2001 Ford Fiesta Flight 1.3 Endura-e from UK and Ireland
Great for a first car and fair insurance
Exhaust and catalytic converter failed, and had to replaced in their entirety, and was half the car's value to replace (£995 3rd hand).
Wheel bearings are noisy on the front wheels, and are due for replacement.
Steering arms vibrate on rough ground and at high speed on the motorway. Due for replacement, as rather unsettling while driving.
Oil sump corroded to the point of leakage; due for replacement.
Battery broke 1 month after buying. This is unlikely to be a flaw with the car. Bought a new battery from Ford with a 3 year warranty.
Spark plugs were overheated on inspection and required replacement. New plugs were £10.
Air filter is dirty and is due for replacement, despite cleaning.
Crankshaft pressure release filter was blocked and required manual cleaning. If this was not discovered, there may have been total engine failure.
Standard dipped beams seemed very dim on night driving, so I purchased modern and brighter blue bulbs. Changing these was relatively straightforward.
Rear windows on the 3 door model consist of three bolts that have the tendency to corrode and leave oily streaks down the window. I resolved this by gently using a Brillo pad and soap, and repainting the exposed bolts. Replacing the bolts I have read is difficult task.
The spare wheel tray is stored in a poor exposed location, and it's difficult to remove the wheel. Spare wheel required repainting to protect it from road debris and rain.
Winscreen wiper mechanism was squeaking and required WD-40 application. This problem would be eliminated if the vents at the base of the windscreen did not expose the mechanism to the elements.
Rubber tubing in the engine bay was rubbing against metal, causing attrition. Resolved by applying tape on the metal and tubing on the affected area.
Burnt out dashboard illumination on the radio; was straightforward to replace.
Rear number plate illumination has an intermittent lighting fault.
The boot light functions by the opening of the hatch, and has proven to be unreliable.
Passenger side rear indicator connection needed cleaning to allow for operation.
Front number plate had corroded screws, and prompted replacement.
Fun to drive, cheap to run and repair, simple and basic interior, but the engine is reliable and responsive, and in 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears, the car is nippy, but the lack of torque means poor acceleration in 4th and 5th gear.
I could write better review if car was a higher up model with more features; but for this, the Flight, I was very disappointed with the lack of trip computer, rev counter, temperature gauge and anti-lock brakes.
Doors ice up easily, denying access in sub zero temperatures.
This car also steams up quickly in wet, and I've bought a dehumidifier to try alleviate the problem to increase visibility.
Cabin noise on the motorway is rather intrusive; I had ringing ears after some journeys.
Radio is unsatisfactory with a 2.1 sound system. The speakers are installed in the rear, however there is no wire loom to connect them.
Generous boot space for a hatchback.
Standard cassette player is outdated; cassette adapters are available for iPods.
Fuel efficiency is good, but could be better (38 mpg combined).
Wing mirrors are small and limit perspective. This is especially bothersome when parking. Central mirror suffers same problem, and it's difficult to set it in an optimum viewing position for driving.
Clean the air filter and crankshaft pressure release to prevent failures and reduced fuel economy.
Braking power is very poor, even when firm; it is ideal to brake well in advance.
Grips well in ice and snow due to front wheel drive and the light weight of the car (900kg).
3 star Euro NCAP is better than most small hatchbacks from its era, but it's by no means the safest car to be in during an accident.
Drive sensibly and the car shouldn't give you too much trouble. I'm nit-picking with many issues herein, other than the exhaust; it's a good little runaround, and many failures/problems stated are typical of any vehicle.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th December, 2011
UPDATE BY AUTHOR: (22/4/12) Since date of this review being posted (27/12/11), this car was serviced in late January after insufficient brake force nearly caused a rear end collision with another motorist. Replacements were made to: the brake discs, brake pads, brake shoes, brake fluid, oil sump, oil filter, air filter, new oil, gaskets, front wheel bearings, spark plugs, steering track rod end (which was creating the vibration through steering wheel). This was major work, and cost £500 at best rate trusted mechanic to perform. The vehicle handled much better after these changes.
I changed the auxiliary belt myself to ensure there wasn’t any damage to it. I have no knowledge of the car's previous life. The belt cost £26 and was difficult to install, and I had to support the engine block with a jack and remove an engine mount for access. The engine mount bolts were over tightened and different sizes, which took more effort. The tensioner is placed in an awkward position.
The advantage with the 1.3 OHV engine, is there is no timing belt, which significantly lowers risk of failure and expensive repairs.
The car passed its MOT without fault on 20/4/12 almost a year since I acquired it. There were advisories for rear shock absorbers leaking and reduced damping effect. This is scheduled for replacement on 26/4/12, and is expected to cost £150.
I am hoping that my Fiesta will hold its own once this maintenance has been carried out, especially since I’ve spent more than its value in repairs. Parts are cheaper relatively speaking, but it’s definitely one of the most unreliable cars you can buy, and yet I’d still want one for its fun driving style.
I have presently travelled 10000 miles with my Fiesta, and plan to go many more.