Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid: greater fuel economy, greater cost

The UK's best-selling car gains hybrid power, offering a 5% improvement in fuel economy, with prices from just under £20,000

Christofer Lloyd
Jul 31, 2020

Ford has introduced new mild hybrid engine options for the Fiesta - the UK's best-selling car. The new Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid models use '48-Volt' tech to offer a near-5% increase in fuel economy, with prices starting from just under £20,000 - big money for a small car. 

This is the first time the Fiesta has been available with hybrid power, though, as these models are 'mild hybrids' you can't waft around town silently, as you can in a conventional hybrid (thanks to the bigger batteries) or a plug-in hybrid (which have bigger batteries still). That's because the economy-boosting tech here serves to give the engine a helping hand in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption, rather than being able to power the car by itself.

The first Fiesta to gain any form of electric power is now available from £19,860 in high specification Titanium form. Ford also claims that the mild hybrid format also boosts engine performance. Ford has also updated the conventional 1.0-litre petrol engine available in the Fiesta and added a new seven-gear automatic gearbox, set up to provide maximum fuel economy and the lowest CO2 emissions.

Aside from the new petrol-electric hybrid format, the Fiesta also gains new driver assistance kit including adaptive cruise control - which maintains a safe distance behind the car in front, even if that car slows down or speeds up - with speed sign recognition to take the stress out of long trips.

2020 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid model range

There are two hybrid engine options for the Ford Fiesta: a 125hp 1.0-litre model - which offers the same overall power as the conventional non-hybrid petrol version, but adds extra low-engine-speed pulling power - plus a 155hp version, which offers greater all-around muscle.

These mild hybrid Fiestas differ from the conventional 1.0-litre petrol models by featurin a belt-driven integrated starter motor generator (BISG), rather than a standard alternator (which in a standard car keeps the battery charged). This BISG helps the car to recover and store energy normally lost when braking and coasting, using it to charge a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack.

The BISG also works as a motor itself, giving the petrol engine a helping hand. This means that while the 125hp hybrid offers the same power as the conventional 125hp petrol model that shares the same engine, the hybrid kit offers extra punch when accelerating and powers the car's electrical kit.

Hybrid Fiestas are available in well-equipped Titanium trim with a manual gearbox, plus high-specification Titanium X form and luxurious Vignale Edition trim. This means that while you get plenty of standard equipment, prices are high. Both hybrid engine options are also available in SUV-style Active Edition and Active X Edition. Only the lowest specification, less powerful hybrid model is below £20,000 new. Other models go up to nearly £24,000.

As a result, if you're considering a mild hybrid to save money, you'll be much better off going for a nearly-new or used conventional 1.0-litre petrol Fiesta, as that could save you thousands upfront if you pay cash or potentially hundreds every month if you opt for PCP finance.

2020 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid fuel economy

FiestaPowerCO2 from (g/km WLTP)Fuel economy (on latest WLTP test)
1.0-litre EcoBoost Hybrid
6-speed manual
125hp109-118g/km54.3-58.9mpg
1.0-litre EcoBoost Hybrid
6-speed manual
155hp116-123g/km52.3-55.4mpg

Fuel economy for the new mild hybrid Fiestas varies from 52.3mpg for the least economical version of the 155hp version to 58.9mpg for the most frugal 125hp model. These figures are affected by which specification and options you choose. Typically, the heavier the car is and the larger (and consequently heavier) the wheels are, the more fuel a car will use. So if maximum economy is important to you, look for the lowest specification models with the least equipment and smallest wheels. 
 
The Fiesta's hybrid system monitors how the car is driven to determine when to charge the battery for the most benefit and when to use the charge stored in the battery. The results of this are that the electric motor can either provide a small additional boost for the petrol engine to reduce the strain on it or work in tandem with it to provide maximum power and the greatest acceleration.

Furthermore, having an electric motor that can momentarily power the car allows the engine to shut off when coasting to a halt below 15mph for greater fuel savings.

Another feature that helps to reduce fuel usage is cylinder deactivation, which allows one of the engines three cylinders to shut down when driving gently, such as when coasting or on a relaxed cruise.

2020 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid performance

The addition of the electric motor has allowed Ford to re-engineer the 1.0-litre petrol engine to provide a faster response to the throttle, with the combination of petrol and electric power sources ensuring a braoder spread of power.

Consequently, acceleration for the mild hybrid Fiesta models is faster than for non-hybrid equivalents. While the conventional 1.0-litre 125hp petrol models require 9.9 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 62mph, the 125hp mild hybrid model takes 9.4 seconds. Its top speed is also higher at 126mph compared with 124mph for the standard 1.0-litre Fiestas.

Meanwhile, the 155hp 1.0-litre mild hybrid version takes 8.9 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint, and is capable of reaching a top speed of 136mph. As a result, these are the fastest versions of the Fiesta apart from the high-performance ST models. 

 

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