Skip advert
Advertisement

2014 Ford Fiesta Ecoboost review

The Ford Fiesta Ecoboost uses the company's new 1-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo engine. We try it in 123bhp top spec form

Evo rating
Price
from £15,445
  • Three-cylinder engine surprisingly feisty
  • Hard to justify premium price

What is it?  

The Ford Fiesta Ecoboost, with the Blue Oval’s new 1-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo in its top state of tune. There are 79bhp and 99bhp versions of the lightweight 1-litre available too, but it’s the 123bhp one we’re testing here in this facelifted, 2013 Fiesta. It enables a 0-62mph time of 9.4sec and a claimed top speed of 122mph, giving the car all the makings of a bit of a sleeper. It costs from £15,445.

Technical highlights? 

The engine punches out a very healthy 123bhp and 125lb ft of torque in its top state of tune, with 148lb ft available for up to 30 seconds on overboost. Ford’s 2-litre petrol engines were rated at 130bhp and 130lb ft just ten years ago, which gives you some idea of the progress the company has made with engine technology. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Sony DAB audio is standard, as is aircon, Bluetooth and the programmable MyKey system, which allows parents to restrict things like top speed, audio volume or the ability to disable ESP when the car is started with their child’s key.

The Fiesta is also the first Ford available with the new automatic Powershift transmission, which features a dual dry clutch system - a first for Ford. It's officially 8mpg down on the manual version, although claimed 0-62mph remains an identical 11.2secs for the 99bhp variant. 

What’s it like to drive?  

Bring the three-pot engine to life and its sound is more refined than a Fiat or Alfa Romeo TwinAir’s off-beat warble. As you move away it’s obvious that this is indeed a very refined unit, comparable to the best four-cylinder engines out there. I’m pleasantly surprised by the amount of urge available too. Spinning up the turbo is absurdly easy and you revel in the instant surge of torque.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Our test car is a Titanium version, which is a shame, as this engine is also available in a Zetec S model that gets sports suspension and sports seats. But the ride and damping here are still class-leading and a world away from the choppiness of a Mini or a Fiat 500. The steering is very direct too, although little information about what’s happening at road level makes it through to the wheel. Brake feel isn’t great either, with too much pedal travel; the brakes also fade quickly when pushed, which might be down to the rear being fitted with drums.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But it’s the feisty engine that dominates affairs, and as you spin it towards its 6500rpm limit, a delicious three-pot growl fills the cabin. Driven like this, though, economy takes a dive and I only averaged 33.5mpg over my regular commute – barely half the claimed 65.7mpg.  

Customers seeking the automatic Fiesta Powershift will be glad to hear that the auto ‘box responds quickly from a standstill, providing instant urge that makes city driving a joy. Like the manual, there’s also a fantastic sense of just how torquey that little 1-litre engine is. There’s a distinct lack of steering wheel paddles, and although you can manually flick up and down the gears using a strange gear selector-mounted rocker switch, there’s little point.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

When up to speed the Fiesta Powershift feels significantly more lethargic than the manual, despite what the performance figures might suggest. If left in D, or even the slightly sharper S mode, B-road progress requires thought akin to driving a laggy 1980s turbo. Bury the throttle on the way into a corner to ensure it is in the right gear and delivering some performance on the way out.

Holding it in gear manually does help this to some extent, but the pause between pressing selecting a gear and the actual change quickly becomes tiresome, causing us to simply leave it in Sport.

How does it compare?  

This is where the Fiesta falters a little, its price tag placing it above small hot hatches like the 134bhp, £13,749 Suzuki Swift Sport and against premium rivals like the 118bhp, £15,080 Citroen DS3 and 120bhp, £14,900 Mini Cooper. The chassis is terrific and this new engine is a belter, but at this price the feel-good factor from the rest of the car should be better.

Anything else I need to know?  

The availability of this Ecoboost engine spells the end for the old 118bhp 1.6-litre Fiesta Zetec S, a car previously ran on the evo Fast Fleet and which can be tuned to 155bhp by Mountune. Used examples can be bought from £7000.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 3-cyl, 999cc, turbocharged
Max power123bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque125lb ft @ 1400-4500rpm
0-609.4sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed122mph (claimed)
On saleNow
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Toyota GR Supra Fast Fleet test – 11 months in Japan's Porsche Cayman
evo Fast Fleet Toyota Supra
Long term tests

Toyota GR Supra Fast Fleet test – 11 months in Japan's Porsche Cayman

With a 335bhp straight-six and rear-wheel drive, the Supra should be very much our sort of car. But after nearly a year on our fleet, did this prove t…
17 May 2024
Aston Martin Vantage 2024 review – the best Aston in years
Aston Martin Vantage 2024 track
Reviews

Aston Martin Vantage 2024 review – the best Aston in years

The junior Aston Martin has been thoroughly reengineered. It’s not so junior any more 
12 May 2024
Mandatory speed limiters to be fitted to all new UK cars in 2024
80mph motorway speed limit
News

Mandatory speed limiters to be fitted to all new UK cars in 2024

The use of mandatory speed limiters on all new cars was approved by the European Parliament in 2019, and they're set to come into force later this yea…
8 May 2024