First Drive: Ford Fiesta Van Econetic

Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Like its car counterpart, the light commercial vehicle version of the Ford Fiesta has benefitted from some recent efficiency gains, which have put the Fiesta Van at the top of the class for fuel efficiency.

 There has been a constant battle over the past couple of years between Ford and Vauxhall to see which could get its smallest van down to the lowest CO2 emissions figure, which is intrinsically linked to a van’s fuel economy. Until recently, Vauxhall led the way with its 95g/km Corsavan, but Ford has responded by taking the Fiesta Van Econetic down to an incredible 87g/km, which equates to an official fuel economy figure of 85.6mpg, barely imaginable just a couple of years ago.
The improvements come about through a series of small updates, which are joined by the significant progression of fitting stop/start to the Fiesta for the first time. Other changes include: revised gear ratios, improved efficiency of the air conditioning, cooling fan and alternator, friction and combustion upgrades to the 95hp 1.6-litre diesel engine, and smart regenerative charging, which captures energy generated under braking and uses it to keep the battery topped up.  
It’s no surprise to find that this 1.6-litre diesel Fiesta Van is best suited to urban jaunts. It’s fine around town, and although it will cruise along happily enough at higher speeds, it just takes a little while to get there, and that was before we exploited the 493kg payload allowance. However, the Fiesta Van’s strengths remain, in that the cabin is as well-built as the passenger car sibling, and the ride and handling are peerless. Refinement is decent, although the diesel reverberation does clatter around an unladen van as is the case with all light commercials that don’t benefit from a full bulkhead.
But this latest Econetic version of the Fiesta Van sets new standards for emissions and economy in the light commercial vehicle arena, and it will be interesting to see if anyone is capable of following or even bettering Ford’s efforts.

 

Verdict
Takes the lead for CO2, as well as driver appeal, with impressive figures for those in the market for an urban van.



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