1988 Ford Festiva L 1.3 from North America


This is a much better car than a Metro for someone who wants a cheap used car!


The fuel pump sprang a leak. I bought one from Auto Zone for around $30 and replaced it in a half hour.

I had to replace the distributor cap when the car wouldn't run in wet weather. I blame this on over tightening by the previous owner, since it was cracked at both mounting bosses.

The vacuum advance wore out. They are unavailable from any source except junkyards, but I found one (and a rear tail light and window handle) for $10. The tail light was broken when a friend ran into me.

I replaced the front main oil seal since it leaked a bit. Since I was "in there" anyway, I replaced the water pump and the timing belt. This cost less than $100 for everything.

These are the only items on this car that have been worked on or replaced except for regular maintenance (oil changes) and wear items (a set of tires, mounted, balanced, road hazard warranty, all for $114).

General Comments:

I bought this car for $1000. I figure it's the cheapest, most reliable ride I've had since my 1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Diesel got totaled in '98.

The performance is OK considering the gas mileage (mid thirties in town, high thirties to low forties on the road).

The A/C still chills and still has R-12 in it.

The heater is great, but you can't get warm air out of the dash vents.

I am told the fuel injected Festivas are even more reliable than the carbureted ones.

The seats are lousy on long (over 4 hour) trips.

The car is very easy to work on!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th January, 2003

16th Mar 2007, 21:43

This is an update to the original post. The car now has 181000 miles on it, the A/c doesn't work any more, and the only part I've replaced since the original post is the radiator (about 100 dollars from an on line supplier). The secondary barrel on the carburetor sticks open sometimes. The car still gets 37 mpg city.

15th Feb 2008, 22:27

On 2/03/08, this car met a tree and fire hydrant. It's totaled. I put 96000 miles on it from October 2000 and incurred approximately $700 worth of repair and maintenance bills in that time. This included two sets of tires, a distributor, a radiator, water pump, timing belt, fuel pump, and three tuneups (one set of plug wires, two distributor caps and rotors, and two sets of spark plugs). I'm grieving.

11th Jul 2008, 11:45

I am so sorry to hear about your loss; I feel your pain. I would be DEVASTATED if anything happened to my "Festy". I hope you decide to locate and buy another Festiva.

Good luck!

1988 Ford Festiva L 4 cyliner from North America


Economical and very reliable


Fuel pump had to be replaced at about 250,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car was one of the best cars I have ever owned as it was cheap to operate and extremely reliable. I sold the car with over 300,000 miles on it and I sometimes see it on the road in the local community.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2002

1988 Ford Festiva GL 1.3 from North America


If I knew how good the car was I would have bought five new ones to last the rest of my life


Nothing ever broke on my car.

General Comments:

The car was the best car I have ever owned.

The a/c never needed charging. The clutch never needed adjusting. The valve cover gasket never needed replacing. The clutch was original. I replaced the timing belt at 220,000 miles. The timing belt never broke. The only thing to ever fail was the dome light.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd October, 2002

4th Feb 2007, 17:57

My dome light is out too. Only had to change spark plug cables before that tho. Initially, my MPG was AVERAGING 45mpg. I've kept my mileage low. With all the good reports here, I think my Festiva will last a long time.

16th Aug 2007, 17:48

I wrote the initial review, am driving a 1990 Geo Prizm now that is basically a toyota corolla and it is doing fine with 212,000 miles. The Festiva was great and I miss it.

7th Nov 2008, 21:31

I am the original poster. My Prizm was going to need more maintenance than I wanted to spend on it.. CV joints, an oil leak near the timing belt, and I sold it to my mechanic for $300... they stripped it and turned it into a race car. The big oil leak was simple... Wal Mart did not replace the oil drain plug right and the washer fell off. They race it and won three races.

I just got a 1993 Festiva L with no air and a five speed manual, with only 99K for $1450 Nov 7, 2008. I had to pay a lot because of the low miles and very good condition it is in... still smells new inside.

There is a Festiva club www.fordfestiva.com and I went to it last month and there were 26 cars there. I had to get another one... I had two 88 L Plus four speeds, the 88 LX mentioned here, and a 93 GL... so this is my fifth one... I intend on keeping this one forever!