With the Libyan internal conflict pushing oil prices higher each week, automakers are trying to market their low-consumption models as best as they can. Ford’s latest offering is called the Econetic, a third-generation Focus trimmed with a host of mechanical and styling refinements to ensure the lowest possible fuel consumption. NOT PRETTY, BUT IT WORKSThe 77kW version of Ford’s 1.6-litre Duratorq turbodiesel has a variable geometry turbo, low-friction piston rings, an asymmetrical crankshaft sprocket and drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission (bathed in low-friction oil) with a final-drive ratio revised in the interest of economy. Ford’s engineers have added many other contemporary fuel-saving technologies too, including a start/stop system, electric power steering and regenerative brake force energy conversion - the latter powering certain cabin electrics. Beyond the mechanical upgrades there are some neat styling tweaks to optimise economy. Most pronounced of these are horrid plastic wheel covers (lowering drag) and a clever grille shutter that closes its vents when the engine is running at the required thermal efficiency, further reducing drag. WHO NEEDS A HYBRID?The worth of all these Econetic goodies? Well, Ford says it should enable this new Focus to return a staggeringly low 3.5 litres/100km on the combined consumption cycle, beating its standard 1.6-litre turbodiesel sibling’s 4.2/100km. In a time of near record fuel prices, who needs a hybrid when tricked-out turbodiesels will do? The Econetic will publicly debut at the 2011 Amsterdam auto show on April 13. Right-hand drive markets are due to receive their first cars by early 2012.Running 1600bar injection pressure and requiring only the best diesel fuel available, the possibility of Econetic coming to South Africa is rather slim.