A generally very good little car let down by poor performance
The temperature gauge failed.
The rear wiper motor failed.
The clutch ratchet failed.
Part of the dashboard illumination failed.
The front suspension legs had to be replaced.
There was a short circuit in the alternator which caused the battery to drain prematurely.
The car started smoking and using oil rapidly after about 70,000 miles. I am told that this is a common fault on HCS (high compression) versions of Ford's CVH engines. The tappets were also a bit loud, although this is again a common fault on Ford CVH engines. Neither of these problems will stop the engine running however, and can be kept under control with regular servicing.
Well, I must say that this was one very decent car on the whole.
The fault list looks worse than it actually was, as most of the faults mentioned didn't actually prevent the car from being driven.
The only other things I had to replace were service items such as brake pads and spark plugs etc. It also needed a new clutch at approx 60,000 miles, but this is to be expected at the end of the day.
There was a significant amount of rust along the sills, wheel arches and front/rear valances, although this is pretty much to be expected on a 10 year old vehicle. I wouldn't say that the car was worse than any other vehicle of a similar age. The remainder of the car was generally rust free, other than under the fuel cap (this is a common fault on mark 3 Fiestas without the little door that covers the fuel cap).
The car served me very well through three years of university, plus a few months either side.
Running costs were very good, with 45mpg easily achievable, although the insurance grouping was a tad high for a 1.1 at group 5.
I really must take my hat off to the Ford dealers I came into contact with. Not only were they reasonably cheap, but I rarely had to wait more than a couple of hours for servicing/repairs, and parts were almost always available on the spot.
Good though it was, the car was far from perfect though.
Performance was nothing short of pathetic (18.2 seconds 0-60mph) ; this was made worse by the fact that the car had a manual choke. On cold mornings it sometimes felt as if there wasn't even enough power to move off on level ground!
The ride and handling left a fair bit to be desired as well. Mark 3 Fiestas were designed at a time when Ford didn't seem think that any degree of driving enjoyment was necessary. A world away from the mid 1990's onward Fords without a doubt!
I must admit however that I was genuinely sorry to see the car go, and if its replacement (a mark 1 Clio) can be as good then I'll be very happy.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th March, 2003