The 2012 1.6 Zetec ECOnetic is very different from the Ford Fiesta that first poked its headlights out of the Dagenham factory doors way back in 1976. Today’s fifth generation, five door ‘supermini’ is an ultra-modern car in terms of looks, and its green credentials are among the best.
The Zetec ECOnetic’s main stand out features are its extremely low emissions, (just 87g/km CO2), and exceptionally good Miles Per Gallon. The official figures are 91.1mpg for extra-urban use, and 74.3 urban (85.6 combined). In everyday use, you’ll find these will be a tad lower, even so, if you’re a big traveller they can soon add up to big savings. In addition it will save you money on road tax, and it’s also congestion charge exempt.
Which is good, both times.
General public opinion is divided as to whether black is a good colour for cars. Limousines, yes, funeral cars, yes, the paint job on the car I’ve just been driving is called Panther Black (£495.00 extra). It has a cool speckled finish that glistens in the sun and when the car is clean it looks amazing. It only looks clean for 30mins, but very flash all the same.
Visually, its clean simple lines make it a distinctive and attractive car, a fact diluted only by the amount of Fiesta’s already out and about on the road. Inside it has all mod cons, Bluetooth, USB input, an excellent air conditioning system, good stereo and CD Player, and a sensible and clear instrument panel. Only power fold mirrors, the special paint and reverse sensors will cost you extra (£300). All round visibility is fairly good, I’m 6ft 2 and there is plenty of headroom too.
The steering wheel is the perfect size, plus at low speeds it’s very light, making it easy to park and change lanes around the urban jungle. Thanks to the new Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system, as your speed increases the steering changes to become noticeably firmer to increase handling, and the system will adjust the heavier your foot gets.
In practice it works well and there is still plenty of feel to it even at the higher speeds. This will suit the more lively of drivers out there.
The top speed is 111mph, and it’s robust enough to be suitable for long motorway stints without a complaint. The slightly gruff sounding 1.6 engine will never let you forget it’s a diesel, but I wonder if there are people who still find this an issue in 2012?
The 5 speed manual gearbox is gutsy enough for everyday use, although 0-62 (100km/h) is a slightly sluggish 12.5 seconds. The suspension is soft enough to keep all your eggs in one basket over the speed bumps in Asda, it’s cheap to run and very comfortable. My only question mark would be over price.
At £15,595 there are less expensive alternatives, the equivalent petrol version of the Fiesta is £12,495, and the Fiesta Studio is available from just £9,795. Meanwhile the Kia Rio CRDI ‘2’ Eco might have a smaller engine and less spec, but it’s also nearly £3,000 cheaper.
Ford Fiesta 1.6 Zetec ECOnetic
Anti Lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA)
ESP Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
Twin Halogen reflector headlights
Power: 95 PS
94 bhp @ 3,800 rpm
Top Speed: 111mph
0-62: 12.5 seconds
For more info visit www.ford.co.uk/Cars/Fiesta