What used Ford Fiesta hatchback will I get for my budget?
A shade under £2000 is enough to get you into a Ford Fiesta of this generation, though that kind of money will only really buy you a high-mileage example, so it's worth spending a bit more.
There are quite a few 'Category C' and 'Category D' cars for sale just above that figure. These previous crash-damaged and repaired cars are worth a look, as there are plenty around an they can be a great way to grab a bargain, but make sure you can check that any repairs have been carried out to a high standard by a competent, good-quality repairer.
The safest option is to spend a little more and get a good-quality, low-mileage example with a full service history. You'll need to spend at least £3000 for such a thing, and that should get you a mid-range Zetec version with the nippy 1.25-litre petrol engine. For a diesel version, look to spend around £500 more than that.
A facelift in 2013 brought a raft of changes, including some new engines and revised styling. For a good-quality example of one of these models, you'll need to pay at least £5000, or if you want the sought-after 1.0-litre petrol turbo engine, up that budget to £6000.
Performance versions of the Fiesta include the sparky Zetec S, in both early 1.6-litre and later 1.0-litre turbo forms, and the grin-a-minute ST, with its 1.6-litre turbo engine. A 1.6 Zetec S will set you back around £4000, while a 1.0-litre turbo version will set you back just shy of £7000. An early ST, meanwhile, should cost £9000 with decent mileage and a full history.
How much does it cost to run a Ford Fiesta hatchback?
The Fiesta is a small car, with running costs to match. The petrol models are best for those who drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year or who spend most of their time in the urban jungle. They'll cost less to buy than a diesel model, and you won't see much of a difference in fuel costs.
The 59bhp 1.25-litre petrol delivers an official average of 52.3mpg, but that falls to 49.6mpg for the 89bhp version. The 1.4 also manages 49.6mpg; the 1.6 does 47.9mpg. The diesels trump these results, with both the 1.4 and 1.6 producing just over 67mpg. The Econetic delivers an impressive 75.3mpg.
The 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines were replaced with a pair of 1.0-litre petrol turbo engines when the Fiesta was facelifted; according to official figures, both versions delivered 65mpg, while the more powerful 140 model that came along later in Zetec S form dropped that to 62mpg. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that these engines are renowned for delivering considerably less than their figures would suggest in the real world; consumption out on the road will be better than the earlier versions, but not by an awful lot.
The one big advantage that these 1.0-litre petrol turbos do offer is that their low official emissions figures means low tax. In fact, the 100 and 125 versions are free to tax, with the 140 model only incurring a tax rate of £20 per year. Many of the diesel models also offer free or cheap tax, while the earlier petrols have a slightly more expensive annual rate.
Other running costs are also low. Servicing is cheap on every model, 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.