Ford raises the bar in what is hands down one of the best engines I’ve tested.
Early in 2013, the new Ford Fiesta made its appearance, which brought with it the new 1-litre EcoBoost engine derivative. Besides updates to the styling, safety and features, the updated range features the most recent winner of International Engine of the Year, and you’re in for a surprise.
New Ford Fiesta 1-litre Ecoboost review by John BealeEngine
With the move to smaller capacity turbocharged units in full swing, the 1-litre 3-cylinder unit develops 92kW and 170NM, which is on par, and betters most 1.6-litre engines it competes against. Yes, a 1-litre turbocharged unit! A familiar, if not Porsche like transverse mounted thrum emits into the cabin on hard acceleration, and it sounds great! There is very little noticeable turbo lag from 1st gear, however rolling second gear acceleration requires a heavy foot to keep the unit from stalling. That said, it’s the perfect little unit for city driving with just enough torque and power to zip through traffic. Thankfully, you don’t have to trundle along on the highway, with the 5 speed manual gearbox making a surprisingly good fit with tighter gearing keeping access to torque curve just right.
Fuel economy is supposed to be another big benefit of the 1-litre unit, with Ford claiming 4.3l/100km on a combined cycle, thanks to the size of the unit as well as standard start-stop technology which switches off the engine when idling at standstill. Noticeably, with such a small unit, the air-conditioning has to be switched off for the start-stop system to work. This all said, the consumption figures quoted by Ford are going to be hard to match. I couldn’t get below 7.6l/100km on a combined cycle with majority highway driving, however did see the instantaneous consumption get down in the mid 5’s when cruising middle lane on the highway, so might be possible on long journeys. You’ll get just over 550km’s out on a tank if you hardly touch the pedal on the right.
Ride and Handling
As with all Fiestas the ride is the surprise. Ford has spent a lot of money developing a rather sporty chassis, which can be seen in the ST variant launched earlier last week. Comfortable over the bumpy stuff, but stiff enough when throwing her into corners, the balance to the suspension is where it pips the competition. As well planted as the Polo in every way. Power steering is light but communicates well without feeling as disconnected from anything in the front as the Koreans. Ventilated disc brakes up front with drum brakes rear (odd), featuring ASC( Traction control), ABS, EBD as well as Hill-Hold assist, most of which are options or not available in competing units.
The interior is typical Fiesta, hard touch plastics abound, but most everything except for smaller flaps and lids feel quality to the touch. In Trend specification, cloth seats, electric mirrors and windows, air-conditioning and Ford’s excellent SYNC system which provides Bluetooth and voice control, is a dream. Central locking, steering wheel controls, and Ford’s programmable MyKey help ease of access. The Ford Fiesta also boasts a 5-star Euro-NCAP crash test rating, and unlike the competition offers 7 airbags as standard. Definitely focus to a younger market here, giving everything they demand from an entertainment / tech perspective. Rear seating capacity was on par with the likes of the Polo, and the boot fitted larger luggage well, what with it being deeper into the floor-bed.
Ford Fiesta 1-litre Ecoboost conclusionNo more 1.6-petrol, as this 1-litre turbo now fills that gap. South Africans will have to get that ‘bigger is better’ mentality out of their heads, but once you've tried the engine you’ll be sold. Price is the only thing that’s out of place here, with the Trend model tested starting at R211 200. It’s at a bit of a disadvantage as it prices against larger hatchbacks (Auris, Focus, Civic), with less specification.
If you’re willing to pay the premium for this excellent engine, you’ll be sacrificing on size of vehicle, but that’s your decision to make. A 4-yr 60 000km service plan is standard.