First drive: Ford Fiesta TDCi Econetic

  • Green, but not boring
  • Changes haven't spoiled the car
  • Cost is an issue, though
Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic 3dr
Price: from £11,595
On sale: Now
You’ll like: High economy; low CO2
You won’t: Firm ride; costly to buy

Step forward Ford’s new Fiesta Econetic – a car designed to help you save planet Earth, but for once you’ll have fun doing it.

Why fun? Well, green cars are usually a bit like medicine – they’re touted as a cure-all for the world’s ills, but they don’t taste terribly good because they’re so compromised by the changes that make them planet-friendly.

The Econetic is off to a good start because it has the superb Ford Fiesta as its basis. Ford has fitted lowered sports suspension, low-rolling-resistance tyres, made aerodynamic tweaks and reprogrammed the engine’s electronics to make the car use less fuel and produce less CO2.

Still a Fiesta?
The question is, have the changes spoiled the Fiesta? In a word: no. The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine is smooth and quiet, no matter how hard you’re working it. It’s a punchy unit, too, although things don’t start to become interesting until the turbo starts to spin at around 1800rpm. Still, the gearbox is a joy to use.

That sports suspension has a slightly adverse effect on the ride, only to the extent that you find the Econetic jiggling around when you hit any nasty urban bumps, whereas the standard Fiesta is more adept at dealing with ruts.

The cost of economy
While the Econetic does do a load more miles on every gallon of diesel, it costs a great deal more than our favourite petrol-engined 1.25 Zetec 5dr model. You’d have to do thousands of miles before the car would break even. Add in the fact that diesel costs significantly more than petrol, and you’ll have to do even more miles to make the financial case balance out.

To cap it all, the petrol car’s even tastier to drive.

What Car? says
Extra green and good to drive, but costly

Engine size 1.6 TD
Price from £11,595
Power 89bhp
0-62mph 12.3sec
Top speed 111mph
Economy 76.3mpg
CO2 g/km/tax 98/13%

Insurance group 4
Airbags 5
Doors 3/5
Seats 5
Colours 13

Likely discount: It might be new, but dealers are already willing to knock off around £700

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