With the Fiesta Econetic, Ford has turned their classy light car offering into the most fuel-efficient car currently in our market. This gives it bragging rights over hybrid models including, as Ford cheekily point out in their ads, the recall-embattled Toyota Prius.
Its specially calibrated turbo-diesel engine undercuts the Prius’s official combined consumption of 3.9 litres/100 km by a slim 0.2 litres/100 km. But price-wise it undercuts the Toyota by a far more significant amount – more than $15,000 based on the Ford’s current ‘drive-away’ pricing.
That said, Suzuki’s fuel sipper (4.8 litres/100 km), the arguably less endearing Alto, is about half the Ford’s price. By light car standards, Econetic is one of the dearer offerings. However, it shares equipment and safety features with the premium Fiesta model, the Zetec.
The small Ford’s economical ways don’t mean putting up with tardy performance though. The turbo-diesel engine pulls quite well, especially in the mid-range and feels at home trundling around town or up the highway. A ‘green’ shift indicator light shows when to up-shift the five-speed manual box for best economy. There’s no auto version currently.
Weight-saving measures mean the spare wheel has been ditched in favour of a can of sealant and a mini compressor. Despite riding on smaller 14 inch steel wheels shod with low-rolling-resistance rubber, Econetic still retains nimble fun-to-drive handling.