Blue oval baby claims best economy figures of our contenders

Even though this Fiesta falls some way short of its official combined economy in the real world, it’s still one of the most efficient models currently on sale – and there are no compromises to be made.

The green version of Ford’s new Fiesta comes with the kind of report that would earn it an A* in economy school! On paper, no rival this side of a hybrid can match it.

Official CO2 emissions of 98g/km mean free road tax and huge savings for company drivers – but what should get you thinking is the 76.3mpg combined economy. If you could match that figure in the real world, you’d cover 12,000 miles for a mere £718. However, in our test, the Fiesta fell short of this by nearly one-fifth…

On our trip, the Ford managed an average of 62.3mpg. To keep the test fair, we stuck rigidly to all speed limits, excluded our test track runs from the calculations and concentrated on driving with maximum efficiency at all times. Most of our 300-mile route across the south of England was on 60-70mph roads, while as we approached the Exmoor coastline, conditions changed to include steep hills and twists and turns. The route was designed to reflect a typical working week for a small car, and while the Fiesta couldn’t match its maker’s combined figure, it was still a frugal performer.

With diesel now costing just over £1 per litre on average, the trip set us back £21.98. That puts the Ford just behind the Polo BlueMotion, which managed 66.8mpg and completed our journey for £20.50 – although given the VW’s £1,170 price premium, it could be a false economy…

Where the Ford couldn’t be beaten was for comfort and enjoyment at the wheel. You sit low in the Fiesta, with plenty of adjustment in the driving position. And while the small steel rims do nothing for the looks, they enhance the five-door’s great ride, making it a strong long-distance cruiser.

When we reached the end of the dual carriageways and turned on to Somerset’s more challenging A-roads, the Fiesta was equally adept. The steering is perfectly weighted, while through corners the car delivers the best body control in this test. What’s more, even though the gearing is tall, the 89bhp engine provides enough torque to pull the Fiesta up most hills without the need to press too hard on the accelerator or change into a lower ratio.

So once you’re inside the ECOnetic, you get all the benefits of the Fiesta without any dynamic compromises. Buy the three-door version of Ford’s green newcomer, and you’ll pay £12,445, while the more versatile five-door weighs in at £12,945. Only the Polo and the more desirable Alfa Romeo MiTo carry bigger price tags in this test, although ECOnetic buyers will make a £650 saving over those who choose the 1.6-litre TDCi Zetec model.

As long as you’re not expecting to average the 76mpg Ford claims, then, you won’t be disappointed by this Fiesta.

Details

Chart position: 1WHY: No other mainstream car on sale at the moment has a lower official CO2 output.

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