Ford Fiesta PowerShift vs small automatic rivals

24 Apr, 2014 9:45am

Can the Ford Fiesta PowerShift better the Toyota Yaris Hybrid and the Peugeot 208 automatics?

Few cars are better suited to an auto gearbox than superminis. The combination of a self-shifting transmission and compact dimensions makes these models perfect for the cut and thrust of stop-start city driving.

Yet they’ve never proven particularly popular. Ford aims to change this with its PowerShift box in the Fiesta. It’s a six-speed dual-clutch transmission 
that promises unrivalled smoothness, performance and efficiency. But it’s not the only automatic transmission option.

Ford Fiesta review

Toyota Yaris review

Peugeot 208 review

Peugeot has persisted with its EGC single-clutch automated manual in the 208, which is now available in eco-friendly e-VTi trim, complete with stop-start. Another option for buyers 
is CVT – this compact, efficient set-up was designed for small cars, but hasn’t been as popular as twin-clutch systems.

Toyota has kept faith with it, though, combining it with hybrid power to give the Yaris supermini a real Unique Selling Point. So which of our small cars is the automatic choice for victory and which will find itself washed up in defeat?

Click the links above to read each review, and then read on for our verdict.

Head-to-Head

On the move

None of these boxes is as smooth or responsive as Volkswagen's seven-speed DSG. But the PowerShift comes close, plus it works well with the punchy EcoBoost engine. What makes the Fiesta stand out is the sparkling handling and cushioned ride. In comparison, the Peugeot is hobbled by its transmission, which spoils an otherwise good driving experience. The thrashy, lifeless Toyota is effective, but unengaging

Toyota-Yaris-rear-detail

Running costs

If you’re keeping an eye on the bottom line, it’s not hard to be swayed by the Toyota. It has the lowest emissions, the best economy and the strongest residuals. Plus, while it isn’t available with pre-paid servicing, a standard five-year warranty takes the sting out of repairs.

Equipment

The range-topping Yaris Trend gets a touchscreen and keyless start, while the Peugeot has automatic lhts and wipers plus a DAB radio. The Fiesta Titanium X features a reversing camera, while Zetec and above have heated windscreens.

Verdict

1st place: Ford Fiesta PowerShift

Ford-Fiesta-front-shot

It's another victory for the Ford Fiesta, but it’s not a dominant win.
 While the PowerShift is the best box
 of this bunch, it lags behind the Volkswagen DSG. Elsewhere, the Ford is a class act, delivering a great driving experience, eager engine and decent practicality

2nd place: Toyota Yaris Hybrid

You'd struggle to call the Toyota Yaris exciting, but it’s well suited to the smooth CVT box and penny-pinching hybrid powertrain. And if you’re looking for a simple runabout, it takes some beating. We just wish Toyota included more standard kit.

3rd place: Peugeot 208 e-VTi

Peugeot-208-front

The otherwise impressive Peugeot 208 is undermined by its hopeless EGC box. The automated manual delivers clunky, ponderous shifts, making the Peugeot far from relaxing to drive. Still, an attractive price tag and generous kit make it appealing.

