Fuel frugal all the way North
Much like any family or fraternity welcoming a new member into the world, Ford Philippines has developed a sort of rite of passage for its new passenger vehicles. Not long after its launch, the company typically organizers an out of town drive for its latest baby, keen on breaking it in and seeing what it can really do.
By that, they mean what kind of fuel efficiency figures it can clock up — an apt test, being top of mind of most consumers these days. Their latest vehicle to undergo this rite was the newly refreshed Fiesta.
Launched earlier in the year, it bears the new Aston Martin-looking front fascia with a trapezoid grille, laser cut headlamps, new tail lamps and a power dome hood design. Inside are new seat fabrics and designs and a high-gloss finish for the upper instrument panel. The upgrades don’t end there with a new smart key, keyless start and, of course, the SYNC system.
The destination was Thunderbird Resort in La Union and before members of the media were simply handed the keys to the vehicles and allowed to drive off, several stops were scheduled along the way to give them a taste of the multiple profiles of the 24 Hour Fiesta social media project.
Each activity had a corresponding personality starting with a morning workout as a Sunrise Soldier, syncing a mobile device to the car like a true Tech Guru, getting on the road like an Escape Artist.
To prepare for the long drive ahead, lunch was scheduled at Bale Dutung, owned and operated by chef Claude Tayag, and known for all things lechon and kapampangan. Lechon was the order of the 10-course degustation, bringing out the Charmer and Zen Dreamer personalities in all of us during the long leisurely lunch.
The long drive still lay ahead, with the Fiestas fueling up and beginning the eco-run immediately after. Naturally, Ford had made taken extra steps to ensure an even playing field. All five Ford Fiestas used were equipped with 1.5 liter TiVCT engines in hatchback and sedan form. All vehicles were equipped with 6-speed PowerShift automatics. The air conditioner switches were taped on and set to the second blower setting, the hoods and fuel lids were sealed and the tires kept at a fixed 30 PSI for all vehicles. Pairs of media practitioners would be assigned to each vehicle, free to be driver and navigator or switch during the trip as they desired.
Key to achieving high fuel efficiency was to keep the rpm’s below 2,000 and cruise at an average of 65 km/h. The Fiesta’s new 6-speed PowerShift allowed us to shift early and keeps revs low.
The fuel efficient driving may have extended the typical drive an hour or two beyond the usual but it was hardly a chore with the quiet cabin, comfy seats and plethora of high tech in-car entertainment options in the Fiesta.
The final fuel stop was in San Juan City in La Union, where cars were fueled once again to the brim to calculate the amount of fuel used during the whole trip. Shiela Javier of the UP National Center for Transportation Studies served as the observer, ensuring that each of the vehicles met the rules and were filled accordingly.
The results were tallied and calculated as the rest of the convoy made its way to Thunderbird in Poro Point. With a buffet waiting and a band playing, the participants let out their inner Art-holics, Sosyalistas and Chic Addicts after a long drive.
The next day, having tallied the results, the Fiestas achieved an average of 18.7 km/L. The highest reading was 23.6 km/L and the lowest being 11.9 km/L.
Indeed much of the results were achieved through conscious effort on the part of most of the teams. Real world results, with far less motivated drivers, will likely be closer to the Fiesta achieving 11.9 km/L, which cruised at a more normal 100 km/h and still managed a stellar 11.9km/L.
Having clocked up some 220 kilometers, seeing much of Northern Luzon, and scoring frugal marks in the process, there’s no question that Ford’s latest baby has passed its rite of passage. Buyers can be sure that the upcoming 1.0 liter EcoBoost will only do better, and many still wait with bated breath for the arrival of the EcoSport.