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Ford sets new economy benchmark – again

More frugal Fiesta: Tweaked Econetic version of Ford Australia’s smallest model emits just 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Fiesta Econetic lowers its own Australian fuel consumption record to just 3.6L/100km

28 Oct 2011

FORD has released an even more efficient version of its standard-setting Fiesta Econetic in Australia, where it has lowered its own fuel consumption benchmark to just 3.6 litres per 100km.

The super-frugal five-door light car, which was already Australia’s most fuel-efficient new vehicle with combined consumption of just 3.7L/100km, therefore moves further ahead of its closest economy rivals.

They include similarly small European three-door hatchbacks in the Mini Cooper D (3.8L/100km) and Audi’s upcoming A1 1.6 TDI, both of which return 3.8L/100km, as well as Volvo’s comparably sized C30 hatch and Toyota’s hybrid icon, the larger Prius five-door, which both return 3.9L/100km.

However, while a series of engine and transmission running changes has also reduced the Fiesta Econetic’s CO2 emissions by about three per cent – from 98 to 95 grams per kilometre – the Prius remains the ‘cleanest’ new car available in Australia, at 89g/km.

That CO2 yardstick will be lowered globally to 79g/km by a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of Volkswagen’s sub-light Up city-hatch, dubbed the Eco-Up, which won’t be part of the model range when the all-new VW micro-car is launched here around this time next year.

27 center imageLaunched here in December 2009, the Fiesta Econetic ($24,990 plus on-road costs) continues to be powered by a conventional 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that produces 66kW and 200Nm of torque and is matched exclusively with a five-speed manual transmission.

A series of running changes to reduce internal friction have made the engine more efficient, however, led by a new variable-flow oil pump (VFOP), which matches pump flow to the specific needs of the engine - whereas the previous oil pump was directly linked to engine revs.

The improved Econetic engine also features a new asymmetric crank sprocket to reduce the load required to tension the drive belt, a new ‘bi-directional’ crank sensor that reduces engine start times by improving synchronization between the camshaft and the crankshaft, a more accurate fuel temperature sensor enabling reduced injection tolerances and revised engine calibration.

In addition, the Fiesta Econetic’s manual transmission features revised internal gear ratios, with taller second, third and fourth ratios, to further improve its efficiency.

The Fiesta won’t be Ford’s most frugal Econetic model, however. As we have reported, Ford Australia is considering the local release of the all-new Focus Econetic, which was revealed at September’s Frankfurt motor show and goes on sale in Europe early next year.

At just 3.4L/100km, the Focus Econetic – which also features improved aerodynamics, low-resistance tyres and a unique engine compared to its donor model - not only undercuts its smaller sibling in terms of fuel consumption, but also matches the Prius for CO2 emissions, at 89g/km.

“Ford Econetic technology is a customer-focused initiative bringing together a range of vehicle features and technologies specifically targeting better fuel economy, reduced emissions and overall lower cost-of-ownership – without compromise to great design or driving dynamics,” said Ford Australia President and CEO, Bob Graziano.

“Fiesta Econetic is another example of how Ford is looking at a portfolio of technology solutions to meet the sustainability challenge and how we are intent on delivering affordable and accessible vehicles to our customers.

“The improvements we’ve made to Fiesta Econetic are a part of Ford's continued investment in delivering sustainable innovations for Australian consumers, joining EcoLPi and EcoBoost in our comprehensive range of fuel efficient vehicles.

“Fiesta Econetic perfectly balances a stylish, affordable car that considers the environment and our future, without compromising the style or technology which has made the Fiesta one of the world’s most popular small cars.”

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