The rising cost of motoring means the current crop of super-sized
super-minis is more desirable than ever. And one of the best is the
Ford Fiesta, a household name that has been with us since the
But the existing range makes real sense, thanks to a massive engine
line-up and a wide variety of trim levels. With 466,000 examples
registered to date, you will never have to travel far to find one,
while the huge dealer network and variety of aftersales care options
means maintenance is a doddle. Yet it’s the Ford’s talents on the
road which make it so endearing – good to drive, spacious inside
and well built, the Fiesta is a small car that feels bigger than it
Dash lights: make sure the dash warning lights illuminate
on start-up. They should all go out, but glowing ECU lamps with a
loss of power are common, and expensive to fix.
Footwells: ensure passenger footwell is dry. If not, it’s
likely that the seals for the pollen filter are incorrectly fitted.
Putting this right is easy – and needn’t cost anything.
Suspension: if you hear any creaks on the front suspension as
you drive over bumps, this means that the drop links have worn –
repair will set you back about £80 with parts.
Seat catches: in three-door cars, check both front seats tilt
forward properly when you activate the catch. The cable system can
fail, and there’s a £60 bill to put it right.
Gearbox: problems can develop on the Durashift auto clutch
unit on 1.4-litre cars, so check it closely. The conventional unit
fitted to 1.6-litre Fiestas should be trouble-free.
What to look for?
You’ll pay similar prices for 1.25-litre and equivalent
1.3-litre Fiestas, but we’d recommend the smaller engine every time
– it’s smoother and more powerful. Economical 1.4 TDCi models are
also worth a look if you expect to cover a high mileage. You’ll pay
a 10 per cent premium for one over the 1.4-litre petrol car, but the
diesel has more torque and you can expect close to 60mpg, instead of
The Fiesta has a legion of rivals, led by Toyota’s ever-reliable
Yaris. But the Japanese car is more expensive and offers less
variety. Skoda’s Fabia is a more complete package, although it’s
short on cabin space, while the VW Polo is costly. The Citroen C3 is
much better value, yet it isn’t as solidly put together as its class
It’s more difficult to discount the Renault Clio and Nissan Micra –
the first for its sheer driving enjoyment, and the second for its
reliability. But the Fiesta’s biggest rival is the Honda Jazz, with
its blend of superb reliability, practicality and equipment