Bought the car for £600 in July 2009 from a prestige car dealer who had taken it as a trade-in. Previously has a Citroen Xsara 1.4 and had a fair few issues with it, and this car was in the right place at the right time.
When I first drove the car, I noticed a few things. First of all the gearbox is really slick compared to my Xsara. Secondly the engine is much smoother, revvier and more responsive. Probably not a great deal faster than my Citroen, but so much more pleasurable to use! Thirdly, the steering is utterly precise and the cornering ability is terrific for a little car. It can be chucked into bends at ridiculous speeds and is terrific fun when the little 1.25 engine is used properly.
The Zetec S (or Sigma) engine deserves its own paragraph! It is so smooth, revvy and lively that it just makes you want to keep on driving. It's a marvelous piece of engineering, and it is no wonder Ford still use it in the 2009 Fiesta, albeit in 2 different states of tune. It even cruises well.
The body is a bit shabby on mine, but it still looks OK with the allow wheels. It's not a very stylish car, but it wasn't meant to be.
The interior is highly ergonomic, but is hampered by poor finish and a cheap feel. It is reasonably comfortable for a 6 foot driver and front passenger, but there is virtually NO room in the back. My brother, who is the same height as me (6 foot), had to sit with his legs up on the seat base. I can also imagine the car would get uncomfortable on long journeys, and the headroom is somewhat lacking too, front and rear. Similarly, the boot is rather small.
The stereo is also a weak point. It does the job, but ultimately it is rubbish! There isn't much equipment in the car either, apart from power steering, central locking and a sunroof.
Economy-wise I'm not sure. It seems OK, but is no better than my 1.4 Xsara. Just average really I suppose.
Have driven the car on a motorway, and it is surprisingly stable. It has enough poke to cruise at 80mph and can even overtake a bit! However, I do understand the 1.4 model is a lot better in this respect. And staying on the subject of cruising, it is pretty noisy. Not from the engine (though it is doing nearly 4k rpm at 70), but from the wind and road roar. It's not unbearable, but it's not that nice either.
Overall, I can recommend this as a first car for a youngster, or a family's second car. I bought it out of necessity, but I have to say, on its driving abilities alone, I can forgive its shortcomings and actually prefer it over my Xsara.