First UK Drive

The Ford Fiesta Econetic among Britain’s greenest cars. Emitting just 98g/km of CO2, it undercuts the Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion and Skoda Fabia Greenline by 1g/km.

That might not be much, but it is worth plenty of bragging rights, and the fact that the Ford Fiesta is one of our favourite cars should mean the Ford Fiesta Econetic is also Britain’s best eco car.

We sent Stuart Milne to find out.

There are now plenty of ultra-efficient diesel cars on the road, and all offer similar features to help keep fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions low.

Ford’s latest and greenest effort is no different, packing the lowered suspension setup from the Fiesta Zetec S, aerodynamic bodywork, a modified engine computer, low rolling resistance tyres, a gearshift indicator and lengthened gearing to enable the car to travel at speed with less strain on the engine.

And unlike the VW Group pair of Polo and Fabia, Ford’s engine is refined at tickover, and at speed.

Hot hatch suspension

Naturally, the Econetic inherits the standard car’s sublime handling, although drivers will experience less grip from the eco tyres and a slightly stiffer ride from the suspension’s hot hatch origins.

But little of this matters to the environmentally – or cost – conscious motorist.

The fact is its 98g/km of CO2 means owners will pay no road tax and Ford claims an impressive average of 76.3mpg, with a theoretical 88.3mpg possible on the open road.

And although these figures are calculated in controlled circumstances, our test drive around Herfordshire recorded an average of 55mpg. If we had adopted some ‘hypermiling’ techniques, or followed the gear shift indicator more closely, another 10mpg would easily be possible and even more for the committed eco-driver.

Those figures compare with 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 110g/km for the standard 1.6-litre diesel Fiesta.

Inside, the Econetic equipment levels are similar to that of the Style+ model but air-conditioning is an optional extra priced at £490, and those eco tyres are fitted to unattractive pressed steel wheels with plastic trims.

View our Ford Fiesta Econetic car review

But perhaps the biggest limiter to the Fiesta Econetic’s appeal is its price. For a car which starts at just over £8,500, the £11,594 Econetic is an expensive way to save money. For buyers with genuine environmental concerns, the reduction in CO2 emissions is certainly a winner.

So can it stake a claim to be Britain’s best eco car? Its emissions are now undercut by cars such as the Seat Ibiza Econetic, but it offers the best drive, a reasonable level of equipment and refinement and is the most stylish. By almost every measure, the Ford Fiesta Econetic should be the first choice on any eco car buyers’ list.

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi
Price as tested: £11,594
Price range: £8,695 – £13,695
Date tested: January 2009
Road tester: Stuart Milne