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Andy C

Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec

Itís no secret Iím a fan of Fords. The Escort Cosworth (along with the Jag XJ220) was what got me interested in cars in the first place. Then in the late 90ís came the Ford Focus; radical looks, funky interior and my god good to drive. Itís still held in very high regard today, and itís easy to see why. Around the same time, the mark IV Fiesta was released. I was never really a fan of the mark III, however even though the mark IV shares the same chassis, it got major re-worked suspension, better looks, and a great little Yamaha derived 1.25 engine. I came close to buying one of these as my first car, but the insurance was just too much.  Great fun though.  More good Fords? How about the Puma? The Mondeo?  Original Focus RS? Mark II Focus ST? I could go on...

There are some Fords I donít like though. The New Focus (standard or ST); not driven one, but the looks alone put me off. The Fiesta mark V I felt was never as pure to drive as the mark IV, and it didnít look half as good.  I was disappointed with the ST version too. Good, but not great steering and handling; a 2.0 engine, but only 150bhp (and one of the dullest sounding engines Iíve ever come across). It had all the ingredients to be a great hot hatch, but it just didnít quite do it for me. Lastly, the Focus ST170; no doubt a great chassis, but similarly to the Fiesta ST, the engine let it down: not very fast and a dull sound.
So yes, lots of good Fords, but some not so good too, which is why this review is totally non biasedÖÖÖ:

I first saw the mark VI Fiesta at the Frankfurt motor show back in 2007. If I remember correctly, it was called the Ford Verve concept. What first struck me about it was what an improvement over the mark V. We know some concepts can end up looking nothing like the production version, but the Fiesta looked modern, sleek and well proportioned. The production car I thought looked very similar to the concept, which was good. Since 2008, itís been a massive sales success and I wanted to find out why.
The Focus was booked into Jacksons Ford for its 6th service and MOT. It was a big one, including spark plugs etc., so I booked a courtesy car to save me waiting in the showroom all day. The last car I had from there was an old 01 plate (I think) Focus diesel, so it was a nice surprise when the receptionist handed me the keys to a black 13-plate Fiesta Zetec Econetic.  Itís a car Iíve always wanted to try, and it turned out even better when Stu Clough pointed out it was the 1.0 Eco boost turbo petrol engine.  The Zetec trim sits in the mid-range, with air con, 15"alloys, electric windows, remote locking, mp3 stereo and ESP. This car retails for around £13,595.

From the side and back, itís still a great looking car. From the front Ė not any more. Post 2012, you get a big gaping silver grille. Why car firms do this, I donít know. Fiat did it with the Grande Punto, and Ford have done the same; ruined a good looking car. Fiestaís from 2008-2012 definitely look better.

Ford interiors. Iíve never had a problem with them. The quality is good enough for me, and most layouts are functional and simple. What more do you want? The new Fiesta, to me, felt very well screwed together, and had some nice plastics, especially the top of the dash. Itís the same with my car Ė the door cards and lower dash are not so good, but as long as it doesnít rattle, does it matter? The controls and switches feel chunky and nice to touch, whilst the dials are clear and easy to read. A few things I didnít like are the piano black effect (again!) and the centre console is maybe a tad fussy. The computer that controls the small screen at the top of the centre console is also a bit slow and dim witted, and the choice you get on certain things is unbelievable!

One thing Ford has definitely got right is a normal handbrake and a manual gearbox.  Simple things like these seem to be disappearing, and in a car like this, a manual gearbox is a must.  Iíve always felt Ford gearboxes are never as accurate as the class best, but the Ďbox on the Fiesta felt refreshingly accurate; slotting into gears with a nice short throw.

The driving position overall was great. The seat and steering wheel had a number of adjustments, and the seat itself was comfy and supportive. The only niggle was even on the lowest setting, the seat was slightly too high.

I didnít sit in the back, so maybe Stu or Piers can provide some input?!
Again, I didnít use the boot, but it seemed fine for the size of car

Onto the way it drives then. I wonít beat around the bush; the chassis is a thing of wonder. Somehow it manages to be more or less as refined as my Focus, yet at just over a tonne, will fly down a B-road with superb composure and agility. No matter what surface, camber or corner you throw at it, thereís no fuss, no crashing about, just complete poise as the front end grips, then turns, whilst somehow managing to glide over rough surfaces and potholes like they werenít there. I really donít know how Ford gets this mix of ride and handling so spot on. Electric steering, like gay gears and electro handbrakes are becoming worryingly popular, so I wasnít expecting much from the steering, yet this is hands down the best electric rack Iíve used. There is some unnecessary artificial feel that protrudes mid corner, but on the whole, it provides good feel and is very accurate. Itís not as fluid or grainy as a mk1 Focus, but then what car is?!   This is a car that was on 15Ē alloys and eco tyres!  I canít begin to imagine how good and how quick a Fiesta ST Mountune must be!

