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2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-Liter EcoBoost: Quick Drive Report

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Much fanfare has been made about Ford's 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

Offering the performance of a 1.6-liter with the economy of a much smaller unit, many would have you believe it represents the future of internal combustion.

If not transported to the future, our first drive of the Fiesta EcoBoost proved entertaining back in December, and we've now had a little more seat-time on UK roads.

The basics

There's nothing truly groundbreaking about Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost--it just happens to be a figurehead for the general direction that combustion engines are heading in these days.

We're now quite familiar with the bare statistics: 123 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm give it usefully more punch than the 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated engine it's intended to replace.

There's no official word on fuel efficiency just yet, but more than 40 mpg is expected on the EPA highway cycle. Much higher figures are touted in the Fiesta's European homeland, but European figures are typically 15-20 percent higher than EPA ratings.

In addition, we'd warn that in the larger Focus at least, the 1.0 isn't currently living up to its mpg expectations--the big car, small engine syndrome.

Fun to drive

If you've not driven a Fiesta before, the Ecoboost will surprise on two levels.

The first is that all Fiestas ride and handle very well indeed. You'll feel bumps of course, but they don't rattle you half as much as you expect, and the compliant ride doesn't come at the expense of cornering poise and response.

Steering feel is good too, all the controls are nicely weighted, and the strong, progressive brakes have a confidence-inspiring firm feel to the pedal.

Throw in the 1.0 EcoBoost, and things get even better.

We were left a little disappointed by this engine in the Focus when we drove it last year. Refinement was never in doubt but it never quite felt as peppy as we'd hoped.

Losing a few hundred pounds at the curb in the lighter (2,427-pound) Fiesta works wonders, the little 1.0 feeling respectably strong almost everywhere. Okay, so it won't perform like the upcoming 180-horsepower Fiesta ST, but pin your expectations at a realistic level and it's genuinely entertaining.

The engine picks up nicely from low revs and remains refined right the way to the red line. And while it's happy enough to rev out, it won't complain if driven with economy in mind, keeping the revs low. Some vibration can be felt under load below 1,500 rpm, but otherwise the engine is near-silent and very smooth.

62 mph can be reached in 9.4 seconds and top speed is listed as 122 mph, so highway driving is no problem. Acceleration does tail off at higher speeds but it still has plenty to give at 80 mph and beyond.

Economical?

During our brief drive--around 50 miles on a mixture of freeway, city driving and countryside roads--we couldn't really record accurate fuel efficiency figures.

Needless to say, the trip computer's estimates can't be considered indicative of real-world mileage, so we'll have to wait for a proper test, official EPA mileage, and the reports of owners, to see what it's capable of in real-world driving.

Whether or not the economy is as high as the eventual promises, it's clear that the Fiesta Ecoboost has plenty of other talents--and if nothing else, proves that driving a small-engined small car doesn't have to be depressing.

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Comments (7)
  1. I barked at Volker last time for this in the first Fiesta review you linked. Here we go again. This is just another not so green car report on the Fiesta. I can find a ton of other sites willing to tell me the 0-60 times that I could care less about. I read here for GREEN CAR info.
     
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  2. @Tim: In that case, you snapped at me for not including any fuel-efficiency data. I'll respond here with the same comment I used in there:

    "@Tim: We're as eager to find out about its real-world fuel economy as you are.

    "But our limited exposure to these prototype vehicles, nine months before they reach showrooms, over a drive route that didn't remotely represent most peoples' commutes, led us to decide any info we got on consumption wouldn't be useful.

    "Believe me, we'll let you know as soon as we can test a production version of the Fiesta EcoBoost in real-world conditions!"
     
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  3. I'm sorry, but I must disagree. There were 50 miles to log fuel economy data over. That is plenty to get an idea of what kind of mileage the care might return.
     
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  4. @Tim: We'll have to agree to disagree then.

    But as a bit of further explanation, we want to present real-world fuel economy taken NOT from manufacturers' carefully chosen test routes and drive cycles, but from our own real-world usage.

    And, to reiterate, we're eager to find out what the car will do in that kind of real-world use. As soon as Ford releases production cars that are (a) U.S.-spec; (b) production-spec; and (c) available for multiple-day road tests ... we'll write that article !! Figure sometime in Q3, I'd say.
     
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  5. Tim,

    I apologize for not including efficiency data, but as John has already stated, it's of limited relevance in a test such as this. This was a UK-spec car, on UK roads, in UK traffic.

    The car was also driven with reasonable vigor at points, since a huge aspect of the new engine isn't just its efficiency, but its performance (and refinement, and more) given the small-capacity engine - and believe it or not, many buyers (possibly more so in the US than Europe) require a car to do more than *just* be economical. We often have readers pointing this out to us!

    Likewise, we often have readers suggesting that our own MPG data is of limited relevance in even a week's driving - so 50 miles would hardly be a fair or accurate appraisal.
     
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  6. OOOKKK In the UK They have 2 Diesel engines a 1.6 TDCi With Auto stop start that gets 85 MPG an a 1.5 TDCi an the 1.0 Gas , WouldLove Ford to Bring the 1.6 TDCi to US
     
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  7. Hi Roger,

    Just to clarify, that 85 MPG is in imperial, rather than U.S. gallons. That figure works out about 70 MPG U.S. You can then subtract another 15-20 percent off that to get an equivalent, more realistic figure by EPA standards - so you're looking at a real-world mid-50s.

    Which is still very good, obviously, and likely higher than the 1.0 EcoBoost - but it's certainly not 85 MPG!
     
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