Safe, comfortable, reliable, good to drive and cheap!
Clonking front driveshaft (replaced by selling dealer prior to delivery)
No faults since I took delivery.
Quite simply a superb, cheap, safe, reliable and comfortable family car.
The 1.8 TD engine is pretty gutless, but frugal, returning 45 mpg average. To be fair once rolling it goes well enough and a 70-80 mph cruise is pretty effortless. With kids in the back, who presses on anyway, and owning a sportsbike, most cars feel flat to me. The Ford diesel engine is bombproof in most respects, but prone to snapping cambelts which means a change every 30-40k to be sure. This can add substantially to running costs if you do high mileage. We don't.
The interior is a bit plasticky, but well made and doesn't squeak or rattle even "the wrong side" of 100,000 miles. Equipment levels are generous with a good quality radio/CD player, heated front windscreen, electric windows, electric seat height adjuster, ABS and air conditioning. It all works properly too, unlike on a lot of older/higher mileage cars. Seats are excellent and I have never driven a car with such a massive range of adjustment in seat and steering column position. Anyone could get comfy in here.
The car rides well and has excellent weighty power steering with lots of feel and a welcome lack of the "numb" sensation that affects VW and Vauxhall systems particularly. It's not a sports car by any stretch, but it can be cornered quickly, safely and accurately and unlike a lot of cars in this class, the chassis feels good when worked hard. Grip is excellent, even in the wet, and the ABS system is well set up, not intruding unless you really are stopping in an emergency.
I paid just UKP 2400 for the car this time last year, so it owes me very little. What I got was an immaculate, slightly dated, but safe, reliable family car which dynamically still holds its own with any more modern rival. Parts cost peanuts, and DIY servicing, sticking to the manufacturers schedule costs less than £100 per year. Being a diesel, it will always be worth a grand if its in reasonable nick, so over 3 years I estimate the TCO to be around the £3k mark. Or about 8 months finance payments on a new equivalent. I have better places to put my money than cars.
Buy carefully (there are hundreds to choose from at any one time), keep on top of the (cheap) servicing, and pay attention to the dreaded cambelt, and it will provide decent, safe family transport for pretty much as long as you want it to. Cruelly underrated and very seriously recommended.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th July, 2005