The business of selecting the right van for your particular needs has just got more difficult, and it’s not really the manufacturers’ fault. The price of fuel is one of the biggest factors in any buying decision these days. In the past, all you had to do was measure the longest tool you had, the biggest toolbox you carried or calculate the amount of space you needed and then looked for the van with the best sized loadbox for the job.
That’s no longer the case, buyers have to seriously consider the bit at the front. The bit with the engine in it.
When it comes to large vans, the choice is usually down to three, and occasionally four, diesel engines with small, medium and large power capacities, and usually with a top of the range option for the power junkies. But when it comes to small vans, especially car derived vans, then quite often, there is a petrol powered version alongside the diesel options.
This should not be ruled out of hand immediately. Current generation petrol engines can be just as fuel efficient as diesels – in real world motoring!
So when it comes to the new Fiesta, there are three engines to consider, although in this case the choice is not complicated by long, medium or short wheelbases, or standard, medium and high roofs because all you get are two seats and a one cubic metre space behind them. Simple. At least it should be.
At this point the buyer has to decide on whether he/she wants an ECO version, a Trend (more luxury) specification, or the more tasty Fiesta Sport Van model with alloy wheels and such extras.
Or put it another way, prices start from £10,980.00 (plus VAT) and go up to £13,470.00. And we’re still not finished. Fuel consumption figures on the EU combined cycle range from 54.3 mpg (1.25 litre petrol) to 85.6 (1.6 litre ECOnetic diesel).
See what I mean?
Let’s start with the petrol. This is simply in the range for those who don’t do a lot of miles and don’t want a diesel, because they’re used to petrol and are scared of pulling up at the wrong fuel pump in a service station when in a hurry!
It’s also quieter and a little more refined than the diesel alternatives, and in a vehicle of this size, torque is not really an issue.
So the two diesel options will have the most appeal to the tradesman and the fleet owner, but which one to choose.
Both the 74 bhp 1.5 and 94 bhp 1.6 TDCi Duratorq Euro-5 diesels come with 5 speed gearboxes (as does the 81 bhp petrol) and yet the 1.5 litre unit will deliver 76.3 mpg (combined) compared to the 1.6 ECOnetic version which returns as much as 85.6 mpg on the same cycle. That’s 9.3 mpg of a difference.
On that basis the 1.6 ECO version would appear to be the best bet, but is it? For a start, the ECOnetic version costs £650 more. That would buy 464 litres of diesel (at £1.40 a litre) which equates to 8,731 extra miles (at 85.6 mpg) with the ECOnetic 1.6 over the standard 1.5.
Using the same comparison, the 1.5 engine van will need 137 gallons of diesel to travel 10,000 miles whereas the 1.6 ECO will only need 116 gallons, a difference of 21 gallons which is 95 litres or 133 quid. Over a standard three year ownership of the van doing 10,000 miles per year, the 1.5 driver will need to fork out an extra £399. The only trouble with these figures is that they are based on EU laboratory-style tests.
So the figures above are hardly scientific and only a real-world fuel test would determine the difference, but it does make the potential buyer have to seriously consider what exactly the van will be used for. The ECONetic Auto-Start-Stop system will make a big impact around town, especially the more congested city centres, whereas the 1.5 should provide similar fuel consumption levels when on a steady cruise.
So which one to buy? That’s very difficult because they both drive very well and the extra horsepower of the 1.6 is not really noticeable around town.
In other words, I would be happy with either! So how’s that for sitting on the fence?