Should we buy an extended warranty?
Reader is thinking of buying an extended warranty for a three-year-old Ford Fiesta - is it a worthwhile expense or a waste of money?...
My daughter bought a new Ford Fiesta 1.0 Zetec nearly three years ago. So far the car has covered around 12,500 miles.
We are thinking about buying the Ford Protect Gold extended warranty before the original warranty runs out. One year’s cover costs £299, two years £499 and three years £699.
What is your opinion of the Fiesta with regard to reliability? Do you think it is a good idea to buy the extra warranty?
What Car? says…
The Ford extended warranty isn't too expensive; it works out at £20 to £25 a month, depending on how many years’ cover you buy. However, the Fiesta isn't a particularly unreliable car, so I'm not sure if we'd bother to buy it.
Our latest What Car? Reliability Survey data gives the petrol Fiesta a reliability rating of 96%, which is high, and while 19% of owners said their car had developed a fault in the previous 12 months, the most common areas to develop faults were non-engine electrical systems, such as the in-car entertainment screen, sat-nav and air-con.
However, the standard Gold warranty doesn't provide comprehensive cover for the infotainment system and has no cover for the sat-nav.
In fact, most new car warranties don't cover infotainment screens and systems, which are prone to problems and expensive to fix or replace. That means your daughter isn't likely to be able to claim if a fault occurs in one of these areas.
That said, if you want some peace of mind, the Ford warranty isn’t a huge expense and, unlike some aftermarket policies, covers some major wear-and-tear items such as the clutch, although there are likely to be conditions regarding the exact cover.
If you decide to go for an extended warranty, it's also worth checking how the Ford policy compares with other aftermarket warranties in terms of cost and coverage, because they might be cheaper and cover more components.
The best small cars - and the one to avoid
More people buy small cars than any other type of car, but these vehicles still need to excel in a number of areas to make them worth buying. Here we round up the best small cars and the one you should avoid.
The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested – great news if you're after this sort of vehicle, because it means not only that there are stacks of models to choose from, but also that standards are incredibly high.
To have a chance of topping the class, a small car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that's practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.
To help you find the right small car, we've picked out our top 10 – and named the one you should avoid.
10. Mini 3dr
Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t quite have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's no less worthy of making the cut in your deliberations - particularly if you’d like your small car to have a premium feel but don’t regularly need all five seats.
There’s a bewildering array of options with the Mini that you can use to customise your car and make it truly your own. However, stick with the Cooper model that comes with an excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine and choose wisely from the optional packages and you’ll have a well-equipped and well-built small car for a reasonable outlay.
Our pick: 1.5T Cooper
9. Honda Jazz
The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's a shame that its ride is rather unsettled.
The Jazz was the first car to come with ultra-practical fold-up rear seat bases that let you create a space large enough for a pushbike or bulky flat-pack furniture.
Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE
8. Mini 5dr
If you want a truly high-end small hatchback, the Mini 5dr should be on your shortlist. If you go for the Cooper version, you'll also get a great engine and all the technology you could ever want.
The Mini has a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Inside, a dinner plate sized central dial houses the infotainment screen.
Our pick: 1.5T Cooper 5dr
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