1997 Ford Fiesta FUN 1.3i petrol from South Africa
Good car. Bad engine. Ideal starter car
The driver's seat frayed and the side panels in the door pulled out.
The steering wheel has started to disintegrate, leaving a plastic residue on your hands (I use a steering wheel cover to avoid this).
The one of the cylinders died at 174 500km. I replaced the engine with another low-mileage Endura E (from the year 2000) imported from Japan.
The indicators started to work intermittently, and eventually had to be replaced.
The clutch had to be replaced at 172 000km, and owing to the eccentric design of the clutch, since then the pedal does not come all the way back up after changing gear about 8-10 times. This is quite annoying, especially in traffic.
The colour-coded bumpers have faded at a different rate to the body of the car. This is a trivial complaint, but it has led to people asking if it's been in an accident.
The engine is severely underpowered at 44kW, but feels spritely in first and second gear.
The cabin is a grey-blue plastic that has not aged well. It is faded, but appears to be of a reasonable quality (no cracks etc.).
The handling is excellent, and there is some feedback from the steering wheel, and the car can be very exciting to drive. This is one aspect of the car that I really adore; there are more-powerful cars that simply cannot compete with the chassis and handling of this little car.
The gearbox is adequate. It has a short-throw, which makes driving the car more fun, and can make you feel like a racing driver, albeit in slow-motion.
The cabin is full of cubby-holes and side-pockets, which make you feel that Ford genuinely thought about the car. This is something overlooked by many of its competitors, and despite my not liking keeping lots of things in my car, it is something that is thoughtful.
The tyres are 165/70 R13. These are on average R100 more expensive than the more common 155/80 R13 tyres. However, I have seen these tyres used on the car with no major incident.
Ride comfort is a tad firm. I think this is because of the "lower" profile tyres at 65 vs 80 in its competitors.
The sound system is standard and very good. It never sounds like it's blaring, even at higher volumes.
Fuel consumption seemed to hover around 11-12km per litre (with the original engine) and has improved to 12-13km per litre with the new engine. I mention this because it suggests that the engine's consumption doesn't vary too much (despite older ones having excessive tappet noise). It should also be noted that this is a higher fuel consumption than you'd expect from an electronically fuel-injected engine.
The car is relatively spacious. The 3-door model I have has identical dimensions to the 5-door, and can carry 5 people in relative comfort for short journeys (though the engine does struggle when fully loaded).
People regularly comment that the car is cute, and still looks sleek and modern, despite it being 15 years old.
The running costs are an annoyance. Parts (because the car is fuel-injected) and other components such as brake discs are more expensive than its competitors.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 23rd September, 2012