Lit­tle bun­dle of joy

Ford’s small­est hatches want for noth­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Review - GRAHAM SMITH graham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

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, such as Ford’s Fi­esta, have to­day be­come im­por­tant play­ers.

Still, buy­ers in this seg­ment want their cars to be sexy and the Fi­esta can claim to be that. With its slinky lines, pumpedup guard flares and slim­line head­lamps, it was styled was cute as a but­ton.

In­side, there was plenty of room for front 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 cer­tainly ap­pealed at first glance.

Ford’s Fi­esta range of three­and five-door hatches had the en­try level CL, mid-range LX and topline sport­ster Zetec, with 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre en­gines.

The 1.4 Du­ratec unit de­vel­oped 71kW at 5750rpm and 128Nm at 4200rpm, the 1.6 pro­duced 88kW at 6000rpm and 152Nm at 4050rpm.

Buy­ers also had a 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 THESHOP

Cars­guide has had few com­plaints from Fi­esta own­ers yet those we have re­ceived 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 rather de­feats one of the pur­poses of buy­ing small.

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 po­ten­tial pur­chase and don’t ac­cept any­thing that’s not quite right. Check the ser­vice record to make sure the re­quired main­te­nance was done.

INACRASH

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.

All mod­els had ABS and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion but, again, you had to buy a Zetec to get im­por­tant fea­tures such as emer­gency brake as­sis­tance, BAS or

Ap­peal: Fi­esta’s looks were a win­ner with small car buy­ers

Bells and whis­tles: Fi­esta’s flashy in­te­rior

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