The engine was also brilliant. It was 1.0 petrol, with a small turbo producing 100bhp and 130lb/ft. of torque. The difference between this engine and the 1.2 I had in that Panda a few weeks ago is astonishing. The 1.2 had no torque, no power, no decent sound, and not brilliant mpg. The 1.0 had superb low down torque, which got even better mid-range, and then a zingy top end, which also emitted a great deep, buzzy noise into the cabin. Either Stu or Piers said it sounded like a mini V6 Ė spot on. MPG? I took Piers and Stu out from Henley Ė Redditch as I had to run an errand. I put £10 in at a garage in Redditch, drove it back to Henley to drop them off where I reset the trip, and then I went off around the surrounding country lanes to really get a feel for this car. It said I averaged 40.8mpg, A LOT less than the official combined figure (mid 60ís), but I absolutely caned this car all afternoon. Itís also more than I got from that awful 1.2 in the Panda.

I said at the start of the report I wasnít going to be biased, and after reading this, it probably sounds totally biased! But forget the badge; if this was a Kia I would have said the same.
Andy C

The video shows where this car is at it's best. It also gives a reasonable idea of the sound of the engine ^

Good write up Andy.

I don't mind the new grille on black cars, but it looks terrible on lighter colours.  I also think that the Zetec is the best looking Fiesta (although slitly bigger wheels would be better), like the Focus it gets really messy when the ST bits gets added.

We had a good look at the Fiesta a couple of years ago and both really liked it, but it was too new to get one with a half decent engine within budget.  You might be surprised to hear that I think the interior is ok for its price point and even the terrible 80s graphics and tiny screens are more acceptable at Fiesta prices than they are in the Focus.

Sounds like a cracking little car.

Good write up. I actually think the front is an improvement. But then I also like the new Focus more than the old one. Taste is very subjective  

Looks good in dark colours too the Fiesta, and to my eyes the 4 door is better looking than the 2 door. The rear doors seem to mitigate the bulk of metal above the rear wheel arch that always makes the rear wheels look too small.

Great write-up, Andy. The car was extremely impressive from the passenger seat and the engine adds a real dose of interest - as you said, it sounds like a junior V6.

Biased?  Nah.  I reckon if you ever have kids, you'll call them Zetec, Ecoboost and Mountune.
Andy C

Broadspeed are currently doing the ST for £14908, or the ST-2 for £15,785. Tbh, I would just have the standard ST, as what you get with the ST-2 ( Sony stereo, colour multimedia screen, privacy glass,  heated seats) is just bullshit anyway.

Add £500 for the Mountune kit, and what a total bargain performance car. Fifteen and a half grand !
Bob Sacamano

Sounds like an old air-cooled VW in that clip.
Bob Sacamano

Sounds like an old air-cooled VW in that clip.
Andy C

Just come back from a few days in the the south of France. Hire car was a Fiesta 1.25.

I booked a group A car, and did the usual asking for a free upgrade. He said yes, and gave me a group B car. Part of me was slightly disappointed when I saw the Ford Key. I knew it was a great car, but it meant I couldn't really do another write up as I'd already done one above! But then looking at the map of around where I was staying, I realised it was going to be just about perfect for the roads that were to greet me..

Can an engine ruin a car?  Very nearly.

The engine in version I drove in the above write-up, the 1.0 ecoboost, was an absolute peach. It was light, efficient, torquey and even sounded good. It really mated to the car well and impressed everywhere; around town, on a country lane and on a motorway.

The 1.25 engine is all the above too from what I remember. The difference being the car I drove was an old BE91 Fiesta, which was a much lighter car. In this version it was a revelation compared to the old 1.3 'Ford Ka' unit.

Nowadays, however, as good as the new Fiesta is, it's a completely different car to the BE91. The refinement, levels of kit, space and NCAP crash regulations mean it's bigger and heavier car. This really shows when it comes to this engine.

After arriving at the hotel, I looked up the stats in Autocar :

1.25 - 59bhp, 80lb/ft, £12,295, 36mpg (careful driving on narrow french roads I was unfamiliar with, apart from one quick blast*)

1.0 -   99bhp, 130lb/ft,  £14,545, 40.8mpg (being caned all day)

The 1.25 is gutless, not very economical, made a tedious noise and on a motorway I would have to change down to THIRD sometimes just to overtake.

I cannot stress enough how much better the 1.0 is. The 130lb/ft of torque really provides a creamy in gear punch, which is great around town darting in and out of traffic,  and also on motorways where most of the time you could just sail past a dawdler in 5th gear quite easily

It does more mpg than the 1.25, it is a lighter engine, it's cheaper to tax.  

Downsides?  Better throttle response from a n/a engine?  Comparing a Clio Cup to a Focus ST then maybe, but for how much quicker the 1.0 feels here, not a chance.
Cost?  £1500 more. But the 1.0 is only available from Zetec trim. The 1.25 I had was a billy basic 'Style' trim. So for that £1500, you get more kit as standard, as well as more mpg and cheaper tax.

*The slight saving grace was coming out of Monaco last night, I accidently took a wrong turn and ended up high up on the motorway sometwhere (I think) in one of the above red circles, rather than the familiar coastal road back to Cap-Ferrat. I noticed a sign for Eze, which took me down some real epic mountain roads back to the coast. These roads were a real treat (for me, not for Tara), with some great corners, some very tight hairpins and some very steep drops! This is where the Fiesta came alive. Forget the engine, it was all about the car here.

