1998 Ford Fiesta Finesse 1.3 from UK and Ireland


I love this car, but the list of faults is just endless!


It uses a litre of oil approx every 2 weeks.

The rear and dashboard lights do not work any more, at all.

The exhaust is badly rusted, and fumes are entering the car.

The boot does not open, the lock stopped working.

It stalls randomly at junctions, roundabouts and slip roads, when the brake and clutch are both down, up to 10 times per journey!

The rear windscreen wiper has stopped working completely!

The handbrake becomes loose very quickly.

The horn does not work.

The alarm to alert that the lights have been left on when the door opens, no longer works.

General Comments:

The car, despite all these problems, never fails to start.

It is comfortable to drive, and we have done a fair few miles since I bought it.

However the cost of passing MOTs and general repairs is becoming excessive, especially as these faults seem to be fixed and then reoccur.

I do not want to have to scrap this car, especially as the engine seems to work fine, apart from the oil loss. This doesn't seem to be leaking, but burning out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2011

1998 Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.25 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Fun to drive little car with a great engine


Engine "pinking" on very light and very heavy throttle. Soon to be sorted with a new set of plugs and some injector cleaner.

Replaced a broken offside front coil spring at 52k miles for MoT, which was all that was required. Cost £69.

Howling noise coming from offside front wheel while driving which is exacerbated by braking. Not sure if it is a wheel bearing of related to the braking system.

4 new tyres (though I doubt that counts!).

Engine seems to use a bit of oil. Not excessive, but will look at solutions.

Bit of rust on offside rear wheel arch. Apparently it needed welding to the sills for the last MoT, but I didn't own the car then.

Passenger side a-pillar has gone a bit crusty. Will have it treated soon.

That's it!

General Comments:

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.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2009

23rd Apr 2010, 09:00

Since I wrote the original review, I've replaced the following:

2x front coil springs.

2x front lower suspensions arms, bushes and bolts

Exhaust back box (which was only 9 months old and completely rotten).

Lambda sensor - caused the car to be hesitant and pink during acceleration.

Rear wiper stopped working, but found mildew on the boot contacts and cleaned. All OK now.

Had a full service at 53.2k in November, now on 58k.

Still fairly happy with the car, but rust is slowly taking its toll.