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Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic Titanium
Price: £16,795 Fuel: 85.6mpg CO2: 87g/km
We’re not far off a heavily facelifted Fiesta, featuring styling introduced on the Evos concept and Fiesta ST shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, so Ford’s sizeable downward push on CO2 emissions is a little unexpected so late on in the model cycle.
But it’s a shift which should futureproof the frugal Ford against forthcoming tax changes, safely putting it into the 14% sub-95g/km BiK banding which arrives next April. It also offers cost-conscious motorists a few more options when they drop into a Ford showroom.
The package of upgrades includes an automatic start/stop system, regenerative braking, optimised auxiliary systems, low rolling resistance tyres and a series of aerodynamic modifications to help improve the efficiency of the 1.6-litre TDCi engine.
These allow the Fiesta to drop to 87g/km, from 95g/km, while fuel efficiency is among the best in its class at 85.6mpg. But doing so doesn’t mean confining yourself to a single eco-friendly model, because Ford offers the Fiesta Econetic in entry-level Edge, popular Zetec and the top-spec Titanium trim tested here.
Nor does it mean driving something that feels flat. The Fiesta is renowned for its agility, and the lower ride height of the Econetic, aimed at reducing under-body drag, has the double benefit of sharpening the handling further.
The 1.6 TDCi engine is lively too, darting around town with ease but without ever feeling overworked at motorway speeds. There’s limited road noise or engine rumble and economy of 65mpg is easily achievable with a little restraint. Make no mistake, this isn’t a fast car, but it’s a good drive and genuinely thrifty too.
What helps here is the very attractive packaging. The Fiesta has become a strong-selling world car, dominating even North America with its chic styling and involving driving experience. But it’s also one of the prettiest superminis money can buy, with its large and aggressive front grille, creased bodywork and flared wheel arches. A leap forward compared to its too subtle predecessor.
The shame is that it’s on the verge of losing a little of that style. Ford’s new family face will be rolled out across the range starting with the production ST, and it’s less of an instant hit than the first generation mode. Drivers wanting a genuinely pretty small car with effortlessly high efficiency have only a few months to make the switch.
The Fiesta’s ability to offer the best bits of big and small cars have made it a real success story globally, and CO2-taxed Europe will welcome this low carbon addition to the range. With the option to have a highly specced version, it’s a great reason to downsize from the C-segment.