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Used Ford Fiesta review: 2004-2015

EXPERT RATING
7
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the first and second generation Ford Fiesta between 2004 and 2015 as a used buy.

Ford Fiesta is the smallest car in the extensive range of Fords made in, or imported to, Australia. Ford Australia aims its cars at drivers who are looking for more than mere transport, so brings in many cars from, designed for and built in Europe. This makes them slightly more expensive, but many keen buyers seem happy to find the extra cash.

To this day, some confuse the Fiesta with the model it superseded, the Ford Festiva, but they are completely different cars. Festiva was built in South Korea by Kia and is nowhere near as good as the Fiesta in quality or dynamics.

Fiesta, first sold here as the WP Series in April 2004, wasn’t particularly interesting in its styling. Later models, beginning with the WS Series from January 2009, are bold, almost futuristic in shape and sold pretty well.

The Ford Fiesta is sold as a three-door or five-door hatchback. The three-door has a sporty appearance, but the five-door certainly isn’t lacking in looks.

The front seats are larger than average for a car in this class and are reasonably comfortable, though some may find them on the firm side in the German manner.

Occupants of the back seat will find it reasonably spacious. However, large adults will find entering and leaving the rear of the three-door can be difficult, but that’s not unusual in this class. Kids zoom in and out without a care in the world.

The Fiesta comes with an interesting variety of engines. Most use a 1.4- or 1.6-litre petrol engine and offer a couple of drivetrain options. The WZ Series Fiesta, introduced in August 2013, has an interesting pair of turbocharged power units. There’s a willing little three-cylinder 1.0-litre with plenty of grunt that gives sparkling performance.

Even better is the 1.6 turbo-petrol in the Fiesta ST, it has strong torque over a wide spread of revs and many buy them as low cost alternatives to full-on hot hatches.

Ride comfort is pretty good for the hot-hatch class

The Ford Fiesta XR4, introduced in June 2007, is a genuine hot hatch, not just a dressed up standard model. The XR4's big Duratec 2.0-litre engine gives plenty of performance in a light car such as this. Some will be disappointed that only a five-speed gearbox is used, rather than a six. However, it has nicely chosen ratios and the change action is slick and positive.

Inside, there are sporting seats with leather bolsters. It has lowered suspension and when new rode on Pirelli P-Zero tyres. Ride comfort is pretty good for the hot-hatch class.

Ford Fiesta XR4 wasn’t a big success and imports ceased at the end of 2008. Some of these may be promoted as 2009 models if they were first registered in that year, however when you sell or trade down the track you’re likely to find potential buyers saying they are 2008 models and price them accordingly.

A fascinating Fiesta was launched in November 2009. The Fiesta Econetic is a super-economy model that's powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine tuned specifically for low consumption. It has strong torque, uses higher than normal gearing and runs on special low-rolling resistance tyres. The result is fuel consumption below 4L/100km during easy motorway running and only five to seven litres per hundred kilometres in day-to-day suburban driving.

While a good home mechanic can do a fair bit of work on a Fiesta, they will find the underbonnet area is cramped and likely to draw blood from their knuckles. Please, always leave the safety items to the experts.

There are hundreds of Ford dealers Australia wide. While some uncommon parts for Fiestas may not be held in country dealerships it usually only takes a couple of business days to have parts shipped out to them.

We seldom hear any real complaints about prices of parts or servicing on Ford Fiestas.

Plenty of mechanics running their own independent businesses will have had formal training while employed by Ford dealers in the past.

Insurance premiums for the standard Ford Fiesta models are about average for its class. Some companies may charge more for the XR4 hot-hatch and the hot-ish Fiesta ST, though not outrageously so.

What to look for

European cars aren't built to the high standards of Japanese ones, so be sure to arrange for a full professional inspection.

Carefully check the interior for signs of damage due to poor assembly, also for damage done by rough or bored kids.

Listen for squeaks or rattles when driving on rough roads, not necessarily unsealed ones.

A Fiesta engine should start easily and idle smoothly virtually from the moment it kicks over.

Listen and feel for a manual gearbox that hesitates or crunches during fast changes.

Try the steering on full lock at low speeds both all the way to the right and the left. Listen for the clicking sounds that indicate worn universal joints.

A Fiesta XR4 that has been driven hard can often be identified by uneven tyre wear. Also look for lowered suspension, big-diameter wheels with low profile tyres, and additional instruments.

Rust isn't going to be a problem unless a car has been poorly repaired after a crash. Look for paint finish that doesn’t match from panel to panel and for overspray on non-painted areas.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2015 $7,480 $18,260
2014 $6,930 $17,050
2013 $6,050 $15,510
2012 $5,060 $9,680
2011 $4,070 $7,810
2010 $3,300 $7,040
2009 $3,300 $6,490
2008 $2,640 $5,830
2007 $2,420 $5,280
2006 $2,310 $4,400
2005 $2,420 $4,180
2004 $2,200 $4,070

View all Ford Fiesta pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$3,990
Based on 26 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$2,333
Highest Price
$5,995

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Ghia 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,995 – 5,995 2004 Ford Fiesta 2004 Ghia Pricing and Specs
LX 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,333 – 4,990 2004 Ford Fiesta 2004 LX Pricing and Specs
Zetec 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,490 – 2,888 2004 Ford Fiesta 2004 Zetec Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7