We take Ford’s latest Fiesta variant on road trip in Thailand
Flying out of the country, experiencing the diversity of neighboring areas, trying their delicacies. That’s a perfect road trip. Add to this driving one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, and it becomes a dream realized.
From November 19 to 22, that dream trip was a reality as Ford showcased the new Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost on the winding roads of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This latest variant of the Fiesta—recently introduced in the Philippines at a local motor show—is fuel-efficient while still packing a punch because of a turbocharger.
On the road
After traveling for almost a day to Chiang Mai, the Philippine media delegation, along with its counterparts from around the globe, stayed at a resort to prepare for the following day’s test drive of the Fiesta. The next morning, Ford made a short presentation on the car’s key features, and after dispensing with an open forum and a safety briefing regarding local roads, we took off for the drive around Chiang Mai.
On the road, participants were made to play a game that showed how responsive Ford’s Sync technology is, which is a feature once available only in some of Ford’s more expensive vehicles. During the first leg—covering around 30 kilometers of nicely paved city roads—we were asked to use the hands-free feature of the system by literally telling the car what to do. This demonstrated that the driver can focus on the road and not on dangerous practices like reading text messages or accessing music files available on smart phones placed inside the car.
Trevor Worthington, product development vice president of Ford Asia Pacific, said that that feature of the Fiesta targets the digital generation. “
“With Sync, Bluetooth connectivity and MP3 capabilities, the tech-savvy can be constantly plugged into their favorite music and connected to the world while on the go,” he said.
After a quick driver change, an estimated 20 kilometers of winding, uphill roads—the next challenge for the fleet of Fiestas—brought the participants to the Proud Phu Fah Resort. There, Ford Asia Pacific Manager for Powertrain Controls, Calibration and NVH Robert Sharples said that the Fiesta’s 1.0-liter engine has three key elements that make it efficient and powerful, namely a turbocharger, a direct injection system and variable valve timing.
Sharples explained that the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine’s turbocharger can spin to 248,000rpm while a split cooling system allows the mill to warm up faster. An offset crankshaft makes the engine respond better and a timing belt immersed in oil leads to quieter runs, he added.
The 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine delivers 123hp and 170Nm of torque, which are ratings that match 1.6-liter power plants. Not only that, Sharples noted that the Fiesta powered by such an engine can cover a distance stretching from Vigan to Naga on one full tank while cutting carbon dioxide emission to a meager 121 grams per kilometer.
Despite the downsized three-cylinder engine (the tiniest in its class), it is still capable, thanks to its turbocharger, and is not easily damaged, Sharples assured.
“The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine delivers three things that truly matter to our customers—terrific real-world fuel economy, value for money and great performance,” Worthington said. “When behind the wheel, you can hardly tell that it’s a 1.0-liter engine or that it only has three cylinders. It’s quiet, smooth and incredibly fun to drive.”
Well, that was experienced during the daylong trip.
Following the final set of explanations and details regarding the car, we all headed toward Veranda of the High Resort, reached by driving 35 kilometers of twisty, undulating roads. But these were easily managed as the Fiesta proved planted and stable to drive through the narrow route, inspiring confidence even if it was my first time behind the wheel of a right-hand-drive vehicle.
The road trip’s final destination was the Elephant Conservation Center—more than 100 kilometers away. During that leg, those who were not driving were able to catch some sleep because of the superb noise reduction and the comfortable ride of the Fiesta.
In one of the discussions during the trip, Worthington stressed that besides the 1.0-liter EcoBoost, the Fiesta is also powered by Ford’s global 1.5-liter gasoline engine that boasts twin independent variable camshaft timing branded as Ti-VCT.
“Our aim with the new Fiesta was to take a popular car that was already a segment leader in fuel efficiency, performance and personality, and make it even better,” he said. “The Fiesta continues to push the boundaries and seal its credentials as the small car that stands out from the competition.”