It is hard to believe that one of the cheapest cars in the UK could be so much fun!
Nothing has gone wrong causing the car to be off the road.
There have been a few of niggles, and I am being pedantic mentioning these.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the headlamps steam up. I believe they are given five minutes or so (I may wrong with the time) to clear when the lights are turned on to be considered within spec. Mine cleared so they are apparently okay.
My car consumed a little water in the latter part of the first 10,000 miles, but once topped up hasn't used any since.
The door skins are very exposed. There are no side mouldings and as a consequence I am very weary of parking in towns in case a slightly less scrupulous person dings their door into mine. Surely this is a basic flaw on a city car! I suppose a moulding would compromise the car's looks though. The grey bumpers are good for parking in towns though.
The passenger seat folding mechanism began sticking for a few thousand miles, but then rectified itself.
One of the clips (I assume it was a clip) holding the front bumper on came adrift. This was reattached by the dealer. I also broke a piece of trim on the back of the front seats when carrying two, admitted very tall, men in the back. The two reclusion stays (I’m sure there is a better way of describing the little holes by the three-quarter lights in the back) for the seat belts in the back came adrift. However, I am inclined to blame the aforementioned men for those.
The front tyres only lasted 14,000 miles which I thought was a little on the low side. The second box may go some way to explaining that though.
Again, as mentioned by other reviewers, Ford’s servicing seems pricey. The first "menu" service was £170 which seems steep compared with other makes. Maybe this is a consequence of an older design?
And this final point isn’t really the car’s fault unless you could attribute it to the shape of the front of the car, but the windscreen seems to be a magnet for stones. I drive mainly on well surfaced roads, but still have a pebble-dashed windscreen.
However, having said that, I am a fastidious owner and am very happy with the car.
Firstly, when buying a car this cheap (I bought mine as a nearly-new car with 2,600 miles for only £4,500) you have to adjust your expectations.
Having said that, this car is a riot! I've driven far more expensive cars that have been nowhere near as much fun to drive. The car, to use an automotive journalist’s favourite analogy, handles like a go-kart. Whilst this is a slight exaggeration (I used to race karts so do know) it is incredibly nippy. The steering is almost perfectly assisted (not too light and having lots of feedback) and the car handles incredibly well. It handles safely too, with a natural progression to understeer. As my title states, it shouldn’t be this much fun to drive! But that may explain the high (in my opinion) tyre wear.
The engine is incredibly enthusiastic, especially when you consider its roots are in the 60s. It is eager (possibly down to the gearing) and very keen to cruise at 90 when legal. Overall I have returned 41mpg so far on a mixture of roads. Towns and high speed motorway driving bring that down to the mid-thirties at worst whilst “A” roads can bring it up to almost 50mpg. More than acceptable.
I’m 6’3” and fit in the cabin without a problem. However, I can’t see the top of the dials and find the seats uncomfortable. They don’t appear to be able to offer the necessary support for my shape of body. That said there is plenty of head and leg room. Ford have traded rear space for front to a certain extent, a wise move when you consider the use these cars are put to. However, the rear is small and a place for those of a petit build or children only. The boot is of an average size, but deceptively deep.
And you can fit a 7’10” surfboard inside the car by reclining the passenger seat, should anyone care.
The trim is cheap and cheerful (cheerful in particular) with this more recent version having more useable cubbies. The bin on the right in the back is especially handy. Perhaps hinting at its ability, the steering wheel is good to feel and nice and chunky.
The base model is a bit Spartan inside, but as mentioned elsewhere, you can make it quite luxurious. A hand tip is that the standard fit stereo can take an mp3 input if you buy the correct £50 adaptor.
Overall, this car is great value for money. And so much fun.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th August, 2006