What should I look for in a used Ford Fiesta hatchback?
If you're buying a Ford Fiesta powered by the 1.0-litre petrol turbo, make sure you check carefully for any clutch problems. Smelly, slipping or otherwise faulty clutches seem to crop up fairly regularly, so make sure the clutch bites smoothly and you can change gear easily. You should also check that the turbo is working properly on examples with this engine; you should feel a small but noticeable surge of power while accelerating when the turbo cuts in.
Fiestas are often used in town, so check carefully for scuffs, scrapes and parking dings, and make sure you examine alloy wheels for kerbing and scuff marks. Some early cars' alloy wheels have also been known to buckle easily, so be sure to pay close attention to their condition and walk away from any car with juddering steering, odd repetitive noises from the wheel area, or other strange symptoms.
Also, check to see if the service history is complete. Some ex-fleet and lease cars may have missed maintenance work.
What are the most common problems with a used Ford Fiesta hatchback?
Diesel versons of the Fiesta have been known to suffer from injector issues which can be expensive to sort out, so keep this in mind if you decide you want one of these versions.
The plastics used for the dashboard and door cards mark easily, especially when children are regular passengers. Some owners have complained about the quality of the materials used in the cabin. The stereo also has a habit of failing, along with the heating and ventilation system which can develop a mind of its own.
There have also been several reports of water leaks, resulting in damp front footwells - this can cause mould in cars that sit for long periods of time. Lift the mats and check carefully when inspecting a car.
Is a used Ford Fiesta hatchback reliable?
The Fiesta did well in our most recent reliability survey, finishing high up in the small car class with an overall score of 80% for the diesel-engined cars and a truly impressive 94% for the petrol-engined ones. Ford as a brand had a good overall score but finished mid-way down the table of 32 manufacturers.
However, it's worth keeping in mind that there are quite a few poorly-maintained Fiestas around, and these are likely to be unreliable, so it pays to make sure the one you're buying hasn't been abused and has been well looked after.