Can an engine ruin a car?  Very nearly.

That 1.25 sounds like the old tech gutless 5 speed 1.6 Mondeo estate we had in Germany last year. It was basically incapable of lugging a heavy Mondeo around.
Big Blue

Engines ruining cars?  I'm sure last summer's Fiat Punto would have been less shit without a sewing machine between the front wheels.

Ford have ruined a once great engine, it would seem. Possibly because it was so good originally and they didn't want their new Ecobellend engines getting shown up.

Cynical? Moi?

It does seem to have been strangled, as the older 1.25 was 75 bhp and installed in a smaller car. They do make a 79 bhp version still, though.
Frank Bullitt

Blarno wrote:
Ford have ruined a once great engine, it would seem. Possibly because it was so good originally and they didn't want their new Ecobellend engines getting shown up.

Cynical? Moi?

I suspect additional heft and compliance with EU5 have done for the engine as it wasn't designed to pull a car the weight of the current Fiesta around with manipulation to meet current emission standards.
Andy C

simonp wrote:
It does seem to have been strangled, as the older 1.25 was 75 bhp and installed in a smaller car. They do make a 79 bhp version still, though.

Thinking about it , I think youíre right .It may have had a smidgen more power, but even 75/79bhp I think would still be underpowered and very torque light in the new one.

'fish face' be91 fiesta I drove had the 1.25 engine and it was a revelation compared to the horrid 1.3 engine in the ka I also drove in around 2006.

How times change , eh ?

Blarno wrote:
Ford have ruined a once great engine, it would seem. Possibly because it was so good originally and they didn't want their new Ecobellend engines getting shown up.

Cynical? Moi?

Indeed. I recall the 1.25 being a revelation in the Fiesta when you could gave that or the rattly old 1.3.

The roads down there are superb. Never driven them myself - I was about 10 last time I was down that way. My dad had a 1.3 Escort. With a rattly old engine, no doubt.
Eff One

Last time I was down there I'd have killed for a Fiesta - we were saddled with a Citroen C1!

Eff One wrote:
Last time I was down there I'd have killed for a Fiesta - we were saddled with a Citroen C1!

Assuming that's what you booked, you only have yourself to blame!  

I've never been able to bring myself to book a basic hire car, the smallest I've had over the years is a Golf Estate (diesel) with a Chevrolet Suburban being the biggest, although I had booked a 300C.  The best hire car I've had was a Mustang convertible, not the best to drive, but the most enjoyable to be on holiday in.
Bob Sacamano

Martin wrote:
†The best hire car I've had was a Mustang convertible, not the best to drive, but the most enjoyable to be on holiday in.

I hate you.

Andy C

Had the chance to reaquaint myself with the 1.0 Ecoboost yesterday whilst the ST was in for a service and MOT (passed with no problems)

The example this time was the 1.0 with 100bhp, but in a superb looking blue.

I can't stress enough how good this little engine is.

It sounds great - a real unique, deep gruff buzzy sound. It can sound a bit strained when taken to the red line, but low - mid range its brilliant. A different league compared to things like Fiat's 1.2.

The performance is plentiful. 100bhp may not sound a lot, but coupled with bucket loads of torque, and it has turbodiesel like pull low down and through the mid range yet will happily rev and rev to the right to the red line. There isn't even any turbo lag !

I was dawdling down a slip road following someone doing about 40. I was in 4th, floor the throttle and in no time at all, I've overtaken the car, and am doing about 85 on the M42.  The other thing to note, is you never need to change out of 5th. Normally a supermini with small engine you would need to drop 1, maybe 2 gears to overtake. Not in this. 5th pulls great from anything above about 60 mph.

Handling was just as superb as I remember from the last two Fiestas. The only slight issue I noticed this time was the fidgety motorway ride. The tyre pressures were fine (I checked), and it wasn't harsh, it just wasn't as compliant as I remember (or my Focus for that matter). It's definitely not something to put you off the car, as the refinement in general is great.

I imagine the 125bhp version is a real wolf in sheep's clothing. Go for a Zetec or a Titanium and it just looks like a normal Fiesta. Yet with another 25bhp and  16lb/ft of torque and that chassis, you would be able to easily embarrass some much 'quicker' stuff.

This time over about 40 miles I averaged about 48mpg. There was still plenty of caning around country lanes, but a bit more motorway driving than before. I imagine a long motorway cruise would see mid 50s, maybe more...and thanks to stop-start technology, its under 100g/km, so no tax!

A landmark car, and a landmark engine. Top marks Ford.

Richard (ex-MB)

Love that blue!

Just swapped a 125ps Fiesta Titanium 5 door today. 50.3 mpg average, and very excellent. It went back as the baby wasn't a fan.

Picked up a Kuga Titanium  X in Deep Impact Blue as per Fiesta above. It is proving a very popular colour indeed.

A Fester Ecoboost will be the perfect replacement for my mum's prev gen Fiesta at some point. That blue is very nice indeed.

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