Ford’s 1.0 Litre EcoBoost petrol engine was this week given the 2013 International Engine of the Year award, which reflects the motoring industry’s new found passion for eco friendly technology in more than just concept vehicles. The engine, which features direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and a sophisticated turbo charger, delivers amazing performance and fuel efficiency, with a top speed of 112mph and average consumption of a miserly 65.7 mpg.
We took delivery of a test Ford Fiesta 1.0 Litre EcoBoost to test out the claims, and found the car to be an absolute delight to drive, and incredibly responsive both in town and on the open road. So much so that it was easy to forget that the engine powering the vehicle is actually small enough to fit into the overhead locker on an airplane.
The car purrs at all but motorway speeds, and if there was a slight problem it was in the fact that the long legged gearing system means that city traffic demands more gear shifting than other less nimble rivals. We found ourselves constantly trying to find a happy place between 2nd and 4th for most speed limited areas, where with other cars you could settle down in a specific gear for longer stretches of road.
Those quibbles apart, this car is definitely a whole new marker in the fight to find an acceptable compromise between frugal driving and performance. The start-stop technology, which turns the motor off at traffic lights and restarts it automatically with a press of the clutch, coupled with the surprisingly nimble acceleration (0-62mph in 11.2 secs) means that most drivers will find there’s not much to complain about when it comes to the running costs or practicality.
The Fiesta model has long been a favourite of the motoring press and the public, combining as it does hatchback convenience with small car drivability, and the EcoBoost definitely continues the trend. The model we drove was the Econetic, which combines the tiny engine with regenerative braking (Ford calls it Smart Regenerative Charging) which conserves battery power by ‘adapting the charge going into the battery according to the way the vehicle is being driven’. This would explain the very chunky battery under the hood.
Our test vehicle also had a range of optional extras included, such as rear parking sensors, electronic folding door mirrors , Bluetooth sync coupled with automatic emergency services alert in case of an accident, and MyKey, which is an innovative form of computer controlled key, which limits speeds and driving behaviour for youngsters using the parental vehicle. You can check out our impressions of the vehicle on the road in the video below.
We have to say that the idea of a supermini level car costing over £14,000 doesn’t sit well with our expectations of this genre, but if your goal is to compete with Prius drivers and other rather supercilious eco drivers on your street with something that not only offers better mileage but also begs to be driven, then this is definitely a worthy option. The fact that it attracts zero road tax in the UK and zero Congestion Charge in London only adds to the fun.
Apparently Ford are planning on doubling the production of this type of engine and the associated models which use it over the next few years, which is going to lead to an interesting tussle between the ‘new tech’ electric and hybrid pushers and the conventionally powered vehicles marques, but if this example is anything to go by, the battle is far from over.
Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 Litre EcoBoost
Five door hatchback supermini
Max Power: 100PS
Combined MPG: 65.7 mpg
Top Speed: 112 mph
0-62 mph: 11.2 secs
Price on the road: £14,245.00