restricted to the basic side of things; slightly odd considering many Fiesta buyers spend on little extra on the finer Ford things.
But fear not frugally-minded friends because Ford have addressed the trim issues with Econetic now pulling any Fiesta you fancy, and they squeezed even more distance from one gallon of diesel - 78.5mpg is now the incredible claimed combined figure. The CO2 side of things dips a little further under the congestion charge and road tax avoiding 100g/km limit, at 95g/km.
Now, you pays your money and takes your choice when it comes to trimming your new Fiesta’s interior, but it’s the same 95PS (93bhp), 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine up front. So, with frugal families in mind we've just shut the driver’s door on the cheapest eco-Fiesta you can buy – the £13,895 base-trim Edge model. Price-wise, she doesn’t sound especially cheap, but at just shy of £14k, she’s in the ballpark-price for this size of car with this much eco-tuning.
So, if you want your own slice of Britain’s best-selling supermini but want to encourage your aversion to today's gold-plated fuel prices, then this Fiesta should tickle your frugal-fancy.
The Fiesta has been on sale since 2008 but still looks sharp, modern and on the move. Today we’re driving this 3-door Fiesta Edge finished in an eye-popping lime green called Squeeze.
Ford feels that strong colours help drive product choice – and lets the neighbours know you’ve splashed out – but there are “normal” hues too. The metallic finish on this TotallyMotor tester is an extra £470, however.
Standard Edge equipment includes Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Brake Assist, while the recalibrated engine gets its own eco-focused interior instrument display and “shift-up-now!” prompt to make sure you’re in the highest gear possible. And with a quiet ride and engine you might forget you’re in 4th gear! On the outside the Econetic Edge sits lower (to help with aero – and looks!) on its 14-inch, steel wheels, and also benefits from the quick ‘n’ easy, fuel cap-less Ford Easy Fuel system.
Fiesta sales would suggest that it’s a bit of a looker, and from a personal point of view I’d say there’s no denying Fiesta’s multi-age and gender-crossing appeal, and at least there’s a considered and striking design-reward in return for your near-£14k.
Into the interior:
We’re at the first rung of the trim ladder here and as you can see, the seats are cloth; handsome enough style- and print-wise, though I found the seat-base to be a little flat with a touch more side support preferred.
Regardless the trim, the sculpted dashboard has a modern soft-touch, the audio controls have a funky look and easy-find layout, and nestling under the simple climate controls is the MP3 connectivity we all crave, with the twin-connector cable waiting to hook-up your favourite tunes… Shirley Bassey for this test drive!
But, top of my happiness-list when it comes to any Fiesta is the driving position. Even at base trim there’s more than enough slide and tilt, up and down, of the seat and steering wheel to feel really comfortable and at one with the Fiesta. In fact the steering wheel had “too much” slide adjustability; a luxury you really don’t find in many cars.
Less perfect are some of the more tucked away trim plastics, while overall interior space doesn’t set any class records. However, there’s room inside for four real-size people and a decent boot for all their gear. Long-range cruising comfort belies the car’s size; I covered over 500 miles in one day in a Fiesta S1600 without too much wear and tear on body or mind.
Fiesta’s engaging driving position promises a bit of back lane fun and its suspension delivers on that promise. A wheel at each corner gives quick and precise steering and the while the bumps are soaked with suppleness there’s still a firm and flat cornering behaviour that keeps things nimble and controlled.
Key, of course, to the Fiesta Econetic is its 78.5mpg engine, and while overeager eco-focus can lead to too tall gearing and hence sluggish diesel-chugging, that’s definitely not the case here.
The eager and refined 93bhp oil-burner is surprisingly lag-less with easy-driving torque matched to a smartly-ratio’d 5-speed gearbox that lets in-town or motorway progress arrive easily and in a relaxing manner.
There’s enough turbo-surge to attack the apexes if that’s your bag, but with the up-shift-indicator prompting you to cog-swap and an almost inaudible engine-purr at most cruising speeds, you, like me, may well find some fun in eking out that extra mileage.
Ten second sum up:
The latest generation for Ford Fiesta Econetic comes up trumps in terms of economy but doesn’t sacrifice a satisfying and comfortable drive in the process. Throw in that dynamic style, premium feel and cracking driving position and you’ve got a real green-go-getter on your hands.
Prices and availability:
The Ford Fiesta Econetic range starts at £13,895 for the entry-level Edge model and rises through all trim levels to the top-end Titanium, at £16,245. Price as tested; £13,895, plus optional extras of metallic paint (£470), front and rear parking sensors (£275), Sony DAB radio (£400), Bluetooth, voice control and USB (£200) and “Quickclear” heated windscreen (£100).
New Econetic is available in Ford dealers in early October.
Words & pics: Daniel Anslow
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