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Used Ford Fiesta review: 2009-2010

With its slinky lines, pumped up guard flares and slimline headlamps the Ford Fiesta was as cute as a button.

There's no doubt that today's buyers, particularly younger ones, don't feel the same need for size as their forebears who were sold on the concept that bigger was better. Today's buyers are more size-savvy and are happy to buy the car that fits their needs.

In that context small cars, like Ford's Fiesta, have become important players in today's market. While they've resolved their size issues they still want their car to be sexy, and the Fiesta can claim to be that. With its slinky lines, pumped up guard flares and slimline headlamps it was as cute as a button.

Inside, there was plenty of room for front seat passengers, but those in the rear found themselves a little snug thanks to the sweeping roofline that compromised their headroom. The interior was flashy and the design sometimes overrode function, although it was certainly appealing at first glance.

MODEL WATCH

Ford's Fiesta range was made up of three and five-door hatch body styles, with entry level CL, mid-range LX and range-topping sportster Zetec, and 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines.

The CL and Zetec were available in both body styles, but the mid-range XL was only available as a 5-door.

The 1.4-litre Duratec unit developed 71kW at 5750rpm and 128Nm at 4200rpm, while the 1.6-litre engine boasted 88kW at 6000rpm and 152Nm at 4050rpm.

Buyers also had the choice of transmissions with Ford offering a five-speed manual and a four-speed auto. Underneath the Fiesta had MacPherson Strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension.

IN THE SHOP

While we have had few complaints from Fiesta owners, those we have had have been rather damning.

Engine pinging is a common complaint and is something to be mindful of when test driving a potential purchase. Running the car on the more expensive higher-octane fuel doesn't necessarily fix the problem, and it rather defeats one of the purposes of buying small in the first place.

We have also had reports of cars that simply cutout for no apparent reason, and the fault hasn't been diagnosed.

Build quality can also be variable, so cast a critical eye over any cars under consideration for purchase and don't accept anything that's not quite right.

Check for a service record to make sure the required maintenance has been done.

IN A CRASH

The CL and LX only came with dual airbags; to get more you had to buy a Zetec, which came with head and side airbags as well. Dynamically all models had ABS brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution, but again you had to buy a Zetec to get important features like emergency brake assistance, BAS, or dynamic stability control.

To get those same features on the CL or LX you had to fork out an extra $1000 for the optional 'Safety Pack'. For anyone in the market for a used Fiesta should take note of that when out car shopping.

UNDER THE PUMP

Ford claimed the Fiesta would average 6.1L/100km to 6.9L/100km, and would run on 91-octane unleaded.

OWNERS SAY

Jeff Pegg has owned his WS 1.6-litre manual 3-door Fiesta CL a mere three months and already regrets it. Already $10,000 worth of parts has had to be replaced because of rust, which he believes should have been found if it was properly inspected prior to delivery.

The engine also pinged terribly, even though the car was only run on 98 RON fuel, and while after three reflashes it is improved it still pings. The air-conditioning, in his view, is pitiful, and there is an annoying rattle in the dash that can't be traced. In both instances he has been told to "get used to" it.

On the plus side Jeff says his Fiesta handles well, looks great, and is good to drive in the cooler months.

Jeff reserves his harshest criticism for Ford's after-sales care, which he claims is "non-existent."

AT A GLANCE

Price new: $16,450 to $22,990
Engines: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder petrol, 71 kW/125 Nm; 1.6-litre 4-  cylinder petrol, 88 kW/152 Nm
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 4-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Economy: 6.9 L/100 km (1.4-litre auto), 6.1 L/100 km (1.6-litre man)
Body: 3-door hatch, 5-door hatch
Variants: CL, LX and Zetec
Safety: 4-star ANCAP.

VERDICT

Good looking, great driving little car that makes you want to drive small.

RATING

3 stars

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2010 $2,800 $6,600
2009 $2,900 $6,050

View all Ford Fiesta pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$6,800
Based on 87 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$3,777
Highest Price
$12,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CL 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,500 – 5,610 2009 Ford Fiesta 2009 CL Pricing and Specs
Econetic 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $3,100 – 5,390 2009 Ford Fiesta 2009 Econetic Pricing and Specs
LX 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,900 – 5,060 2009 Ford Fiesta 2009 LX Pricing and Specs
Zetec 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,900 – 4,950 2009 Ford Fiesta 2009 Zetec Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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