1997 Ford Fiesta Chicane 1.4 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Nice engine, shame about the junk it's bolted into


Front lower arm bushes split twice.

Front anti-roll bar bushes split twice.

Front calipers seized.

Heater valve died.

Auxiliary belt tensioner started moaning.

Several oil leaks.

Rear wash wipe packed up.

Remote tailgate release packed up.

Rust bubbles on rear arches in 2003 when it was 6 years old!

Started overheating whenever the heater was turned off. Went in to dealer five times, returned as "fixed" each time, but never got to the bottom of it.

Needing something bigger and being so so sick of the car I part-exed it for a Honda Civic which has never given a day's trouble.

General Comments:

Never, ever will I buy another Ford.

Main dealer supplied, with low mileage and a FSH, it drove beautifully when I got it. Actually, to be fair it drove beautifully when I got rid of it. Just as long as I ignored the £,000's spent on it to keep it that way, and so long as I didn't turn the heater off!

Good points: Zippy, frugal 1.4 Zetec engine pulls well, revs smoothly and returns an easy 35 mpg. Sharp handling.

Bad points: Criminally unreliable, crap build quality, some shocking design flaws which see some parts (suspension bushes) lasting only 18 months before they fail "couldn't care less" attitude of Ford and their dealers. Rust. On a 6 year old car. Ford weren't interested.

The whole car feels like it was built to the lowest possible price. I'm not talking about the interior trim or equipment, but the engineering underneath it. The front suspension is chronically under-engineered, and needs parts replacing almost every year to stop the insane clonking and wandering that accompanies the regular bush failure. The cooling system struggles if the heater is turned off, and the catalogue of stupid, ongoing problems is testament to below-par design and engineering.

Had three older Fords over the years and all have been decent enough cars, but if this is the direction they've taken in recent years, I wouldn't touch another with a ten metre cattle prod.

As a new car it would probably have been brilliant, and I still can't believe how smooth and punchy that little 1400 Zetec engine was. Sadly as a package it was crap. There is no other word for it. It's not like I neglected it either. Serviced exactly to the schedule by the supplying dealer, regularly washed and polished, and not thrashed about. I hate to think how much they disintegrate if abused.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st April, 2006

25th Aug 2007, 11:01

I bought my son a new 1999 Fiesta Zetec 1.25 and agree with the previous comments, in that there are under engineered parts in the area of the suspension. These must be replaced after a short life span, and represent problems that I have never had in almost 40 years of driving.

Also the rear calipers burst/leaked, and the poor design means that the rear brake pipes above the flexi hose corrode rapidly.

On the positive side, this small car handles well and the engine has been reliable. Also, an initial 3 year free insurance offer for a 17 year old learner was attractive, so I cannot grumble too much.

1997 Ford Fiesta Ghia 1.4 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Great to drive, but had constant problems


Leaking heater matrix (cheap and surprisingly easy to replace)

Would overheat at random. A full cooling system flush, two new thermostats, a new radiator, full pressure test and a new water pump never found the problem.

Stalling when hot (intermittent)

Rear wash wipe intermittently didn't work.

Front lower arm bushes replaced twice.

Front anti roll bar bushes replaced once.

Oil leak from sump gasket.

Rear view mirror sheared off.

General Comments:

Great car to drive, but let down by constant niggling problems. Suspension bush failure is common on these cars, yet still Ford will sell you the exact same replacement part they know fails after as little as a year and 12,000 miles.

Had constant problems with the cooling system too which would intermittently cause the car to overheat. I replaced every major component and had the system pressure tested, but it still couldn't be fixed. This meant I never could really trust the car. The car also suffered from oil leaks and electrical problems.

Awkward to work on too. The Zetec engine isn't a particularly tight fit under the bonnet, but many components that you don't need to get to for basic maintenance are inaccessible. This seems deliberate in some cases, and very unusual for Ford.

Great engine, surprisingly lively and brilliant in the corners. The basic build quality is good too, but the package as a whole was too unreliable and jobs that would take ten minutes on most coars seemed to take hours on this one due to a poorly designed underbonnet layout.

After a string of Fords, this was my last. Very disappointing.

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

Review Date: 27th January, 2006

15th Mar 2007, 06:20

I love my Ghia. I bought it nearly 4 years ago. She has passed all her NCT's and aside from brake pads the usual that need to be replaced, the only problem I had was with the heater. An element that goes on all fiestas apparently. Easily resolved at only Eu5o!!