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by Brett Davis

Ford has revised the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic so it now comes with an average fuel consumption rating of just 3.6L/100km – down from 3.7. Who needs a hybrid?

If you’re after the most fuel efficient car on sale in Australia right now, you’re looking at it. It’s a common misconception that the Toyota Prius hybrid is the most fuel-efficient car on sale, with its rating of 3.9L/100km, but it’s not the case.

While the technology of the hybrid synergy drive system is considered to be an excellent step forward in the evolution of the motor vehicle, it’s not quite as fuel efficient as the normal internal combustion-engine-powered Ford Fiesta ECOnetic.

With a price tag of just $24,990, the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is also the cheapest of the super-frugal options available. And $4,000 cheaper than Australia’s next cheapest, most fuel-efficient car, the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion (3.8L/100km). Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano said,

“Ford ECOnetic technology is a customer focused initiative bringing together a range of vehicle features and technologies specifically targeting better fuel economy, reduced emissions and overall lower cost-of-ownership – without compromise to great design or driving dynamics.”

So how did Ford improve the consumption rating? The main revision is to the Fiesta’s five-speed manual transmission and its gear ratios. Gears third, fourth and fifth have been made longer, providing more efficient highway cruising. Gears one and two remain unchanged.

Revisions were also made to reduce overall load within the powertrain. Technologies include a Variable Flow Oil Pump which works in sync with the engine, providing sufficient oil to the internal components at a rate which matches the engine’s needs. This puts less load on the engine by freeing up pump loads in accordance with various demands.

Other changes to the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic that were made to improve fuel consumption include:

  • new asymmetric crank sprocket – which reduces the load applied in tensioning the drive belt, thereby reducing the overall load on the belt
  • new “bi-directional” crank sensor – which reduces engine start times by improving synchronization between the camshaft and the crankshaft
  • a more accurate fuel temperature sensor – which enabled a reduction in injection tolerances
  • engine calibration re-tuning – revised calibration of the Powertrain Control Module (PCM)

The revised Ford Fiesta ECOnetic features the same 1.6-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine as the current model, producing 66kW of power and 200Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100km/h has been rated at 12.3 seconds in the current model.

Here’s a list of the current sub-4L/100km cars available in Australia, and their respective specifications, for comparison:

Audi A1 1.6 TDI ($TBA) – 1.6L TD/4, 66kW and 230Nm, 1135kg, 0-100km/h in 11.5 seconds – 3.8/100km

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic ($24,990) – 1.6L TD/4, 66kW and 200Nm, 1088kg, 0-100km/h in 12.3 seconds – 3.6L/100km

Lexus CT200h ($39,990) – 1.8L petrol with hybrid electric motor, 100kW and 142Nm, 1465kg, 0-100km/h in 10.3 seconds – 4.1L/100km

MINI Cooper D ($34,750) – 1.6L TD/4, 82kW and 270Nm, 1090kg, 0-100km/ in 9.7 seconds – 3.8L/100km

Toyota Prius ($34,990) – 1.8L petrol with hybrid electric motor, 100kW and 142Nm, 1370kg, 0-100km in 10.4 seconds – 3.9L/100km

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion ($28,990) – 1.6L TD/4, 77kW and 250Nm, 1234kg, 0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds – 3.8L/100km

Volvo C30 DRIVe ($36,150) – 1.6L TD/4, 80kW and 250Nm, 1318kg, 0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds – 3.9L/100km




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