Ford is the latest manufacturer to launch a ‘start-stop’ system (note the word switch, one for the marketeers) which will make its debut on the new Focus Econetic next February.
Available only on the five-door 1.6 TDCi, it promises CO2 emissions of 99g/km and an average of 74.2mpg (the standard Focus 1.6 TDCi returns 115g/km and 62.8mpg).
A non-start-stop Focus Econetic (with a choice of 90 or 109bhp) will also go on sale in five-door and estate versions, with 104g/km and 70.6mpg.
Both Econetics attract 100% writing down allowances and 13% benefit-in-kind tax, with the 99g/km model also qualifying for zero VED.
Econetic becomes a range in its own right, with specification close to the Zetec.
The non-start-stop model will attract more sales, mostly fleets, with Ford estimating it will take a “conservative 3%” of Focus sales in year one.
The start-stop version, which costs £500 more at £19,995, will take 0.5% due to unproved customer acceptance of the technology.
The start-stop Econetic features an eco mode which taps into the telemetry to give drivers instant feedback on their efficiency.
The scoring system is divided into three: gear shifting, which rewards points for quicker up-shifts; anticipation, which assesses how smoothly you drive; and motorway driving, which rewards consistent speeds.
Drivers collect up to five petals for each of the elements as a reward.
Achieve three fives and the system praises you as an ‘eco champion’; however, none of the journalists on the press launch came close to this.
Elsewhere, the usual efficiency gain devices are featured: longer third, fourth and fifth gears for greater fuel economy while cruising, recalibrated power steering to reduce energy usage, a lower ride height for improved aerodynamics and a set of low rolling resistance tyres with aerodynamic wheel trims.
Other Econetic tricks include regenerative charging of the battery under braking. It also has a second, smaller battery which continues to power items such as the air conditioning while the engine is off.
While Ford may be late to the stop-start club, its new Focus is an impressive offering.
However, its challenge falters when you look at the front-end price and its RV prediction – especially when compared to the 99g/km Golf.