Ford Focus ECOnetic: Improvements

Eco improvements for Focus

Just as I am learning to love my Econetic, Ford has decided that this current model just isn't green enough. I was fortunate enough to be invited to France to see if things really have got better on the eco hatchback.

Emissions are now down to 99g/km of CO2 - which means you will pay no road tax at all. This reduction is thanks mainly to a Start-Stop system that cuts the engine when you are sat in traffic but starts again automatically when you need it.

The engine is a bit noisy when it does restart but it's nothing too off-putting. None of these eco improvements have had an affect on how it drives and if anything the newest version feels even better, mainly thanks to the lowered sports suspension.

It also gets an Eco mode for scoring how green your driving is. For gear changing, anticipation - how smooth and consistent you are - and motorway driving you get a flower. The greener you drive the more petals for each flower you get. It may sound ridiculous but it is a novel addition and I found myself immediately addicted to trying to get top marks.

Ford claims that the improved version will also average 74mpg, that's 9mpg more than my Focus Econetic, so it should save you some money when it comes to filling up. But whether this is achievable in everday driving is another matter. Our car still falls short of the claimed figure.

Then there's the price. The lower emissions Econetic costs £500 more, which means you'd have to cover some serious miles to make it worth the extra.

Current mileage: 4254

Average mpg: 53.4