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Ford Fiesta Econetic (2009) review

Published:02 February 2009

Ford Fiesta Econetic 2009
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

Ford’s gone green with the Fiesta, and added an Econetic version to the range. The usual green mods are present: low rolling-resistance tyres, lowered suspension, rear air deflectors, a modified ECU (peak torque is actually 6lb ft down on the standard engine), low-viscosity oil and a higher final drive. Oh yeah, and it’s got one of those annoying lights that reminds you to change up a gear (though not one for changing down).

For all that, you’ll pay a steep £12,445. That’s £1050 up on the equivalent 1.4 TDCi Style trim level and includes no alloys, air-con or heated front screen. For those, and a 1.6 engine without the green works, you’ll need to pay an extra £650 for Zetec trim.

Sounds like a lot. This Ford Fiesta Econetc better be good then.

Okay, well the good news starts with the headline CO2 output: it’s 98g/km, so this Fiesta falls into the free zone for road tax and London congestion charging. Its claimed 76.3mpg combined figure is up from the standard 1.6 engine’s 67.2mpg (only available on Zetec up) and, curiously, beats the Style 1.4’s claimed economy by the same amount.

It’s interesting that Ford has chosen the 1.6 for this model, rather than the 1.4. Perhaps somebody there has realised that, to make decent haste, you have to drive everywhere flat out with the smaller engine. That’s bad for economy and emissions. More likely is that the 1.4 isn’t available with a particulate filter.

Are you telling me this thing’s quick, then?

Of course not, but it’s certainly adequate. Follow the strict regime of the shift light and you’ll make modest progress but enjoy relative silence. Give it a poke and you’ll wake things up, getting under way with a satisfying shove at the expense of some diesel racket.

Despite the higher final drive, the Econetic doesn’t feel over-geared: it cruises quietly yet doesn’t lose speed on motorway inclines. And the gearshift has the same precise yet smooth and easy feel of any Fiesta.

>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our Ford Fiesta Econetic first drive

It’s a Fiesta, so I assume it’s great elsewhere?

Those funny tyres don’t seem to hinder the handling, which remains poised and chuckable. If anything, the ride seems slightly more compliant than in a 1.4 TDCi, and that’s despite lowered suspension.

There’s plenty of space, wide-opening doors, and a fabulous driving position that’s more akin to a full-size saloon’s than a supermini’s - try the Fiesta straight after a Ka and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

The only downside is the dour interior trim. With a grey dashboard finish, the ‘ingot’ (er, grey) centre console trim and black instrument binnacle look a bit low-rent, and the stripy seat fabric is nothing like as cool as the Zetec’s shiny dimpled stuff. Quality of finish is as decent as any Fiesta’s, but the atmosphere suggests that Ford reckons all the eco-weenies out there are pensioners. Give it the Zetec trim guys. This is supposed to be a youthful, forward-thinking car.

Verdict

Hmm. Not sure about this Econetic branding. Seems like a label that Ford can charge a bit more for, on the basis that buyers will think saving the planet is worth a premium. They might have a point, but it seems to me that there’s little reason why Ford can’t just make some of these changes standard across the range, so every car’s a little greener.

If Ford really wants to make a spectacle out of the Fiesta Econetic, it should get a bit cleverer and fit a stop/start system. Until then, make the most of your free road tax, because in real driving you’re unlikely to match that fabulous fuel economy figure – but feel free to prove me wrong.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Ford Fiesta Econetic

Specs

Price when new: £12,445
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1560cc 4-cyl 16v turbodiesel, 89bhp @ 4000rpm, 150lb ft @ 1750rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 12.3sec 0-62mph, 111mph, 76.3mpg, 98g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1158kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 3950/1722/1481

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