What used Ford Fiesta hatchback will I get for my budget?
Pre-facelift cars can be had for under £2000, though that kind of money will only really buy you a high-mileage example, so it's worth spending a bit more.
You'll need to spend at least £3000 to find a mid-range Zetec version in petrol or diesel form from 2009. Most pre-facelift Econetic examples range from between £3000 to £4500 depending upon condition and mileage.
The 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines were replaced with 1.0-litre petrol turbo engines when the Fiesta was facelifted; according to official figures, the 99 and 123bhp versions delivered 65.7mpg, while the more powerful 138bhp version that came along later in Zetec S form dropped that to 62.8mpg. Later 1.5-litre diesels are the most efficient Fiestas on paper at 78.5mpg or 88.3mpg for the Econetic alternative. Bear in mind that all these economy figures were calculated using the older NEDC method, rather than today's more representative WLTP test regime.
If you choose an Econetic diesel engine, and assuming your car was registered before March 1 2017, you'll enjoy free road tax. That's because this engine's CO2 emissions are below the 100g/km threshold. Non-Econetic versions emit 110g/km. Post-facelift 1.0-litre petrol cars also qualify for free road tax, aside from the 138bhp version, which emits 104g/km.
As for the rest of the range, a 1.25 petrol puts out 129g/km; a 1.4 133g/km, the 1.6 134g/km and the turbo 1.6 in the ST 141g/km.
Road tax (VED)
Many of this generation of Fiesta will have been registered before the 1 April 2017 alteration in car tax, so the rate you'll pay will mostly be based upon the amount of CO2 the engine produced (see above paragraph).
Servicing and insurance
Other running costs are also low. Servicing is cheap on every model, especially older ones that are out of warranty and can take advantage of Motorcraft servicing at £159 a pop. Insurance for pretty much every version (aside from the ST) will be inexpensive, and while the Fiesta is generally reputed to be a pretty reliable small car, anything that does go wrong should be pretty inexpensive to fix.