FORD’S TAX HAVEN
Misery and downright doom and gloom is the mood of the moment, so it’s always heartening to report on the odd ray of sunshine in a deeply depressed market. Ford’s new Fiesta, launched to much acclaim last autumn is back in the headlines again, with a tax-beating, ECOnetic version of the now familiar small hatch. Producing just 98g/km of CO2, which is a new class low, it narrowly beats the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo by just 1 gramme of CO2, and means that Fiesta ECOnetic buyers avoid paying any kind of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) to the Government. Trips to the fuel station should also be infrequent, thanks to a combined fuel consumption figure of 76.3mpg. And all of this is achieved, not with a low power, stripped out poverty special, but with the 89bhp 1.6 TDCi engine, as already seen in the previous Fiesta, Fusion and Focus, and also used in many Citroën’s and Peugeot’s. In this guise, there have been tweaks made to the engine calibration and to the final drive ratio on the gearbox. In addition, the suspension has been lowered by 10mm, rear air deflectors and an undershield to aid aerodynamics have been fitted and there’s low rolling resistance tyres. And to eek out every extra mile per gallon, there’s a green light on the dashboard, to tell you when to change gear, so that you can maximise economy. So how does this all translate out on the road? The answer is simple – very well indeed. The Fiesta has been famed for a great combination of handling and ride and this remains, despite the lowered suspension. The steering is very responsive, giving good levels of feedback that seems to encourage you to drive keener. The smooth, positive gearbox is great to use, and the overall perception of the package is one of surefootedness and refinement. Inside, the dashboard is modern, with nice quality plastics and textures, and all of the controls are intuitive to use, with Ford citing the Motorola Razr mobile phone as inspiration for the design and user friendliness.
The ECOnetic comes with one level of equipment, which roughly equates to Style specification. This means electric and heated door mirrors, an MP3 compatible CD player and electric front windows are fitted as standard, along with a full compliment of safety equipment. Air conditioning, a heated front windscreen, ESP, Bluetooth handsfree system and curtain airbags are all available as an optional extra.
- Engine: 1560cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 89bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 148lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 750kg
- Combined Consumption: 76.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 98g/km (A)
- 0-62mph: 12.3secs
- Max speed: 111mph
- Insurance Group: 4