New Ford Focus Gets 71MPG – Only in Europe
Five years ago I visited family in Estonia, a country still digging out from decades of Soviet domination after World War Two. Estonia is an amazingly beautiful country full of “old world” charm and wonderful people. My cousin, who built heavy robotic equipment for the lumber industry , drove a SEAT hatchback with a small, quiet, and clean diesel engine that had tons of torque, ran on bio-diesel (available in most towns), and got better than 65 miles per gallon regularly. I was astonished.
We drove that spunky car all over the country, into Latvia, with the whole family, sometimes towing his little Russian-era boat. It was a joy to drive, and when we passed a field of soybean my cousin would smile at me and point, saying we were driving on sunshine – converted to oil in those plants. He said proudly “We are all green in Estonia. I am a green man.”
I wondered why I couldn’t buy a car like that back home in America.
Consider the new Ford Focus (available in Europe) with a little diesel engine, and upgraded starter, alternator, battery package that support their improved ECOnic start/stop technology – similar to a golf cart, the engine stops when the car is idle for a few seconds, and springs back to life when you press the accelerator to move ahead.
As with any Focus it is delightfully balanced and comfortable and the stop/start process in traffic is by no means intrusive or unduly noisy. In fact it is one of the better versions of the current crop of on/off engines.
The starter motor has been beefed up to cope with the additional use while developments have been made to the alternator to reduce friction and lessen the workload on the engine.
To improve fuel consumption further, kinetic energy built up as the car goes along is captured and used to recharge one of the two batteries which power the likes of the air conditioning or entertainment systems when the engine is off.
NOTE: While it’s generally a good idea to turn off your engine and reduce idling when not in traffic, we do NOT recommend turning your car off while in traffic – hybrids and stop/start equipped cars are designed to do this safely and automatically. Turning your car off (turning off the “ignition”) while in traffic is illegal in most places and puts you at risk if you need to move quickly to avoid a hazard.
The Focus also takes “driver feedback” to another level, with an on-board “eco driving coach” that will analyze driving habits and help encourage the driver to be more efficient.
On the road, the car monitors the driver’s technique examining gear changes, the smoothness of steering and use of speed.
The results are displayed on the instrument panel and highlight areas were improvements can be made. It also praises good eco-driving.
Eco-driver feedback systems are becoming more and more popular. FuelClinic is a type of feedback system, but isn’t real-time and doesn’t travel along with you in the car. Our new CarChip Pro does travel with you, providing real-time feedback when you accelerate too quickly, brake too aggressively, or exceed a pre-set speed limit. Other devices like the Rover from Cartasite provide similar feedback, and communicate wirelessly.
These uber-efficient diesels are not easily available in the US (you’ll need to look to Volkswagen if you want a diesel car here), nor is a ready supply of bio-diesel at pumps in many places – a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma.
Would you buy a small diesel-powered vehicle like the Focus mentioned? What if you could have your favorite make, manufacturer, and body style – but with a little-diesel option?