Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

17 Jan, 2013 6:45pm Paul Bond

Our verdict on the Ford Fiesta facelift in efficient 1.0 EcoBoost spec, as it arrives in UK showrooms


The Fiesta has always been brilliant to drive, and nothing has changed in that respect. But a fantastic new engine and bold new styling mean it’s now also one of the most stylish, efficient and refined car in the class. Gadgets like the SYNC system and Active City Stop keep the Fiesta at the cutting edge of technology, and once again Ford has set a new benchmark for the rest of the class to follow. It comes highly recommended.

Britain's best-seller is looking better than ever. Ford has given its Fiesta a thorough refresh inside and out, just in time to meet the challenge of new rivals like the Peugeot 208.

Setting the latest Fiesta apart are a smart five-bar chrome grille and slimmer headlamps that incorporate stylish LED strips for the first time. The lights are inspired by the Mondeo, and ensure the car looks bigger and wider than before. At the back, new light clusters add flair to the smart design, while our model’s Candy Blue paintjob looks great.

But Ford has saved the biggest changes for under the bonnet, with the introduction of the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. We’ve already tried the 123bhp version, but for our first drive on UK roads, we got behind the wheel of a 99bhp car.

No matter what the output, Ford predicts the three-cylinder turbo will be the most popular choice, and once you’re on the move it’s easy to see why. The engine stays remarkably smooth and quiet around town but, unlike the similarly sized engine in the Fiat Punto TwinAir, this superb refinement continues after you join the motorway. As a result, the Fiesta feels really grown-up.

Other signs of this supermini’s move upmarket are dotted about the cabin. A new gloss black ‘flow through’ insert joins together the dash and centre console, and ensures even the mid-spec Zetec model feels plusher inside.

Some common sense touches boost the quality feel – these include redesigned door handles to make the window switches easier to reach, plus the addition of a centre armrest. And while the plastics used still aren’t up to the same standard as those in a VW Polo, the gap is narrower.

Ford has also added some new gadgets, including the SYNC Bluetooth streaming system that pairs to your mobile. Plus, there’s MyKey – a personalised key that allows owners to alter settings like the traction control and maximum speed, which is ideal for parents wanting to keep tabs on teenage drivers. The Active City Stop autobrake system is also the first of its kind in this class.

Once it’s up to speed, the three-cylinder engine emits a characterful offbeat noise, while the five-speed box’s taller gearing and the supple suspension mean the Fiesta is still relaxing to drive. Even better, the stop-start system helps give the EcoBoost tax-free emissions – this engine is one of six in the range that promise CO2 figures below the 100g/km mark.

In fact, it’s difficult to find many faults – the controls are all superbly weighted and the nimble chassis and positive steering make it very involving.

The only fly in the ointment is the cost: the three-door Zetec is the cheapest Fiesta EcoBoost you can buy, at £13,645.

Still, when you consider that the car is better equipped and more powerful than any rival, this is a price worth paying.

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They have the tech but its the design that is questionable. One again the interior is a design that will not be in fashion for long. A lot of people gave the Peugeot a hard time for the gaping hole up front but this whale swallowing maw takes the cake. The previous model looked like it was designed to be a small car while this one seems to try and shout that its the Mondeo's little version..... but with the same grill. Its like watching your 8 year old daughter try on her mother's shoes.

Hideous copycat grille with a stance that is too "floaty" and 5 stars? That styling alone would have pulled the score down... "better looking than ever"... right!

Very true GT!

It seems pretty unfair the amount of criticism Peugeot received for years with thier big-mouth grill, but when Ford do something as equally brutal and in-cohesive they are considered stylish, maybe Peugeot were ahead of the game!

No doubting it's a great car technically and dynamically, but those puffer-fish looks aren't doing it for me.

"Offbeat noise" Coarse you mean

I can't quite put my finger on it but there is something that makes us buy this little Ford.
According to official figures, out of the 306,000 Fiestas Ford sold in Europe, Britons bought 109,000. That's more than one-third.
While we bought only 62,000 Golfs out of the 431,000 sold in Europe and 42,000 Polos out of the 288,000 sold in Europe.
Any thoughts?

65.7mpg !, knock 25 off that and you'll probably be in the ballpark.

Ooh ya mutha, look at that face!

'Bold new styling' aside it all looks good - until you look at the price. £13645 for a 3 door zetec model makes it no cheaper than an equivalent Audi A1. Get real Ford.

In the Spec, you forgot to list the only reason anyone would buy this car. What's the MPG on this baby?

Hi Horatio, It's in the spec box at the bottom of the review - 65.7mpg.

