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Tony O'Kane | Sep 17, 2009

FORD'S LATEST environmentally-friendly model has debuted at Frankfurt, broadening the company's ECOnetic range of fuel-efficient cars and becoming the first vehicle from the Blue Oval to come with a start-stop system.

The 2010 Ford Focus ECOnetic builds on the credentials of the 2009 model thanks to its optional start-stop system, which shuts down the engine at traffic lights to conserve fuel.

When fitted with Auto Start-Stop, the Focus ECOnetic is capable of returning a combined fuel economy figure from as low as 3.8 l/100km - a significant improvement over the old Focus ECOnetic's 4.35 l/100km.

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Thanks to improvements to the ECOnetic'as 1.6 litre Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel and revised gearing in the car's five-speed manual gearbox, even the non start-stop equipped Focus ECOnetic needs just 4.o litres of diesel per 100km.

Emissions performance is also good: the start-stop 2010 ECOnetic emits only 99 g/km of CO2, compared to the already low 104 g/km of the 2009 Focus ECOnetic.

Further refinements include Ford's Smart Regenerative charging system, which only uses the alternator to charge the battery when decelerating, thus putting less mechanical drag on the engine.

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Also reducing mechanical load on the TDCi engine is a new accessory belt tensioner, which minimizes friction by tightening the belts by the absolute minimum amount necessary.

The same high-efficiency tricks used by the outgoing 2009 Focus ECOnetic are still used, and include low-viscosity lubricants, low rolling-resistance tyres, a lowered suspension and aerodynamic diversion plates.

The 2010 Ford Focus ECOnetic range is set to enter European showrooms early next year, however Ford Australia doesn't have any immediate plans to import the model.

"We'll obviously look at it when the time comes, but we're not prepared to say at this point whether it will or it won't come here - it's just too early for that," Justin Lacy, product communications manager at Ford Australia told TMR.

"At this stage we're concentrating on launching the Fiesta ECOnetic here later this year. We'll see how that goes and then go from there."

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