The Ford Fiesta is rapidly heading towards a face-lift, but even in its current guise, the 1.6 TDCi Econetic is one of our eco-stars of 2012.
The Econetic’s 1.6-litre diesel engine produces a relatively modest 94bhp, although its turbocharger gives it enough low-down shove for most situations. The Econetic badge means low-rolling-resistance tyres, engine stop-start, a redesigned air-conditioning system, and a gearshift indicator to encourage efficient driving.
Ford has also played around with the gearing to improve fuel economy further, but thankfully, the engine is flexible enough to cope with this.
Nor has the work on efficiency gone to waste, because the greenest Fiesta returns average economy of 85.6mpg and emits just 87g/km of CO2 – enough for it to qualify for 13% company car tax (the lowest possible figure for a diesel). Our test, worked out on British roads and in a mixture of urban and motorway traffic, gives the car an average of 62.1mpg – some way off its claimed figure, but still excellent for a vehicle of this size and practicality.
There’s room inside for four adults, access to the rear seats is fine in the five-door model, the cabin finish is acceptable and the boot capacity is on a par with rivals such as the VW Polo.
As ever, though, the Fiesta’s strongest point is its handling, which is still the benchmark for the class. It’s agile and its steering is precise, and while the ride is occasionally a little firm, it’s a very well judged balance for British roads.
Best of all, none of this appears to have been badly compromised in the name of fuel efficiency – which means you get a supermini that’s both great to drive and easy on the environment. We’d like it to be a little cheaper, and for the engine to be a little more refined – but this is far too convincing a package to