2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec (GB)

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It’s no secret I’m a fan of Fords. The Escort Cosworth (along with the Jag XJ220) was what got me interested in cars in the first place. Then in the late 90’s came the Ford Focus: radical looks, funky interior and my god good to drive. It’s still held in very high regard today, and it’s easy to see why. Around the same time, the mark IV Fiesta was released. I was never really a fan of the mark III, however even though the mark IV shares the same chassis, it got major re-worked suspension, better looks, and a great little Yamaha derived 1.25 engine. I came close to buying one of these as my first car, but the insurance was just too much.  Great fun though.  More good Fords? How about the Puma? The Mondeo?  Original Focus RS? Mark II Focus ST? I could go on…

There are some Fords I don’t like though. The New Focus (standard or ST). I’ve not driven one, but the looks alone put me off. The Fiesta mark V I felt was never as pure to drive as the mark IV, and it didn’t look half as good.  I was disappointed with the ST version too. Good, but not great steering and handling; a 2.0 engine, but only 150bhp (and one of the dullest sounding engines I’ve ever come across). It had all the ingredients to be a great hot hatch, but it just didn’t quite do it for me. Lastly, the Focus ST170: no doubt a great chassis, but similarly to the Fiesta ST, the engine let it down: not very fast and a dull sound.  So yes, lots of good Fords, but some not so good too, which is why this review is totally non biased………

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I first saw the mark VI Fiesta at the Frankfurt motor show back in 2007. If I remember correctly, it was called the Ford Verve concept. What first struck me about it was what an improvement over the mark V. We know some concepts can end up looking nothing like the production version, but the Fiesta looked modern, sleek and well proportioned. The production car I thought looked very similar to the concept, which was good. Since 2008, it’s been a massive sales success and I wanted to find out why.
The Focus was booked into Jacksons Ford for its 6th service and MOT. It was a big one, including spark plugs etc., so I booked a courtesy car to save me waiting in the showroom all day. The last car I had from there was an old 01 plate (I think) Focus diesel, so it was a nice surprise when the receptionist handed me the keys to a black 13-plate Fiesta Zetec Econetic.  It’s a car I’ve always wanted to try, and it turned out even better when Stu Clough pointed out it was the 1.0 Eco boost turbo petrol engine.  The Zetec trim sits in the mid-range, with air con, 15″alloys, electric windows, remote locking, mp3 stereo and ESP. This car retails for around £13,595.

From the side and back, it’s still a great looking car. From the front – not any more. Post 2012, you get a big gaping silver grille. Why car firms do this, I don’t know. Fiat did it with the Grande Punto, and Ford have done the same – ruined a good looking car. Fiesta’s from 2008-2012 definitely look better.

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Ford interiors. I’ve never had a problem with them. The quality is good enough for me, and most layouts are functional and simple. What more do you want? The new Fiesta, to me, felt very well screwed together, and had some nice plastics, especially the top of the dash. It’s the same with my car – the door cards and lower dash are not so good, but as long as it doesn’t rattle, does it matter? The controls and switches feel chunky and nice to touch, whilst the dials are clear and easy to read. A few things I didn’t like are the piano black effect (again!) and the centre console is maybe a tad fussy. The computer that controls the small screen at the top of the centre console is also a bit slow and dim witted, and the choice you get on certain things is unbelievable!

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One thing Ford has definitely got right is a normal handbrake and a manual gearbox.  Simple things like these seem to be disappearing, and in a car like this, a manual gearbox is a must.  I’ve always felt Ford gearboxes are never as accurate as the class best, but the ‘box on the Fiesta felt refreshingly accurate; slotting into gears with a nice short throw.

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The driving position overall was great. The seat and steering wheel had a number of adjustments, and the seat itself was comfy and supportive. The only niggle was even on the lowest setting, the seat was slightly too high.

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I didn’t sit in the back, so maybe Stu or Piers can provide some input?

