2003 Ford Fiesta Black 1.4 Duratec from UK and Ireland
Perhaps one of the best appointed and best value small cars on the market at the moment
Fingers crossed, but nothing so far.
No mechanical or electrical issues have occured to date.
The nose does appear to be prone to stone chipping, which will soon be rectified with a little touch-up and then some paint protection.
Initial impressions are good and improving with each passing day.
I bought the car as reasonably basic transport. Having owned larger cars and more performance orientated machinery, I thought that the step-down to a 1.4 might be a bit of a shock.
The local Ford dealer was very helpful, arranging a test drive in a 1.4, as they did not have one available on my initial visit. They did call back, as promised, a week later to say that they'd managed to get one on loan from another dealer.
Impressions on the test drive were pretty good, and although not the 'Black' special edition that I was looking for, the general fit and finish is far superior to my experiences of Ford's of the past. No squeaks or rattles, which is a good sign. The experience was certainly enough for me to commit to buying the 'Black' special edition.
The engine is a little harsh on start up, but seems to come up to temperature quite quickly. Although, I'm not sure how much of that can be put down to an optimistic or conservative digital gauge.
Engine does pull well through the first four gears, with no great gaps in the ratios. Fifth seems to be a little bit more of a stretch and is only really suited to a cruise. There is a definite lack of urgency in fifth, should you wish to try and nip past anything on the motorway. Overall, certainly geared for around town and lacks the longer legs for serious motorway miles. Selection is positive, but not too firm. Nicely balanced and not trying at all.
All I can say is that, I managed to rack up 450 miles travelling from Scotland to London in one day. Steady travel, with no complaints. No back ache and I'd be more than happy to do it again.
Fuel economy at a cruise is very impressive. I'll certainly be thinking twice before upgrading to a larger car again. I've still to work out the Mpg, but I didn't have to fill-up (45 litre tank?) again on my trip South.
The 'Black' special edition seems to be the perfect compromise, with full leather interior, heated front windscreen, air conditioning and few other nice touches.
Unfortunately with the special edition there was no choice as to the alloy wheels that would be fitted, and I've found the finish to be quite poor. The lacquer is already starting to show signs of premature wear on the front wheels. Easily sorted, but a little annoying.
Tyre sizes seem to be perfect. No ultra-harsh kick back from the tyres or suspension. No tram-lining or wandering either.
Ambient noise is also quite good. No nasty road noise. The ride is firm, with reasonable turn-in. Turning circle is excellent.
I'm still in two minds with regards to the weighting of the power steering. I find that the initial turn-in is positive, if a little vague to begin with. I'm sure that my confidence will grow though and this is probably more a reflection of the cars that I've been used to driving.
The only other little niggles that I can think of, are the instruments. I'm 6'2" and find that with the wheel adjusted to the correct height, to sit comfortably at the wheel; the wheel then obscures my view of the upper parts of the clocks. Nothing major, I'll get used to it.
The visibility through the rear quarter glass (rear passenger glass, when checking blind spot) is very poor. I can see almost nothing through that side without leaning over and across. I've adjusted the mirrors out a little, but may look at getting a small blind-spot insert, just in case.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th April, 2006