There are no all-new models from Ford this summer – instead there's a host of interesting tweaks and updates to the the company's existing products to keep the buyers interested.
First, for the economy-minded, there are the new Econetic variants of the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo diesels. These cars, as the name suggests, are designed to deliver lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than the standard versions of Ford's big-selling mid-range cars. There's no real magic involved - no hybrid drive-trains, no alternative fuels or anything like that. It's all done with fairly standard tweaks - lowered ride-height and spoilers in order to reduce aerodynamic drag, narrower tyres offering less rolling resistance, low-viscosity transmission oils on the Fiesta and the Focus, for example - but cumulatively these small changes produce significant savings in CO2 and fuel consumption, at least where the official government data are concerned.
The Fiesta Econetic delivers an excellent 76.3mpg on the combined cycle and pushes out only 98g/km of CO2. Focus variants use 65.7mpg according to the official figures and emit 114 or 115g/km depending on which of the 90 or 109 horsepower versions (both are 1.6 litre diesels) you choose, and whether you go for the hatchback or the estate. The Mondeo is available with either a 1.8 litre or a 2.0 litre diesel engine; these emit between 139 and 142g/km and consume between 52.3 and 54.3mpg on the combined cycle, again, depending on whether you want the hatchback or the estate.
A quick spin in Focus and Mondeo Econetics serves as a useful reminder of the basic excellence of the current Focus and Mondeo designs. Even though they've both been on the market for a few years now, they more than hold their own against the competition, especially in terms of ride and handling, although their interiors are perhaps starting to look a little dull now, and could perhaps do with a bit of a lift. These economy specials involve no real sacrifice in driving pleasure compared with the standard versions of Ford's big sellers, although in the 2.0litre version of the Mondeo Econetic you need to be going pretty quickly on level ground before you can comfortably use its very high sixth gear, which I'm sure comes into its own on the motorway.
If the Econetics as products are fine, though, it's probably fair to query the the way in which Ford has pitched them. There must be a case for saying that the simple modifications made to the Econetic models could very easily and cheaply be incorporated into all Fiestas, Focuses and Mondeos so that they benefit all Ford buyers, rather than being reserved for separate special economy models. Ford's approach is the opposite of that followed by BMW, for example, which applies its similar EfficientDynamics mods to all its cars.
Fiesta Econetics start at £13,795, Focuses at £18,145 and Mondeos at £20,295.
Elsewhere Ford has added a new 2.5 litre five-cylinder engine to its small Kuga SUV (very agreeable but no match for the diesel versions on economy) and begun offering a smooth and lively automatic option on the Fiesta.Reuse content