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The Mercury Cars Guide : January 9th 2010
20--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, January 9, 2010 Ford boasts a Prius beater PRICE ADVANTAGE: The Fiesta looks good coming or going. There are a lot of reasons to like Australia's newest green car. But Paul Gover found the clincher: it's a great drive. THE Ford Fiesta ECOnetic hit Aust- ralia with all sorts of claims about fuel economy and emissions, as the blue oval brand touts it as a Prius beater. And with a $15,000 price advantage over the Toyota hybrid. I looked and listened, but tried to avoid getting caught in the hype despite the judging panel picking the ECOnetic as the Carsguide Green Car of the Year for 2009. Me? I took the safe road and voted for the Prius, since I had not driven the ECOnetic Fiesta. Now I have and it's become my first- choice car for green driving. The little Ford has a hugely economical turbodiesel engine that easily returned 4.8L/100km economy during my test drive, with the promise of excellent emissions at the same time, as well as delivering reasonable comfort, a great looking body and the sort of dynamic driving response that made the ''regular'' Fiesta my small-car pick for 2009. The ECOnetic takes a little adjustment, because you need to shift early and often in the five-speed manual gearbox, but it is a surpr- isingly rapid little car which can also devour corners without causing any upsets or dis- appointments. It's a real pity Ford delivered the test car with giant advertising slogans down the side --- it was plain embarassing to be seen at the wheel --- because there is so much to like. The ECOnetic is the first of a series of Ford models which will have the same tag and approach to green motoring. The next for Australia is the new Focus. It's heart is a 1.6-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine tuned for maximum efficiency. It does not have a stop-start system to kill the engine at the lights, and it's not as advanced as the ''belt-less'' Prius petrol motor on cutting parasitic drag, but it has low-resistance tyres, a unique transmission and gears, a lower ride height and wheel covers to cut drag, and a shift light to signal when to pick the next gear. Ford even says it dropped the spare tyre to cut weight, although it obviously also saves money. The engine makes only 66 kW, but compensates with 200 Nm of torque, up by nearly 25 per cent from the regular 1.6-litre petrol Fiesta. Its official efficiency claims are 3.7L/100km economy and 98g/km of CO2, joining the Prius as the only cars sold in Australia at less than 100. Apart from the green stuff, the latest Fiesta comes with five-star ANCAP safety including seven airbags --- one for the driver's knees --- and the usual punchy sound system, aircon, power steering and the rest. The ECOnetic comes to Australia at a time when the BMW group is making a lot of noise about its BMW 118d and Mini D fuel misers, but the Ford has a massive price advantage. The cheapest Mini is $36,100 and you need at least $44,370 to go shopping for a 118d. And those prices don't include on- road costs, where the Fiesta is a $24,990 all- in, driveaway deal. Ford was hoping for big things and the initial reaction has been very positive, with at least 300 delivered since sales began at the start of December. 'Dealers are sold out of our initial stock, which is a good sign,' says Sinead McAlary, spokesperson for Ford Australia. He says: Paul Gover The ECOnetic Fiesta is expensive for a car its size, but it is very good value. You can buy some baby diesels for less but they won't match the Fiesta as a drive or for green-ness, and the hybrids and high-flier Euro greenies are way more expensive. My only complaints are the manual-only gearbox package, because the vast majority of Australians buy autos, and the lack of electric windows in the back doors. That's it. It would have been good to have stop-start to cut the engine at the lights, but Ford says it was not available at Fiesta time and is coming first on Focus. The ECOnetic test car is tight and responsive with a driver-friendly cabin that also works well for storage, visibility, comfort and light. The front seats could have a better shape, but they are good enough for the job. As a drive, the ECOnetic tuning demands you shift as low as 2500 revs --- with a green arrow in the tachometer as a reminder --- but then pulls strongly anyway. It is a surprisingly brisk little car that punches way above its weight. She says: Alison Ward THE ECOnetic Fiesta is a worthy little party crasher, and not just because of its fuel economy. This is a grunty little car and Fiesta drivers should feel the good time vibes when behind the wheel. First impressions are positive thanks to its balanced styling and a clever ability to look bigger than it is. I don't much like the chunky, front grill, but its not enough to distract you from the party going on inside the car. The baby diesel engine is a gutsy drive, smooth and easy to handle. The gearshift is light and the pulling power means you don't have to change down as much for suburban turns or roundabouts. I drove through dry and wet weather and the car continued to handle well. It felt safe cornering. The suspension is good, considering the size of the car, with far less road noise than some of its competitors. I'm not sot sure about this model only being available in a manual --- luckily it is a fun drive and you won't have any trouble with those pesky hill starts. The seats aren't very comfortable, but you're not going to need a trip to the chiropractor. At least I didn't need therapy after driving around town and a couple of longer runs on sealed country roads. The sound system is fantastic. The entertainment controls on the wheel and centre console are sleek in design and keep the good times rolling. The Bluetooth, voice control and USB port will tick all the boxes for the savvy. www.djmotors.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Glenorchy 275 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3 315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 Hobart 1a Brisbane Street, Hobart Phone: 6213 3300 Warren Amos 0417 544 829 Jason Spong 0408 473 756 Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 07 MITSUBISHI Lancer 2.4 litre 5-speed manual, dual airbags, alloy wheels, rear spoiler, cruise control, air conditioning. Stock No. 322098 04 SUBARU Liberty AWD 3.0 litre 6-speed manual, front & side airbags,ABS, climate/cruise control, sunroof, leather seats. Stock No. 321983 07 FORD Fairmont Ghia 4.0 litre semi-auto,ABS, traction/cruise/climate control, reverse parking sensor, leather seats, tow bar. Stock No. 322107 $7.25 per day† $11.75 per day† $12 .50 per day† †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate 10.50%. WA S $14,990 NOW $13,990DRIVE AWAY WA S $23,990 NOW $21,990 DRIVE AWAY WA S $24,990 NOW $22,990 DRIVE AWAY
December 12th 2009
February 6th 2010