Ford Fiesta Sport Ecoboost 2013 review

Ford Fiesta Sport Ecoboost 2013 review

Rorty, naughty, and sporty

Unknown-6There is nothing quite like the unmistakeable thrum of a three-cylinder engine, and the new turbocharged 1-Litre EcoBoost engine in the Ford Fiesta Sport has the sound, but better yet, the power and efficiency that you would expect from a modern unit.

Under the One Ford plan, the Fiesta has been sold globally since it’s European launch in 2008, it arrived in New Zealand in 2009, as well as China and the USA. Its available as hatchback and a sedan depending on the market its sold in.

New Zealand bound Fiesta’s now come from the Ford production plant in Thailand, rather than Europe and theres a few noticeable differences, such as the hard-to-the-touch plastics in the cabin and the lack of reach adjustment for the steering wheel.

I’m being a bit picky here, but the quality of the Thai-built cars is very good overall, the fit and finish is good for the retail price being asked.

Unknown-7Although we don’t get the booted version, the five-door hatch is very popular, and there’s the uber-hot three-door Fiesta ST with a turbocharged 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine for those Blue Oval aficionados who like un-compromised handling and performance.

The Fiesta has had a number of cosmetic upgrades and engine and gearbox changes since it first launched here in 2009. We’ve had a 1.4-Litre automatic, a 1.6-litre manual and automatic, as well as 1.6-litre manual diesels and an ultra-economic Econetic diesel also graced the sales charts for a period.

However, Ford New Zealand now offer a three-cylinder 1-Litre Ecoboost petrol engine as tested or a four-cylinder 1.5-Litre Duratec petrol engine, with the option of a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed Powershift dual clutch automatic transmission.

The current model which wears new the design face of Ford with it’s new trapezoidal chrome grille and sleek headlamps (which looks not dissimilar to Aston-Martin) arrived in December 2013.

Two specification levels are now available, Trend and Sport (as tested here).

We collected our metallic Black Mica Sport manual from Ford’s storage yard in Manukau City to find that it had been a promotional vehicle for Auckland Fashion Week, and was covered in a glorious silver Houndstooth check pattern on the rear flanks and tailgate, with the phrase: ‘Try on the new look Fiesta’, appliquéd in digital print silver lettering.

I didn’t mind the pattern, but the rest of the slogan was quickly peeled off, thanks to parking the Sport in direct sunlight and letting the body panels heat up to make removal of the digital printed lettering quick and easy.

Ford reckons the Fiesta Sport uses 4.9L/100km in the manual, while the dual-clutch auto has a claimed usage of 5.3L/100km.

The turbocharged EcoBoost triple puts out 92kW of power at 6000rpm and a 170Nm of torque from 1400-4500rpm. Thats 10kW and 30Nm more than the bigger 1.5-litre four.

During our test period we hovered between the 6 to 7L/100km mark during our fortnight with the car and blame it on using the torquey nature of the 1-Litre engine at every opportunity in conjunction with its five-speed manual transmission.

Normally Ford gearboxes have a knife through butter feel to them, but this particular unit felt a bit notch-y and balky at times, although the car was fairly new and low mileage when when we picked it up, so this may improve with age.

It’s sporty by nature as well as in name, riding on a slightly lowered sports suspension, the Fiesta corners adeptly and sharply, offering good feedback through the steering wheel, and it changes direction swiftly and crisply.

The ride is firm as you would expect from Ford but it never feels uncomfortable over bumpy roads, and the body remains well controlled. The Continental tyres have good traction in both wet and dry conditions, but there is quite a bit of road noise on chip sealed surfaces.

Unknown-4Inside the Sport gets Sport style seats with partial leather inserts as well as the Sony audio system with 4.2″ TFT display and 8 speakers.

The Fiesta Sport offers hands free voice activated dialling or music selection through it’s Ford Sync system, as well as the ability to read out text messages. More importantly for a manual transmission it has a hill launch system, which prevents roll-back on inclines when setting off.

On the exterior the Sport is differentiated from the Trend by an inch larger alloy wheel, (16 as opposed to 15) as well as a full body kit and a rear tailgate spoiler and Sport badge.

As an overall package, we found the Fiesta Sport manual was a fun-to-drive and practical light car for city and extra-urban use. Its easy manoeuvrability was appreciated in tight parking buildings and its user friendliness for non technically inclined people such as myself was very good.

Just don’t let the dealer cover your test car in silver houndstooth stickers if you want to remain incognito.

Price $27,340


  • Fun to drive
  • Easy to park
  • Great to look at


  • Too much fun costs at the pump
  • Manual box feels a bit notch-y
  • Don’t let Ford put stickers on it


  • 1-litre 3-cyl EcoBoost Gasoline Turbo Direct injection (GTDi) Petrol engine
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • Five star ANCAP safety rating
  • Air conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • EcoMode
  • Dynamic stability programme
  • Trip computer with distance to empty, average fuel economy, average speed and outside air temperature
  • Ford SYNC connectivity system with Bluetooth hands-free phone and voice control
  • 16″ x 6″ alloy wheels
  • Sports tuned suspension
  • Body coloured sports rear spoiler
  • Sport seats
  • Sony audio system with 4.2″ TFT display and 8 speakers
  • Body kit – front & rear
  • Partial leather seat inserts

Words and photos: Robert Barry

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