1989 Ford Festiva Reviews from North America

1989 Ford Festiva L 1.3L I4

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 1.3L I4 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired136400 miles
Most recent distance137100 miles

Summary:

Fantastic gas saver, and it's original, no one else has one!

Faults:

Well I bought the car 5 days ago, and have put 700 miles on it. That cost me about $45. I have gotten anywhere between 30 and 70 MPG.

I bought the car for $600, and have had to put $283 into getting to pass safety and IM. So it's cost me more than I wanted, but has saved me around $150 in gas compared to my other car, a 94 Cadillac Deville.

I had to have the exhaust between the catalytic convertor and muffler replaced at $119. And the emergency brake was broken; cost $45 to fix.

Otherwise, it leaks oil; enough to smoke visibly after long drives.

General Comments:

It's definitely a no frills car; 2 speaker AM/FM tape deck, FM doesn't work, tape doesn't work, and it can't remember where you were last time it was on. The presets also don't work.

The 1.3L engine is powerful enough to keep up with traffic; more torque than a Metro, so better MPG as well.

The headlights work well.

There is no: power steering, power windows, sunroof, electric anything, air conditioning. It does however have power brakes, which is a minute difference when coasting with the engine off.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th July, 2012

20th Jul 2012, 07:37

The Festiva was considered a disposable car when new, so when it sustained even moderate accident damage or required major mechanical work, it was usually junked rather than repaired.

So even though a lot were sold, most of the ones who have not yet been crushed, soon will be, to make more disposable cars.

20th Jul 2012, 21:42

I see these a little too often to consider them "original".

21st Jul 2012, 22:05

One that actually gets 70 MPG (as the reviewer claims) would certainly be original.

Suspect that if this claim is even true, it was while coasting downhill only.

30th Dec 2013, 08:58

I agree with the last post. I own an '89 with an auto trans, and the most I've ever gotten with it is 38 MPG. Pretty impressive for a 25 year old car, but nowhere near the 70 MPG claimed. Think the EPA says the low 40's for the 5 speed on the road. Check your numbers and your math. If you still come up with 70 MPG, please tell us how you do it.

1989 Ford Festiva LX 1.3

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.3 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired76000 miles
Most recent distance101000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Cavalier

Summary:

Closest I've ever come to driving for free

Faults:

When I purchased the car, I replaced the rear wheel bearings, muffler, and front brakes. Since that time, nothing.

General Comments:

At the time I bought this car gas was over $4.00 a gallon and I was looking for a motorcycle for fuel economy. Came across this little beauty with an EPA rating of over 30 MPG and a $500 price tag. I couldn't pass it up. It was the proverbial little old lady's, drive it to church on Sunday, car.

Since I've owned the vehicle, it has performed flawlessly. I live in an area that sees temps of -10 degrees and a 100" of snow in the winter and it has never failed to start or got stuck on me. I was simply amazed at how well this little piece goes through the snow.

The only things I've changed on the car were to swap out the 12" wheels that came on it with some 13"ers that came off a '97 Geo Metro, and take out the rear seats. 12" tires are hard to find now, and I was worried about blowing a tire somewhere and being stuck while the local tire shop tried to find a replacement. The 13s also helped the ride comfort quite a bit and made the speedometer pretty much dead on. I removed the rear seat because it was useless to begin with, and I wanted the extra cargo space. With the seat out, you can carry tons of stuff in the back of this thing. It's like a two seater wagon or a mini minivan.

The only draw back I've found with the car is it's not very good on the interstate. It loves expressways around town at 55 to 65 MPH, but it's not quite as happy on the highway at 65 to 75 MPH. Even getting 34 MPG as I do, the 10 gal. tank doesn't give enough range, and the seats are only good for maybe 3 hours before you need to hit the rest area. Noise levels are also high out on the road, but it was built as an economy car and is 20 years old.

To sum up, the car is reliable, roomy, cheap to own and operate, and fits in all those tight parking spots. I might add that the insurance on it is dirt cheap too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2009

12th May 2010, 11:11

I've put on another 5,000 miles since this review was written, and haven't had to do anything to it other than change oil. Gas is back up to $3.00 a gallon again, so I'll be keeping her a while yet.

19th Aug 2011, 16:52

Update # 2:

Have now put 50,000 miles on this car. Had to replace the front crank seal at 125,000. $10.00 part, but required the removal of everything on the front of the engine, including the timing belt and gears. Replaced the belt as long as I was there for $24.00. That's it.

After more than 20 years since this car was built, auto manufacturers are now building cars with fuel economy in mind, and vehicles that get 30-40 mpg and run for up to 250,000 miles are becoming common. The question is, why did it take so long to get back to where we were in '89?

23rd Aug 2011, 18:56

I rebuilt a stock motor in a Festiva, and put a aftermarket cam in it. I can get up to 50 mpg and will peg the speedo. It cost me 200 to have the block bored over, and about 200 for the after market rebuild kit. The 0 to 60 is crazy.

To quiet the noise, put foam patting under your headliner and in your doors, and under the carpet. Huge difference.

I have four Festivas, and have repainted and rebuilt them all. Love them!

28th Feb 2013, 18:48

Well, back again, and this piece now has 150,000 on it. Besides the repairs mentioned above, I've replaced the water pump, and had to find a bone yard window regulator after my wife cranked on it when the window was frozen shut with ice one January morning.

Five years of driving and still going strong. Not bad for a $500 car. Figure in the cost of parts I've put in, and that's probably less that $150 a year, and it still looks decent. Will be back at 200,000 miles.

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 16 reviews