1996 Ford Fiesta Si 1.25 Zetec from UK and Ireland


Good practical small runabout


To date nothing - The vehicle has given good service at low costs.

Fuel consumption is very good and never below 40 miles per gallon.

Spares are readily available and inexpensive.

General Comments:

Good seats and driving position.

Car was bought for the kids to learn on, but it's so satisfying that they find it difficult to get into it.

Only bad observation is the requirement for the hatchback to be opened with the ignition key.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2001

1996 Ford Fiesta Classic Cabaret 1.3i from UK and Ireland


Not as good as it should have been


There was a bad finish on the paint job and the car went back 2 or 3 times with chips and finish problems. Also the rear number plate was originally fitted with holes drilled into the boot lid and the alloy taps provided were ignored. This was repaired by Ford when I pointed it out, but the alloy taps eventually came loose and had to be drilled out and replaced. Also within 18 months the passenger sill began to rust and Ford refused to repair it despite a 5 year anti corrosion warranty which apparently only covers rust from the inside out.

The rear suspension began to feel a little wooly and when I took it off I found there was no oil in it at all.

The tappets are adjustable and once serviced sounded good, but after a few thousand miles they became noisy as they loosened off.

The exhaust needed replacing after 12 months and wasn't covered on the warranty.

General Comments:

As you can imagine, I was somewhat unimpressed with this car having paid eight and a half thousand pounds for it. I'm not saying that the Fiesta is a bad car, it was lovely to drive when it was running properly and my Mother has driven a Fiesta for about 7 years without a problem.

The seats where incredibly comfortable and the ride was generally good. Handling was predictable and fun, if a little heavy compared to the model that replaced it. The steering wheel was a perfect size and gave the car a sporty feel.

If you want to buy one then check underneath for rust, especially on the sills and above the petrol tank. Also check the suspension and the inner door bottoms. Then go and buy a Vauxhall. The dealers are friendlier and more helpful, the spares are cheaper and the whole ownership experience is far more enjoyable. I'm told that Ford are building cars properly these days, but I would have to have my head checked if I ever bought another one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st November, 2001

1996 Ford Fiesta Ghia 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Great fun to drive, not hugely practical


When I first purchased the car the front brake discs were replaced, at the time of selling they needed replacing again within 30k miles!

The car suffered from carpet dampness, never discovered the cause.

General Comments:

Very nippy with great steering, handling and engine.

Proved 100% reliable over three years despite high mileage.

Lack of space for rear seat passengers.

Sunroof is cheap and flimsy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th June, 2001

1996 Ford Fiesta Si 1.25 Zetec from UK and Ireland


Smart looking, comfortable, and nice to drive, but not that quick


Leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks and more leaks!!!

Leave it sat in the rain for long, and the interior floods!

Sometimes, it's in the driver's footwell, and others, it's in the rear passenger footwell, but only at the driver's side!

Other times, it stays bone-dry.

The dealer (none Ford) had the entire interior striped to find the leak, but with no joy!

Apart from the leak, it's been totally reliable - no problems at all.

General Comments:

Not a hot hatch by any stretch of the imagination, but still goes well enough.

Very strong at motorway cruising speeds, but lacking in low-down grunt.

Being an Si, it's fitted with the VERY COMFORTABLE sports seats, as fitted in the Puma, which make long miles much more bearable - Driving School Car!

The power steering is nice too, but gets heavy at speed.

Gear change is a bit clunky, and not very smooth, but positive.

It's fitted with the electric pack - electric front windows, electrically adjusted/heated door mirrors, and the fantastic heated front screen - great on cold winter days.

It's nice looking, with a neat rear spoiler, colour coded mirrors and grille (metallic silver in my case), and a nice to drive car, if not that quick (despite having 85PS!)

I'm getting a newer model soon. Zetec-S? Wonder what the insurance is like on one of those!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2001

4th Jan 2003, 14:40

I own a Fiesta 1.4Si, and have also had problems with water leaks. One in particular, which is most apparent when the car is parked flat (i.e. in a car park). It floods the passenger foot-well. My local dealer tells me that there are, apparently, over 25 different places on the bulkhead where this water could be entering.

On the other hand, engine and running gear have all been completely reliable - never failed to start, and apart from your consumable items such as brake pads etc., haven't had to shell out for any repairs. Sorry, forgot, steering track-rod end replaced at 55k. Oh, and an untraceable PAS leak, but still a great car to drive!!

6th Jan 2004, 05:42

I own a 1.25 Ghia and have have no end of problems with leaks. After tracking down and fixing the original leak through the aerial, another one appeared to the rear of the sunroof. This has been attended to by no less than four separate bodies and is still going. It is so bad that I have to place a pot underneath it otherwise it would soak the carpet. Why Ford cannot seem to remedy this I will never know. Oh, and the leather steering wheel has started to disintegrate. Great car otherwise.

8th Feb 2004, 03:31

Hi, I've got the Mazda 121 which is basically a Fiesta. Great to drive, superb 16V Zetec engine, but, has the dreaded water leak which manages to flood the drivers side footwell which then sloshes to the back when driving. The leak appears to be coming in and dripping down along a mastic seam behind the security module behind the drivers kick panel. Can't see where it comes in though from the outside. Could it be the screen edge?