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. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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.

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.

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.

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
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020
Visit/bugatti/21646/new-bugatti-divo-deliveries-begin-ps44m-hypercar-hits-the-road
Bugatti

New Bugatti Divo deliveries begin - £4.4m hypercar hits the road

The very first examples of Bugatti’s Divo hypercar have rolled out of its Molsheim HQ gates
7 Aug 2020
Visit/best-cars/15315/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps20000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £20,000 – evo garage

The evo team pick their favourite used performance cars
4 Aug 2020
Visit/ferrari/202965/ferrari-f40-vs-288-gto-turbocharged-icons-go-head-to-head
Ferrari

Ferrari F40 vs 288 GTO - turbocharged icons go head-to-head

Today's turbocharged Ferraris deliver a smooth hit; the 288 GTO and F40 thrilled with a much wilder ride 
5 Aug 2020