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Again, I didn’t use the boot, but it seemed fine for the size of car

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Onto the way it drives then. I won’t beat around the bush: the chassis is a thing of wonder. Somehow it manages to be more or less as refined as my Focus, yet at just over a tonne, will fly down a B-road with superb composure and agility. No matter what surface, camber or corner you throw at it, there’s no fuss, no crashing about, just complete poise as the front end grips, then turns, whilst somehow managing to glide over rough surfaces and potholes like they weren’t there. I really don’t know how Ford gets this mix of ride and handling so spot on. Electric steering, like gay gears and electronic handbrakes are becoming worryingly popular, so I wasn’t expecting much from the steering, yet this is hands down the best electric rack I’ve used. There is some unnecessary artificial feel that protrudes mid corner, but on the whole, it provides good feel and is very accurate. It’s not as fluid or grainy as a mk1 Focus, but then what car is?!   This is a car that was on 15” alloys and eco tyres!  I can’t begin to imagine how good and how quick a Fiesta ST Mountune must be!

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The engine was also brilliant. It was the 1.0 petrol, with a small turbo producing 100bhp and 130lb/ft. of torque. The difference between this engine and the 1.2 I had in the Panda a few weeks ago is astonishing. The 1.2 had no torque, no power, no decent sound, and not brilliant mpg. The 1.0 had superb low down torque, which got even better mid-range, and then a zingy top end, which also emitted a great deep, buzzy noise into the cabin. Either Stu or Piers said it sounded like a mini V6 – spot on. MPG? I took Piers and Stu out from Henley – Redditch as I had to run an errand. I put £10 in at a garage in Redditch, drove it back to Henley to drop them off where I reset the trip, and then I went off around the surrounding country lanes to really get a feel for this car. It said I averaged 40.8mpg, A LOT less than the official combined figure (mid 60’s), but I absolutely caned this car all afternoon. It’s also more than I got from that awful 1.2 in the Panda.

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I said at the start of the report I wasn’t going to be biased, and after reading this, it probably sounds totally biased! But forget the badge – if this was a Kia I would have said the same.


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Home Forums 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec (GB)

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew 4 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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         It’s no secret I’m a fan of Fords. The Escort Cosworth (along with the Jag XJ220) was what got me interested in cars in the first place. Then in
    [See the full post at: 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec (GB)]



    Here is a small video clip to give you an idea of the sound of the engine (and also how composed it is down a country lane !)



    This was a great little car. The engine especially makes it feel much more than the sum of its parts and it was definitely decently brisk.



    Miriam loves hers, and with good reason. I just wish it had a little bit more poke (Mountune….cough!), and a sixth gear.



    You need to come for a nice afternoon out in Henley-in-Arden, Dan, and ‘park’ Miriam’s car at Jacksons Ford. If you get them to throw away the Mountune badges Miriam won’t be any the wiser, at least until she drives away!



    what a great idea piers!



    Sod parking the Fiesta there, I’ll leave the ST220 and a cheque!



    Just come back from a few days in the the south of France. Hire car was a Fiesta 1.25.

    I booked a group A car, and did the usual asking for a free upgrade. He said yes, and gave me a group B car. Part of me was slightly disappointed when I saw the Ford Key. I knew it was a great car, but it meant I couldn’t really do another write up as I’d already done one above! But then looking at the map of around where I was staying, I realised it was going to be just about perfect for the roads that were to greet me..

    Can an engine ruin a car? Very nearly.

    The engine in version I drove in the above write-up, the 1.0 ecoboost, was an absolute peach. It was light, efficient, torquey and even sounded good. It really mated to the car well and impressed everywhere; around town, on a country lane and on a motorway.

    The 1.25 engine is all the above too from what I remember. The difference being the car I drove was an old BE91 Fiesta, which was a much lighter car. In this version it was a revelation compared to the old 1.3 ‘Ford Ka’ unit.

    Nowadays, however, as good as the new Fiesta is, it’s a completely different car to the BE91. The refinement, levels of kit, space and NCAP crash regulations mean it’s bigger and heavier car. This really shows when it comes to this engine.