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My colleagues have Fiesta lease cars. The reality is that these cars feel really tinny, the ride - for the passenger - is jiggly and indifferent an best and the passenger seat is small and very unsupportive, the dashboard is truly ugly, looking like a rejected Curry's ghetto blaster design from 1990 (and the new B Max is even tinnier and uglier inside, although that gets rave reviews too) and the refinement is poor.
I just don't get this Ford thing at all. Uncomfortable low-set seat, noisy clattery Diesel engines, indifferent ride, and nasty pointy styling with a now obsolete gaping hole mouth. And the price is stupid for a tinny, ugly, uncomfortable Ford.
I'll stick with my ugly, solid, sensible and very comfortable and well laid out ten year old Doblo, which is always a joy to get back into after a trip in a Ford.

It's almost looking like the choice is moving towards either this 1.0L petrol engine at different power outputs, or the diesels. The price difference between both fuel types doesn't look very much... petrol engines at diesel prices.

Still waiting for for genuine data on real world fuel efficiency for Fords 1.0L turbo engine, long term running costs, maintenance costs, and life expectancy/mileage.

The official fuel economy might be 65.7 mpg, but look at the photo (9) of the trip computer. It shows only 34.7 was actually achieved on nearly half a tankful of fuel. That is pretty poor for a small car, even if it is driven hard. What is the point of 3 cylinder petrol engines if they do not give better economy than 4 cylinder ones? Finally, the grill on this car makes that on the Peugeot 207 look positively graceful.

Fuel consumption figures from Ford are joke. My wife's Focus 1.0 125bhp ecoboost is averaging 35.3 mpg with steady driving. The standard 1.6 model is reportedly bettering this on consumption.
This is around 20 mpg than the salesman told us. The best I have had is just over 45mpg sticking to 60mph on a motorway which is also 20 odd mpg under official figures..

I have the 125ps Titanium version. I get 43mpg in mixed driving. The thing is not to compare this to a diesel, no matter what Ford or a salesman might say, but compare it to a 1.6 petrol which is what it was always intended to replace. What you have is an unbelievably characterful engine with gearing that takes a bit of getting used to and excellent build quality. This is my first ford for many, many years and I'm totally in love with it. It's one of those cars you just want to get in and drive for no other reason than having fun behind the wheel. The Sony stereo is superb and the Bluetooth/Sync is so useful and fun to use. I looked at all the superminis before buying mine and if you want to buy a car with your head, buy a Kia rio, if you want to buy a car with your your head AND YOUR HEART, there's only one choice - this.

By the way - I love the Aston grille! Sorry!!!

Actually, no, it isn't. It's amazingly refined below 3,000rpm then, when you 'boot' it, it growls - a bit like a V8! but it doesn't become in any way harsh. It is an immensely fun drive, in fact, I doubt you'd have much more fun in the forthcoming ST version. All I can say is - try it!

Yes, my thought is that although we Brits like German build quality, we don't like their boring, same-old, same-old styling. the Ford has German build quality with a large dose of design flair and some bold, Meditteranean colours. And i don't care what anyone says - I love the new grille!

Can anyone tell me why this Eurojunk at 99bhp still has a 5 speed 'box? Also the word characterful gets used a lot now.

I have this car and easily get a calculated 48mpg with very mixed driving with 3 adults in the car. Long motorway runs are mid 50's easily. If you are getting bad fuel economy you are not driving it correctly deal with it.

I bought this little Fiesta for my partner four months ago and it is a fantastic little car. Even though I have an Audi S3 I often take the Fez as it is just so much fun to drive. The handling is just superb and would shame many 'hot' hatches and the engine really does deserve all the accolades it is getting. We love both the exterior and interior styling and the build quality has gone up a notch too as it is noticeably better than my friends pre-facelift model. It's at the point now where if you are going to buy a German car just for their supposed better build quality alone I don't think you'd couldn't justify the extra cash. The only negative criticism I could make is that I cannot quite seem to find the perfect driving position that suits me despite being average height and build. There is not enough height adjustment in the seat and no reach adjustment in the wheel, for me anyway. Oh, and the claimed fuel economy is laughable but then it's the same for most cars these days. Best I've seen is 60.3mpg in mixed driving being very, very careful. 50-52 is more like it with 46 if you like to use the nippy performance at times. Still, you'd have been happy with that out of a rattley diesel not so very long ago. From a car with refined petrol engine with so much go it really is outstanding.

Peugeot ditched the Wide Mouthed Frog look about 5 years ago. Ford been raiding the French makers styling throw outs?

Key specs

  • Price: £14,845
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol Turbo
  • Power: 99bhp
  • 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
  • Top speed: 112mph
  • Economy: 65.7mpg
  • C02: 99g/km
  • Equipment: SYNC, MyKey, 16-inch wheels, Quick Clear Screen, cruise control, auto lights and wipers
  • On sale: Now