1989 Ford Festiva L 1.3L straight 4 from North America

Summary:

A great little car for anyone

Faults:

Headlight Lens and grille had to be replaced because of an accident with a deer.

Clutch needed to be replaced at 159,547.

General Comments:

The car was always there when we needed it, even in the dead of winter.

The seats are pretty comfortable even after 15 years of use.

Electrics on it are really simple and easy to work on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd November, 2004

1989 Ford Festiva LX 1.3 2v from North America

Summary:

A versatile, tough little car

Faults:

The head gasket just blew... operator error.

The interior plastic does not hold up well in warm climates.

The clear coat is prone to falling off the base coat of paint after too much sun.

The original exhaust was the only factory piece that I was not satisfied with its lifespan... gone by 100k miles.

The original rear brakes made it 40k miles and quit. Aftermarket shoes made it 112k. (So far)

The alternator died at 140k.

The CV axles threw their boots by 100k, never clacked.

The drivers door window regulator broke in 2000/130k miles.

General Comments:

Fuel economy has been exceptional. It averages 38 miles per gallon overall with extremes of 28 and 50.

After 152,000 miles, and judicious application of protectant, the vinyl dash panels look like they did the day I bought the car.

The handling has responded well to aftermarket dampers and a set of wheels donated by a Mazda 626 with 185/60 HR 14 rubber. It corners tenaciously at full throttle.

The steering is light and accurate enough to go around a fire ant.

The 1.3 engine is barely adequate with more than one occupant. It needs at least a 1.6 with the carburettor.

Styling is a strong suit-it lacks pretension and blesses the car with a cavern in its 11'8" length.

The seats have held up admirably. The cigarette burn that came with the car in 1992 has neither expanded nor frayed. They are also paragons of comfort compared to the chairs in more expensive cars.

The air conditioner was cold enough to hang meat.

It took a wallop from a Dodge Van in the tail, and the hatch still opens and closes, albeit with some difficulty.

Braking power is, at best, mediocre.

This has been a disposable car that has proven its worth over the last dozen years. It will be repaired.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 2004

10th Apr 2014, 00:28

This Festiva is STILL running strong with over 200k AND the original clutch. Lord, it ain't too pretty any more, but it has outlived a whole bunch of newer and better equipped cars.

1989 Ford Festiva L 1.3 from North America

Summary:

Cheap, Speedy little car... Fun to drive

Faults:

I bought the car for $100 from a local dealer and it smoked a little bit on the test drive, but I didn't realize that it had a vicious oil leak until after the papers were signed. I have to put a new valve cover gasket on it and I just had to rebuild the alternator.

General Comments:

Comfortable riding. Great gas mileage. Lots of space if you put the back seat up. Good car to put a nice stereo system in.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2004

23rd Aug 2004, 18:03

A Festy with the 5 speed and a properly running engine is quite peppy. they only weigh something like 1800 LBS, so the 65 horsepower 1.3 is enough to hustle around in traffic quite nicely. These won't beat a Honda, or anything else really, but they're great for someone who wants a reliable, fuel efficent runabout.

18th Sep 2004, 17:18

As a basic car, the Festiva is very slow, but it's possible to swap a different engine into it for some serious performance boosts... This year, a Festiva with a B6T engine swapped into it (Yes, a Festiva with a turbo) beat a Subaru WRX at the NOPI Nationals. Festiva ran a 14.05, WRX ran 14.15, a tenth of a second slower then the little Festiva. As for the transmission, apparently he's still using the stock Festiva transmission.

With cars like the Festiva getting older, they're becoming a good platform to start off with, and build up into something more than the manufacturer intended them to be. A car is only as slow/fast as you want it to be, if you're willing to put some effort into it. I'm going to be picking up a nice blue one for $500 as something to train myself on sticks with, and maybe even as something to build up.