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Fuel-sipping Ford Fiesta just two months away

Eco challenge: The diesel Ford Fiesta Econetic will be launched only in five-door hatch guise in Australia.

Ford to roll out Fiesta Econetic in next month’s Global Green Car Challenge

29 Sep 2009

FORD Australia will demonstrate the fuel-efficiency of its first dedicated green car, the Fiesta Econetic, in next month’s Global Green Challenge ahead of its release here in December.

A pre-production version of the most frugal Fiesta will take part in the high-profile international green vehicle event, formerly known as the World Solar Challenge, from Darwin to Adelaide between October 24 and 31.

The Fiesta Econetic will go on sale in Australia a month later, as promised by Ford Australia president Marin Burela at the 2009 Melbourne motor show in February, when the most efficient Fiesta made its Australian debut alongside the facelifted Focus, Ranger and Territory.

While pricing is yet to be revealed, expect it to be positioned near the top of the Fiesta range, perhaps around the $20,000 mark between the 1.6 LX ($18,990) and 1.6 Zetec ($21,490) five-doors.

The Fiesta Econetic was launched as Ford’s most fuel-efficient model ever at the London motor show in mid-2008, in both three and five-door hatchback body styles.

27 center imageGoAuto has learned the Fiesta Econetic will be made available in Australia as a single five-door hatchback model only, powered by a specially tuned 1.6-litre TDCi turbo-diesel engine that delivers 66kW of power and 200Nm of torque.

In Europe, the Fiesta Econetic returns average combined-cycle fuel consumption of just 3.7L/100km, making it even more fuel-efficient than Toyota’s new Prius hybrid and Mini’s Cooper D diesel, both of which average 3.9L/100km.

Like the Mini, the Fiesta will be a (five-speed) manual-only proposition, employing mostly conventional turbo-diesel technology to return average CO2 emissions of just 98 grams per kilometre. While the Ford will be the only other new vehicle available in Australia to return less than 100g/km, official figures show the Prius remains the ‘cleaner’ car, with average CO2 emissions of just 89g/km.

To achieve the remarkably low fuel consumption figure, the Fiesta Econetic will ride 10mm lower than other Fiestas with a ground clearance of 93mm, while other aerodynamic features will include air deflectors andthe fitment of 14-inch steel (not alloy) wheels with relatively narrow 175/65-section low-rolling-resistance tyres and unique wheel covers.

Other fuel-saving features include low-viscosity engine and transmission oils, a taller final drive ratio, the replacement of a spare wheel/tyre with a ‘tyre mobility kit’ and driver aids to encourage environmentally friendlier driving, such as fuel consumption and optimum gearchange indicators.

Interestingly, while the environmentally friendlier Fiesta will come standard with electronic stability control and front, side and driver’s knee airbags, it will also offer a braked towing capacity of 550kg – 25kg more than the rest of the range.

At 1065kg, the Econetic model weighs slightly less than the 1.6-litre petrol-engined five-door CL (1071kg), LX (1075kg) and Zetec (1077kg).

Apart from ESC and a full compliment of airbags, the Fiesta Econetic will come standard with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors, remote central locking, cruise control and foglights.

Both the 71kW/125Nm 1.4-litre and 88kW/152Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engines will continue unchanged in the new WS-series Fiesta range, while a four-door sedan body style will join the three and five-door Fiestas here early next year.

“The Fiesta Econetic will be added to our Fiesta model line-up towards the end of 2009 and promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient and lowest CO2-emitting vehicles ever offered for sale in Australia,” said Mr Burela at this year’s Melbourne show.

“It looks and functions just like conventional Fiesta, using conventional diesel powertrain technology, yet it has the potential to deliver best-in-class CO2 emissions compared to the current crop of competitive vehicles, as well as against today's most popular hybrid models.”“Its introduction to the local Ford line-up will provide a genuine alternative to those customers who prioritise low CO2 emission performance when it comes to choosing a new vehicle.

“It will also enable us to gauge consumer reaction to the broader Econetic philosophy, with respect to other fuel efficient, low CO2 emission models that may be considered for the Australian market.

“By launching a specific model, with dedicated Ford Econetic badging to designate its ultra-low CO2 results, we will be able to offer a clear alternative for those customers who prioritise low emission performance,” he said.

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