In 2009 Chevrolet discovered that the American Consumer was demanding another feature from their cars. No, it wasn't a Thorax side airbag in the Impala, though they did added it in 2009. Nor was it a new leatherette steering wheel in the Aveo, which resembled real leather the same way that Minute Maid resembles real lemonade. And no, it wasn't a downright lethal amount of horsepower from the Corvette, though they did that as well with the introduction of the ZR1. What the American Consumer demanded from the brand was better fuel economy.
This was inevitable. The Prius was at the time in the first year of its 3rd generation claiming to be the most efficient car powered by liquid fuel in the U.S. 2009 was also the year that the second generation of probably the most iconic hybrid was released, the Honda Insight. Hell, even Cadillac had an Escalade Hybrid on their lineup to return an extinction prone specie reviving 23 MPG! (As Opposed to the preposterous 18 MPG from the non-Hybrid Escalade). People were starting to be Eco Conscious, which in other words mean, their iPhone cases now looked like simulated wood with Eco written on the corner.
Chevy couldn't be left out of the game, so they concentrated all their engineers to make their agreeable Cobalt into an efficiency machine. The Cobalt XFE was then born, returning an improved fuel economy of up to 37 MPG without the need of batteries, or any fancy tricks. They got those numbers the good old fashioned way. Keeping the weight down, and tuning the engine/transmission to be as lazy as an elementary school kid failing PE. This was Chevys answer to giving a more fuel efficient vehicle, and by making it they actually made the Cobalt a better car as a whole. Unfortunately, Chevy really didn't want the improved Cobalt to be popular. In reality, the XFE was always doomed to fail, and that is exactly the fate of the new Ford Fiesta SFE with the 1.0 Litre Eco-Boost engine.
Although the Chevrolet Cobalt XFE and the Ford Fiesta SFE were made by opposing manufacturers, with different techniques, and at different times, their similarities are evident. Both of these cars are Eco packages fitted to the standard cars. Even the names of these packages are comically similar: "X-Tra Fuel Efficiency" on the Cobalt, and "Super Fuel Efficiency" on the Fiesta. The only way to recognise both cars, is by tiny badges on their trunks. Both could only be had on cheap models, both with hubcaps, the base radio, less sound insulation, low rolling resistance tires, not a single appearance addition; and even in the Cobalts case with wind down windows and Anti-lock brakes as an option!
We can all be charmed and attracted by the attitude and charisma of these cheap and cheerful cars. But that is exactly the reason why they were always destined to be flops, or failures. Both cars cost extra for the Eco packages offered ($600 for the Cobalt, and $995 for the Fiesta) to get a car that still was the base model. You still couldn't get more speakers, or rims, or fog lamps. Then, to add to that, you could only buy both cars with 5 speed manual transmissions. Yes, I know, the manual transmission is the proper transmission and it is a vital ingredient in the formula for efficiency in both cars. But in the real world with texting and driving becoming a sport, heated steering wheels on Rams, and a Sport mode on CVT Sentra's, the automatic transmission is always going to be more popular.
So why did Ford do this to the fantastic Fiesta? Why do they offer its 45 MPG Eco-Boost engine of wonders in a base car with hideous hubcaps, with a pathetic 4 inch screen radio, nosier interior at highway speeds, pathetically gripping rock hard tires, manual transmission only, with an almost $1,000 premium? Because, like Chevrolet did with the Cobalt, it was just to boast a tagline in the webpage. I really really hope that by some miracle it doesn't, but the way I see it the Fiesta SFE 1.0 Litre Eco-Boost is doomed to fail, just as its brother from another mother did 5 years ago.