Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Review
The Ford Fiesta, but better!
- 2010 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic; 1.6-litre, turbo-diesel, four-cylinder; five-speed manual; five-door hatch: $24,990*
Ford flaunts its eco-credentials in the greenest car of all, the Fiesta ECOnetic. It’s fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and boasts five-star safety. It’s the Ford Fiesta we know, but better.
The Fiesta ECOnetic is the sixth model variant on offer in the Fiesta line-up and is available in one specification only, a five-door, 1.6-litre, turbo-diesel, five speed manual.
The 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine is a beautiful match for this car. It produces 66kW at 4000rpm and 200Nm at 1750rpm. It does fall 22kW short of its petrol manual siblings – the Fiesta CL, LX and Zetec – but makes up for it with an increase in torque, an extra 48Nm to be precise. You’ll find the power output more than adequate for this light car.
The ECOnetic stands out for several reasons, most notably for the fact it trumps both the Toyota Prius and the Mini Cooper D for fuel economy, proudly claiming the hot seat as Australia’s most fuel efficient car.
With a combined fuel consumption of just 3.7 litres per 100 kilometres, the ECOnetic is incredibly frugal… the most frugal. The ECOnetic delivered impressive fuel efficiency on a city-based test route, averaging 4.7 litres per 100km. Based on this, the combined cycle claim seems easily achievable. If your daily commute is highway based, you could be achieving as low as 3.2 litres per 100 kilometres. Fewer trips to the bowser can only be a good thing.
The ECOnetic’s CO2 emissions are also very low, at just 98 grams per kilometer. It is the only non-hybrid vehicle to produce emissions sub 100 grams. The Mini D comes close at just 104 grams. Toyota’s Prius comes in at 89 grams per kilometer.
To compliment the efficient engine, a few design changes also come into play to deliver these eco-delights. The ECOnetic’s 14 inch wheels are fitted with low rolling resistance tyres to reduce drag and engine strain; a lowered ride height, air deflectors and unique wheel covers help aerodynamics; and weight is reduced by the use of a tyre mobility kit in place of a spare wheel. If you’re happy to partake in a more prescribed drive experience to maximize fuel economy, a green shift indicator light in the instrument cluster signals the optimal point to change gear.
On top of all of this, the ECOnetic gains a five-star rating from ANCAP. Driver and front passenger airbags, head and thorax front side airbags, driver's knee airbag, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, and dynamic stability control with traction control and emergency brake assist complete a good safety package.
The five-speed manual gearbox is very nice, with smooth power delivery. Gear ratios are well spaced and the throw between gears is short. Handling the ECOnetic is just as nice. Steering is light and precise and offers adequate feedback and the three-spoke leather-wrap steering wheel feels nice in hand. The Fiesta ECOnetic is a great city car thanks to its petite proportions and simple manouvreability. The ECOnetic is an enjoyable and satisfying drive.
I found it easy to get a comfortable driving position and everything is easily accessed from the driver’s seat, however overall levels of comfort seem to decline as the size of passengers increases! At over six-feet tall, my passenger struggled to get comfortable – there’s not a great amount of leg room.
Forward and side visibility is good, but poor rearward visibility is a challenge – particularly when parking.
Second row passengers are comfortable, but also a little tight for leg room – particularly the centre passenger position. All three passengers get three-point seat belts, but the centre passenger has no head rest. Second row passengers have manual only windows, which for kids is apparently a tedious chore and archaic design!
The centre dash display of the ECOnetic is the same as other Fiestas - angular shapes and lots of plastics. While it’s all nicely placed and very clear, I think it’s already starting to date a little.
The ECOnetic has a good audio system, comprising; AM/FM radio, single CD with MP3 capability, six speakers, Bluetooth hands free with voice control system, auxiliary and USB audio input. The Bluetooth system is very simple to connect and to use.
You will be hard pressed to find a worthy competitor for the Fiesta ECOnetic - they are, well, almost non-existent. A spritely 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine, incredible fuel efficiency, the lowest CO2 emissions for a non-hybrid and five star safety - for under $25,000. The ECOnetic should be bolting out the door. If you're simply after a light car, check out our light car comparison which includes rivals such as the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. If you're after fuel efficiency, the Toyota Prius or Mini D are clear competitors, but you'll be forking out significantly more cash.
The ECOnetic shines in a league of its own, at least for now.
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