    After arriving at the hotel, I looked up the stats in Autocar :

    1.25 – 59bhp, 80lb/ft, £12,295, 36mpg (careful driving on narrow french roads I was unfamiliar with, apart from one quick blast*)

    1.0 – 99bhp, 130lb/ft, £14,545, 40.8mpg (being caned all day)

    The 1.25 is gutless, not very economical, made a tedious noise and on a motorway I would have to change down to THIRD sometimes just to overtake.

    I cannot stress enough how much better the 1.0 is. The 130lb/ft of torque really provides a creamy in gear punch, which is great around town darting in and out of traffic, and also on motorways where most of the time you could just sail past a dawdler in 5th gear quite easily

    It does more mpg than the 1.25, it is a lighter engine, it’s cheaper to tax.

    Downsides? Better throttle response from a n/a engine? Comparing a Clio Cup to a Focus ST then maybe, but for how much quicker the 1.0 feels here, not a chance.
    Cost? £1500 more. But the 1.0 is only available from Zetec trim. The 1.25 I had was a billy basic ‘Style’ trim. So for that £1500, you get more kit as standard, as well as more mpg and cheaper tax.

    *The slight saving grace was coming out of Monaco last night, I accidently took a wrong turn and ended up high up on the motorway sometwhere (I think) in one of the above red circles, rather than the familiar coastal road back to Cap-Ferrat. I noticed a sign for Eze, which took me down some real epic mountain roads back to the coast. These roads were a real treat (for me, not for Tara), with some great corners, some very tight hairpins and some very steep drops! This is where the Fiesta came alive. Forget the engine, it was all about the car here.



    I’m sure the original 1.25 had 75 bhp, and in the late-1990s “fish face” Fiesta was great fun. Sad that they’ve emasculated it for the new one.



    Thinking about it , I think you’re right nick. It may have had a smidgen more power, but even 75bhp I think would still be underpowered and very torque light in the new one. The fish face be91 fiesta I drove had the 1.25 engine and it was a revelation compared to the horrid 1.3 ka I also drove in around 2006.

    How times change , eh ?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Andrew.


    Had the chance to reaquaint myself with the 1.0 Ecoboost yesterday whilst the ST was in for a service and MOT (passed with no problems)

    The example this time was the 1.0 with 100bhp, but in a superb looking blue.

    I can’t stress enough how good this little engine is.

    It sounds great – a real unique, deep gruff buzzy sound. It can sound a bit strained when taken to the red line, but low – mid range its brilliant. A different league compared to things like Fiat’s 1.2.

    The performance is plentiful. 100bhp may not sound a lot, but coupled with bucket loads of torque, and it has turbodiesel like pull low down and through the mid range yet will happily rev and rev to the right to the red line. There isn’t even any turbo lag !

    I was dawdling down a slip road following someone doing about 40. I was in 4th, floor the throttle and in no time at all, I’ve overtaken the car, and am doing about 85 on the M42. The other thing to note, is you never need to change out of 5th. Normally a supermini with small engine you would need to drop 1, maybe 2 gears to overtake. Not in this. 5th pulls great from anything above about 60 mph.

    Handling was just as superb as I remember from the last two Fiestas. The only slight issue I noticed this time was the fidgety motorway ride. The tyre pressures were fine (I checked), and it wasn’t harsh, it just wasn’t as compliant as I remember (or my Focus for that matter). It’s definitely not something to put you off the car, as the refinement in general is great.

    I imagine the 125bhp version is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. Go for a Zetec or a Titanium and it just looks like a normal Fiesta. Yet with another 25bhp and 16lb/ft of torque and that chassis, you would be able to easily embarrass some much ‘quicker’ stuff.

    This time over about 40 miles I averaged about 48mpg. There was still plenty of caning around country lanes, but a bit more motorway driving than before. I imagine a long motorway cruise would see mid 50s, maybe more…and thanks to stop-start technology, its under 100g/km, so no tax!

    A landmark car, and a landmark engine. Top marks Ford.

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