The Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi looks like it could be the ultimate eco supermini. The Fiesta has already won our 2013 Supermini of the Year award, so this diesel-powered package with its CO2 emissions of 98g/km and average economy of 76.3mpg promises to be fun as well as impressively cheap to run.
However, it does have an even more efficient stablemate in the shape of the Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic. This more powerful engine achieves 87g/km and 85.6mpg, but costs around 1100 more than the 1.5 TDCi. We've also criticised the 1.6 TDCi for its inflexible power delivery and shortage of refinement, so the 1.5 TDCi could well prove to be the best diesel Fiesta in the range.
What's the 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi like to drive?
The good news is the 1.5 TDCi is much more refined than the gruff 1.6 TDCi. The smaller engine spins up willingly, and while some diesel clatter does intrude into the cabin under hard acceleration, the dirge fades into the background during most types of driving.
Despite relatively short gearing, you need to work the engine hard if you want to make sprightly progress. There's a noticeable boost in power as the turbo kicks in, but not enough to spoil the general enjoyment you can wring from the Fiesta's supple, responsive chassis.
Ultimately, the Fiesta 1.5 TDCi still suffers from some of the gripes that characterise other diesel Fiestas. It isn't as refined or as smooth as 1.0 Ecoboost petrol, for example, although it will deliver much better real-world economy than that engine and is still a pleasant thing to drive.
What's the 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi like inside?
The 1.5 TDCi engine is available in three- and five-door form, and there's no difference to the interior of the 1.5 TDCi over the rest of the Fiesta range.
That means the materials on the top of the dashboard are soft and dense, with quality tailing off lower down and on the insides of the doors.
Zetec trim gets you a centre console plastered with too many similar-looking buttons, making it unnecessarily complicated to control the stereo.
An extra 200 (or stepping up to Titanium trim) gets you a slightly more user-friendly layout, along with Bluetooth for making hands-free calls and streaming music from your phone.
The Fiesta's driving position is pretty much perfect. There's two-way steering wheel adjustment and a decent amount of seat adjustment. The pedals are well positioned, too.
Rear legroom is on the tight side for adults, although there is a decent boot and you can flip the rear seatbacks forwards when you want to carry longer loads. However, the rear seatbase is fixed, so the seatbacks lie at a pronounced angle when they're folded down.
Should I buy one?
If you're after a diesel supermini and like the Fiesta's light-footed handling and pliant ride, this is the version for you.
It might fall short of the 1.6 TDCi's outstanding economy figures, but it's substantially cheaper, is a more enjoyable thing to drive and will still be extremely economical in everyday driving.
What Car? says...
Engine size 1.5-litre diesel
Price from 13,495
Torque 137lb ft
0-62mph 13.5 seconds
Top speed 104mph
Fuel economy 76.3mpg
By Vicky Parrott