Figures

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Zetec Powershift Toyota Yaris Hybrid Active Peugeot 208 1.2 eVTi EGC Allure
On the road price/total as tested £15,795/£15,795 15,595/£15,595 14,795/£14,795
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £6,271/39.7% £7,376/47.3% £6,081/41.1%
Depreciation £9,524 £8,219 £8,714
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £472/£944 £342/£684 £363/£727
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,693/£2,821 £1,673/£2,788 £1,897/£3,162
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 11/£267/C/£30 10/£246/A/£0 10/£246/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £550 (3yrs/36k) £139/£209/£139 £16.99pm (3yrs/30k)
Length/wheelbase 3,969/2,489mm 3,905/2,510mm 3,962/2,538mm
Height/width 1,495/1,722mm 1,510/1,695mm 1,460/1,739mm
Engine 3cyl in-line/999cc 4cyl in-line/1,497cc 3cyl in-line/1,199cc
Peak power/revs  99/6,000 bhp/rpm 99/4,800 bhp/rpm 82/5,750 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs  170/4,100 Nm/rpm 111/3,600 Nm/rpm 118/2,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission  6-spd twin-clutch/fwd CVT/fwd 5-spd auto man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 42 litres/foam 36 litres/foam 50 litres/foam
Boot capacity 290/974 litres 286/786* litres 285/1,076 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,122/453/900kg 1,150/415kg/N/A 980/560/825kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 10.1 metres/N/A 9.4 metres/0.29Cd 11.2 metres/0.29Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000/1yr 5yrs (100k)/1yr 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs 
Service intervals/UK dealers 12,500 (1yr)/781 10,000 (1yr)/181 12,5000 (1yr)/300
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 29th/23rd 9th/3rd 31st/26th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist  91/86/65/71/5 stars 89/81/60/86/5 stars 88/78/61/83/5 stars
0-60/30-70mph 9.6/9.4 secs 11.6/12.4 secs 13.8/13.5 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th/kickdown 3.9/5.6/3.5 secs N/A/N/A/4.5 secs 6.2/9.1/4.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/kickdown 9.1/13.0/5.9 secs N/A/N/A/7.9 secs 14.7/N/A/8.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph  112mph/2,500rpm 103mph/N/A 111mph/3,500rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph  49.7/35.1/9.1m 49.8/36.7/9.2m 49.8/36.2/8.7m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph 65/45/62/72dB 60/52/63/72dB 65/43/62/70dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 41.7/9.2/385 miles 42.2/9.4/334 miles 37.2/8.3/409 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  42.8/72.4/57.7mpg 91.0/81.0/81.0mpg 62.8/72.4/68.9mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  9.4/15.9/12.7mpl 20.0/17.8/17.8mpl 13.8/15.9/15.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 156/114g/km/15% 155/79g/km/11% 175/95g/km/12%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Seven/£425^/no Seven/no/no Six/£270/no
Air-conditioning/leather/heated seats Yes/no/£175 Yes/no/no Y/£1,110/£1,110^^
Heated windscreen/stab/cruise ctrl Yes/yes/no No/yes/no No/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go £495/no/no £495/no/no £495/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth £500/y/£100/yes No/no/no/no £400/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

"...Another option for buyers 
is CVT – this compact, efficient set-up was designed for small cars, but hasn’t been as popular as twin-clutch systems. Toyota has kept faith with it, though..."

For the love of God, Toyota Hybrids *do not* use CVT gearboxes...it's a power split device... I grant you that Toyota sometimes confusingly call it a CVT, but it simply isn't.

It's a fixed ratio single gear epicyclic arrangement to blend power from the engine and electric motors. In no way is it a typical CVT with a rubber band and cones, which you imply time and time again...

It's chief advantage is that there is no direct connection between the ICE and the road, without even using a clutch, so the road speed has no direct bearing on the engine speed - the engine revs depending on demand for power/battery charging from the ECU.

This also means the torquey electric motors are working to compensate for the (lacking in torque but efficient) Atkinson cycle that Toyota uses, which would be impossible with a standard autobox or manual box.

So there, you've been told! :) On that basis I'd pick the Toyota every time, as these hybrid systems are rock solid in terms of reliability (as Driver Power shows) unlike the automated manuals it's been compared with.

Does seem a bit silly to keep referencing to the 7 spd DSG and saying its better than the Ford unit and also making out that small cars have never been popular with autos and are just kind of taking off.

The VW range, be it SEAT, Skoda, VW, Audi all have had DSG's for a while and sell quite well also with a decent engine choices

I find most others manufacturers seem to knock out 1 auto model just to have 1 in the brochure, usually a 20year old 4 spd auto with a tiny N/A petrol engine.

You should have had a Ibiza or Polo in this test really and im sure the 1.2 TSI and 7spd DSG would have easily been a match for the Fiesta.

AEX 1,341
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