Advertisement

Europe's Ford Focus Econetic 67-MPG Diesel Better Than Hybrids?

Follow John

2012 Ford Focus ECOnetic, high gas-mileage turbodiesel model for Europe

2012 Ford Focus ECOnetic, high gas-mileage turbodiesel model for Europe

Enlarge Photo

Oh, the pain. We hear about all those special European models with astoundingly high gas mileage ratings, and we wonder, why can't we have them here?

The latest is the 2012 Ford Focus ECOnetic, which goes on sale in Europe later this year.

During its debut yesterday at the Amsterdam Auto Show, Ford projected that the Focus ECOnetic will return an amazing rating of 67 miles per gallon.

One caveat: That fuel efficiency rating comes from the European combined cycle test, which usually returns slightly higher figures than the EPA combined rating.

Still, remember, this is the all-new 2012 Ford Focus, a fully up-to-date compact hatchback stuffed with electronic features, safety equipment, and everything else to make driving tolerable. ECOnetic, by the way, is Ford's European sub-brand for the highest gas-mileage version of each model.

And unlike past generations of Focuses, the European versions shares fully 80 percent of its structure, parts, and features between the European and U.S. versions. The North American 2012 Focus has just gone into production at Ford's Wayne Assembly plant in Michigan.

The 2012 Focus ECOnetic is available as a five-door hatchback or a four-door station wagon, though not in the less-aerodynamic sedan model.

2012 Ford Focus station wagon, launched at 2010 Geneva Motor Show

2012 Ford Focus station wagon, launched at 2010 Geneva Motor Show

Enlarge Photo

It uses a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine, updated to lower internal friction and with a start-stop feature to save fuel when the car is stopped in traffic. It is also fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires.

If the Focus ECOnetic can hit the predicted 67-mpg rating, it will have done better than a pair of hybrids that are among the five compacts with the lowest overall fuel consumption in Europe: the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, also sold here in the States, and the 2011 Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 diesel hybrid crossover, which is not sold here.

The ECOnetic Focus also uses an electrically-actuated active grille shutter--like those used on the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco and the 2012 Buick Lacross with eAssist--to close off its lower front air opening at higher speeds when the cooling air isn't needed, lowering its aerodynamic drag and hence reducing its fuel consumption.

Is Ford likely to sell the 2012 Focus ECOnetic in the States? That depends.

ford fiesta econetic motorauthority 002

ford fiesta econetic motorauthority 002

Enlarge Photo

Automakers have long given several reasons that high-mileage European diesels aren't suited to the U.S. market.

But with the news that Chevrolet plans to sell a diesel model of its Cruze compact for 2013, Ford may feel compelled to compete.

Or perhaps the company will just point to the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus Electric model, which eliminates fuel consumption--diesel or gasoline--altogether.

Either way, stay tuned for more in the increasingly interesting game of major automakers competing to raise gas mileage. There will be more, much more, to come.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (7)
  1. These announcement always leave me cold because there are no verifiable numbers. Without EPA city and highway numbers, this just seems like ridiculous boasting. It would be nice to give some US based benchmark for comparison. For example, in the test that produces 67 MPG for this Focus, what does the Prius get. It would be worth knowing the C02/km for each vehicle.
    Also, as always, hybrids will still win big time for city driving. This vehicle doesn't changes that. Or does it? Sorry no data to say one way or the other.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. @John: I don't have the European figures offhand, but the Prius is rated at 89 g/km of CO2, and the CT 200h is rated at 87, so their fuel economy should be within roughly 3 percent of each other. The CT 200h is rated at 3.8 l/100 km or 62 mpg, so the Prius should come in at 61 mpg or thereabouts on the European test. Hope this helps. Note also the fourth-paragraph general caveat.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. I don't really think its a Diesel vs Hybrid I think it comes down to what you need it for. If you are more on highway and travel a lot and want the highest efficiency as possible on highway. Yet if you are looking for the highest efficiency in the city in stop and go traffic hybrids make much more sense for those consumers.
    They are really like comparing apple and oranges in terms of their strengths and applications. I personally am a diesel advocate, but hybrids and electrification make much more sense within the confines of a city. I on the other hand live in rural Indiana where you can go 100 miles without seeing anything!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. @John Voelcker,
    Thanks for the added data. So from a C02 perspective, Ford Econetic is 95 g/km, the Prius is 89 g/km. So the Prius is 7% better on that score.
    But if anyone is wondering how the Prius can be better with worse MPG value, it is because we happen to measure efficiency in miles/gallon. If we measured it in terms of miles per pound of fuel, we would see Diesel's advantage disappear. You see, Diesel's big trick is that it is denser than gasoline. So the higher efficiencies often cited, are a little (but not completely) misleading.
    Later
    John C. Briggs
    Later
    John C. Briggs
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. @Tyler,
    You seem to be making the false assumption that Hybrids and diesels are separate and distinct. They are not as Mr. Voelcker showed in the article. They actually make Diesel hybrids.
    In any case, now that Diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, its advantages in cars are not particularly clear.
    Later
    John C. Briggs
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. @John C Briggs: Glad the added data helped. You're correct on the energy content by weight, but that's a fairly meaningless measure for real-life consumers. They don't buy fuel by weight, they buy it by the gallon.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. @John Voelcker,
    I wouldn't say it is meaningless. In fact, no one care about the gallon. They do care about the $/mile and/or the gramsCO2/mile. I think that energy density by weight is probably more important for CO2 than energy density per gallon. In fact, purchasing by weight would overcome being screwed over when a hot load of fuel is put in your tank and you are overcharged. Truckers already know this and occasionally demand a rebate when hot fuel is put in their tanks.
    Perhaps we should charge by BTUs to normalize Diesel, gasoline, E85, etc.
    Later
    John C. Briggs
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.