Small torque

The word’s out — the Fi­esta is a fun, fea­ture-packed lit­tle car

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

NEW

There’s no ar­gu­ment that the car mar­ket has changed. The once dom­i­nant big cars are on the nose, re­placed largely by other big cars in the form of SUVs, but at the same time small cars that were once shunned by all but the pover­tys­tricken are en­joy­ing an un­prece­dented fol­low­ing.

This new­found pop­u­lar­ity has meant that car mak­ers have put more ef­fort into mak­ing them at­trac­tive to a new gen­er­a­tion of buy­ers in­stead of strip­ping them of ev­ery­thing but the basics in the hope of mak­ing a buck.

The re­sult: the likes of the Thai-built Ford Fi­esta, an at­trac­tive, fun-filled lit­tle car that drives well, is eco­nom­i­cal and has loads of neat fea­tures.

For theWTseries, the four­door sedan had the se­cu­rity of a boot and a lit­tle more body stiff­ness to aid han­dling, while the five-door hatch was more ver­sa­tile. There were also two four-cylin­der engine op­tions, a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel. Both were quite eco­nom­i­cal, the turbo diesel more so by quite a mar­gin.

The only crit­i­cism of the petrol engine was that it lacked a lit­tle per­for­mance at low revs but it was still per­fectly ad­e­quate.

At the same time the turbo diesel was lauded for its sparkling per­for­mance. The down­side was that it came only with a five-speed man­ual gear­box.

For those want­ing an auto there was no choice but to go for the petrol engine, fit­ted with a new six-speed dual-clutch DSG gear­box.

The turbo diesel was a win­ner for per­for­mance and econ­omy but the man­ual gear­box put some peo­ple off. If you wanted an auto trans­mis­sion you had to forgo the oiler.

All mod­els had stan­dard sta­bil­ity con­trol. The base CL only had two airbags, with a $600 op­tion that up­graded it to the seven that all other mod­els had.

A down­side was that the Fi­esta didn’t come with a spare wheel, for that you had to pay ex­tra.

In­stead it had an aerosol kit for use on your flat tyre.

NOW

Given the auto is a twin-clutch, which can prove trou­ble­some, per­haps the best op­tion is to avoid the com­pli­ca­tion of tech­nol­ogy and opt for a sim­ple man­ual gear­box.

If you re­ally want the auto, test drive it thor­oughly to try to find any faults it might have. Don’t just drive it around the block— take it for an ex­tended run, driv­ing it un­der vary­ing con­di­tions, high, low and walk­ing speed, ac­cel­er­at­ing from a stop, over­tak­ing etc.

Check whether the cho­sen car has the op­tional spare and pon­der what you might do if it doesn’t— and if not, make sure the aerosol kit is there.

Some own­ers say that their petrol mod­els ping, which obliges them to run on 95-oc­tane fuel in­stead of the cheaper 91. That in­creases run­ning costs sig­nif­i­cantly.

Build qual­ity is a com­plaint of­ten heard from WT Fi­esta own­ers, so take the time to in­spect the ve­hi­cle closely.

In­spect the body for bumps and scrapes. Th­ese al­ways

bring the value of a car down. Check the ser­vice record to re­as­sure your­self that the re­quired ser­vic­ing has been car­ried out.

SMITHY SAYS

Ques­tion­able build qual­ity de­tracts from an at­trac­tive pack­age but the diesel engine is

worth the punt.

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