Used Ford Fiesta (1989 - 1995) review

SMALL AND SENSIBLE

FORD FIESTA (1989 - 1995)

star rating 4.6 out of 10 (4.6 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 24 Oct 2006

Models Covered: 3 & 5dr hatch: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 turbo diesel [Azura, Classic, Classic Quartz, Classic Cabaret, Popular Plus, L, LA, LD, LXD, LXi, Si, SX, Ghia, XR2i, RS1800, RS Turbo]

Ford Fiesta

FORD FIESTA (1989 - 1995) USED CAR MODEL GUIDE

The third generation Fiesta (post-'89) is a good all-rounder - no question about that. Arguably, it's the best little small car of its era if you take into account those cheap part prices and the vast choice offered at affordable prices.

A small car for people who don't like small cars. That's how Ford marketed this generation of their evergreen supermini, the Fiesta. In its 1989-1995 guise, the slogans were justified - this was an accomplished vehicle and even today, it's capable of putting a smile on your face. Ford's entry-level small car has remained a first choice for Britain's private buyers since 1990 and so the market is awash with used models even if the earliest examples are feeling a bit tired these days.

FORD FIESTA HISTORY

The Fiesta has had a long and fairly complicated evolution that goes back to the Seventies. The models dealt with here are the Third generation cars (the first shape that offered a five-door option) dating from April 1989 to mid-1995. These cars are called Mark III and had a selection of existing and updated engines. Base model cars used 1.0 and 1.1-litre engines. A new 1.3 appeared in late 1991. There was also a 1.4 and even a fuel-injected 1.6 for the XR2i. Other sporty models included the RS Turbo (notable for its multitude of fog and driving lights) and the manic RS1800i - a real boy racer. A 1.8-litre diesel and automatic versions with both 1.1 and 1.3-litre petrol engines completed the line-up.

WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY?

Choose a good one and you should get reliable transport that can be easily DIY maintained for sensible money. The third generation cars lack the class-leading handling of the later models but are nevertheless an acceptable drive by the standards of their day. Basic models tend to be just that but from LX upwards little niceities like tinted glass and a sunroof appear while the Ghia has central locking and electric windows.

WHAT PRICE AM I LOOKING AT?

Acceptable 89 to 92 Fiestas will be few and far between, your best bet is to go for the latest model that you can afford. A 95 M-plated car should still be a worthwhile acquisition but it's best to price each model on an individual basis as condition and mileage can vary substantially.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?

Engines are, on the whole, reliable, but watch for signs of wear, particularly on 1.3, 1.4 and 1.6s. Excess smoke on start-up is a give-away. The cam-belt needs to be replaced every 30,000 miles on the older 'CVH' 1.4 and 1.6-litre engines as it may break and lead to very expensive repairs. Rust can be a minor problem on some cars as build quality varied quite a bit on the earlier models. Check the bottom of the doors, boot, front valance and the bonnet's leading edge. Water leaking through the sunroof and boot also affected some early cars so have a look for staining on the headlining and boot carpet.

HOW DOES IT DRIVE?

The '89 to '95 Fiesta, unlike the later models, didn't set the world on fire with class-leading handling. It was competent, safe and predictable to drive but not really much fun unless, perhaps, you were behind the wheel of the more sporting versions. Still, the mainstream engines pulled well and the dashboard and controls were well laid out.

BY JONATHAN CROUCH

PARTS INFORMATION

(approx based on a 1993 Fiesta 1.4 CFi) As you might expect, parts are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. A clutch assembly will be around £75 and an alternator should be close to £100. Brake pads are around £25 a set, a replacement headlamp is close to £50 and a manual door mirror should be in the region of £40. A full exhaust is about £80 and a catalyst is about £200. A starter motor around is around £90, front wing is around £60, a windscreen about £70, a tail lamp about £30 and a catalyst about £200. Front dampers are around £55 each and rears around £50 each.

TOP 5 FIESTA DEALS

The results below show the top FIESTA deals on buyacar

Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 125 Titanium 5dr hatchback
Price £12,973 Save £3,072 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 125 Titanium 5dr  hatchback
Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr hatchback
Price £10,890 Save £3,655 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr  hatchback
Ford Fiesta 1.25 Style 5dr hatchback
Price £10,029 Save £2,266 Ford Fiesta 1.25 Style 5dr  hatchback
Ford Fiesta 1.0 Titanium 5dr hatchback
Price £12,188 Save £2,857 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Titanium 5dr  hatchback
Ford Fiesta 1.25 Style 3dr hatchback
Price £9,558 Save £2,137 Ford Fiesta 1.25 Style 3dr  hatchback
VIEW MORE DISCOUNT FIESTA DEALS

RATING OUT OF 10

For FIESTA (1989-1995) RANGE
OVERALL 4.6 OUT OF 10
Performance star rating 4 out of 10 4
Comfort star rating 4 out of 10 4
Handling star rating 4 out of 10 4
Economy star rating 5 out of 10 5
Space / Versatility star rating 4 out of 10 4
Styling star rating 4 out of 10 4
Equipment star rating 4 out of 10 4
Build star rating 4 out of 10 4
Depreciation star rating 4 out of 10 4
Insurance star rating 6 out of 10 6
Value star rating 8 out of 10 8
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