Friday, June 27, 2014

Ford Fiesta SFE - 1.0l Ecoboost and you get to shift your own gears


I like this little car.  Its rev happy and you get to row your own gears.  Puts the fun back in driving with that combo.  I've extolled the virtues of this little car in a variety of places from when I first drove a prototype in '09 until the current release.

What is new for this year is an SFE package that takes a tiny 1.0l 3 cylinder engine, slaps in direct injection and turbocharging and an Ecoboost badge on the rear of an already best in subcompact class car.  The result is a little car that is an absolute hoot to drive and turned in a respectable 40mpg on my 20 mile loop of mixed city and highway driving.  Folks, that hybrid territory mileage without sucking the life out of the car in the process.

The standard trim of this car is nice, premium look and feel from stem to stern inside and out.  My only niggle is that it is tight for a big guy like me, someone more petite and under 6 foot would likely find it completely acceptable.  This example had a nice cloth that was grippy without looking cheesy like the mouse fur that was stuck in cars all that long ago.  Certainly on par if not better than the rest of the subcompacts out there.

The 3 cylinder motor is a rev happy little mill. Good torque across the board if with turbo lag noted when in higher gears when you press the gas.  Row the gears and keep it on boost and it will dart and weave around traffic with no problems.  My only niggle is you don't need to look at the tach as at higher RPM's there is a coarseness to the engine that I didn't expect to find.  Ford Mills of late are nearly as smooth and rev happy as the best in the business...Honda.  I think the NVH engineers need to spend a little more time at the high end of the revs as its really not up to what I expected.'

Stats...we all love them.  The Ecoboost 1.0 generates 123bhp and 125 flt lbs of torque.  The standard issue 1.6l naturally aspirated 4 cyl generates 120 bhp and 112 ft lbs of torque and is coupled to their direct shift automatic.  The Ecoboost is the clear win in the power category for the base models.  My only niggle with the slick shifting manual is that its only a 5 speed and everyone else seems to be doling out very nice 6speeds that add an extra mpg on the highway.  Regardless, on a 2,575 lb car that is a lot of power being put to good use and generating some great mileage numbers.  Kinda having your cake and eating it too.