My ute is getting repaired after being hit in the rear quarter panel. I have been car-less for half a week, but today I am off to pick up a Ford Fiesta Econetic from Ford. It is one of their media cars. I am grateful that I’ll have some wheels again!
It should be interesting driving the Econetic as it is literally one of the next generation of vehicles. By that I mean there is a forthcoming tipping point where most cars on the road will be turbo diesel (like the Econetic or Mini D), hybrid (Prius or various Lexus models) or extremely small kei-class type vehicles (like the Alto). It will be my first experience properly driving one of the next generation of vehicles. The last time this happened involved a long process in the mid to late-1980s and it involved the shift from leaded petrol to ULP, archaic pushrod engine design to overhead cam, a shift in aesthetics from a large, squared off body shape to something more aerodynamic. When you go shopping for a vehicle now you are choosing between two iterations of the automotive market before choosing between vehicles within the respective markets.
This can be represented in the vehicles I have owned. Here is a late night photo of me working on my 1981 Ford XD Falcon:
It has a 5.8 litre V8 engine, four speed Toploader gearbox and 9in differential. I’ve owned it for 12 years.
Next is my 1994 Ford ED XR6 that I just sold:
It has a 4 litre OHC straight six cylinder engine and drove far nicer than my XD.
Next is my 2006 Ford BF XR6 ute that I bought last year:
Drives very nice, interior is ultra modern and it has a twin overhead cam straight six cylinder engine.
The XD made about 220kW at the wheels. The ED made about 116kW at the wheels. The BF would make about 140kW at the wheels, although it has never been run on a dyno so I don’t know. At the engine flywheel the Econetic makes 66kW. Not much, but not bad from what Ford call their ‘Duratorq’ turbo diesel 1.6 litre four cylinder engine. The kicker isn’t the power out of the Econetic, but the torque. It makes 200Nm from 1750 revs. That is some crazy shit. It is hard to explain to non-car people exactly how this much torque this far down in the rev range changes the driving experience. It will feel zippy down low and it will keep on pulling. I’ve noticed that Ford has selected far taller gearing for the diesel because it has heaps more torque than the other Fiesta models.
Anyway, there is the low-down torque I can’t wait to experience and the six-speaker stereo that allows me to plug in an iPod. Excellent :).