Brit show debut for green Fiesta

30 Jun, 2008 12:23pm Sam Hardy

Eco-friendly Fiesta unveiled at ExceL will have ultra-high economy and low emissions.

The greenest Fiesta ever is nearly here! Ford is getting set to unleash an ECOnetic version of its all-new supermini. And it’s going to be one of the stars of the blue oval’s stand at this month’s British Motor Show, boasting economy of nearly 80mpg and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.

With spiralling petrol prices and ever-tightening emissions-based taxation, small, fuel-efficient cars have never been more important – which makes this Fiesta’s introduction crucial.

Following in the footsteps of the Focus ECOnetic – tested in Issue 1,010 – the Fiesta is the next step in Ford’s plan to offer super-green versions of each of its models, just as Volkswagen is doing with its Bluemotion brand.

Power comes from a 1.6-litre TDCi turbodiesel, available with 89bhp. Unlike VW’s Bluemotion range, no changes are made to the engine’s ECU, but thanks to a lengthened final drive the five-speed manual gearbox’s ratios are longer than those in the standard model.

Small but significant tweaks to the car’s aerodynamics allow it to slip through the air with less drag. This makes easier work for the engine.

Official pictures will be released just ahead of the British Motor Show, but the Fiesta will feature a modified front bumper and lower grille, with side skirts and a neat rear spoiler. The radiator grille will be blanked off to manage air flow more efficiently, while special wheel trims finish the visual changes.

Thanks to a programme of weight-saving measures, the standard next-generation Fiesta will tip the scales at less than the outgoing model, and the ECOnetic version will take this a step further using lightweight materials. Engineers are likely to lower the suspension, too, while narrow tyres will help reduce rolling resistance. The Fiesta ECOnetic decreases friction further by using a low-viscosity gearbox oil, developed in partnership with BP.

Together with a diesel particulate filter fitted as standard, the Fiesta ECOnetic emits only 98g/km of CO2. That puts it in band A – making it exempt from road tax.

And under the current system, it will sidestep the London congestion charge, too. It will also save owners even more money with incredibly low fuel consumption, returning around 75mpg on the combined cycle.

However the Fiesta ECOnetic won’t skimp on equipment, with air-con, curtain airbags, a CD stereo and electric windows all fitted as standard.

lus, of course, it promises the best drive in the supermini class, with direct steering, a finely judged ride and class-leading agility in the corners.

Ford hasn’t confirmed when the Fiesta ECOnetic will go on sale or how much it will cost, but it’s likely to appear in showrooms before the end of the year with the three-door carrying a price tag of around £11,500. The five-door model will command a £500 premium.

With SEAT set to launch an Ibiza ECOmotive with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions in 2009, and a new version of VW’s Polo Bluemotion arriving within the next 18 months, the Fiesta ECOnetic will not be short of competitors.

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