Used Ford Fiesta 2017-2023 review

Category: Small car

The Ford Fiesta is one of the best small cars to drive and a great used buy. Reliability can be an issue, though.

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  • Used Ford Fiesta long-term test review
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  • Ford Fiesta ST-line 19 plate rear corner
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  • Ford Fiesta ST-line 19 plate rear corner
  • Used Ford Fiesta (17-present) long term test review
  • ford-fiesta-2021-boot
Used Ford Fiesta 2017-2023 review
Star rating

What's the used Ford Fiesta hatchback like?

Praise has often been heaped on the iconic Ford Fiesta, and for good reasons. It finally stopped production in July 2023, but it was always fun to drive, well equipped and blessed with a fine choice of engines that help it to hold its own in the hotly contested small car class.

This last generation car was given that little bit of extra polish to rival the refinement levels of its arch-nemesis, the Volkswagen Polo. It also faced stiff competition from cars such as the sporty Seat Ibiza, evergreen Vauxhall Corsa and the good-value Skoda Fabia.

Overview

The latest Ford Fiesta is one of the best small cars and a great used buy, but reliability lets it down.

  • Brilliant to drive
  • Lots of safety kit
  • Punchy Ecoboost engines
  • Small boot compared with rivals
  • Not as much rear leg room as a VW Polo or Seat Ibiza
  • Some cheap interior plastics
  • Reliability can be an issue

Like its rivals, the Fiesta has a wide range of engines. The petrol range consists of a 1.1-litre petrol with either 69bhp or 84bhp; a fantastic turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost in 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp states of tune, or a 1.5-litre diesel with 84bhp or 118bhp power outputs. Later models incorporate mild-hybrid technology in 1.o Ecoboost 125 and 155 versions.

Entry-level Style models get just the basics, such as air conditioning and electric front windows, but Zetec is a bit more generous, with 16in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and a heated windscreen. You also get a 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system from Zetec specification and above, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Titanium adds cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and climate control, or you could seek out a B&O Titanium (there's also a B&O Zetec) version with an upgraded 10-speaker 675-watt sound system.

Titanium X gets the B&O sound system as standard along with heated front seats and steering wheel. ST-Line and ST-line X get sportier exterior and interior styling and sports suspension for sharper handling. The former has the same equipment as Zetec, while the latter is based on Titanium. The top-of-the-range Vignale is supposed to be the luxurious Fiesta, so it has leather seats as standard and an openable panoramic glass roof, but you'll probably find the rear parking sensors and reversing camera far more useful.

One of the best things about the Fiesta is the way it drives – few cars are more enjoyable to chuck around on a twisty B-road than this small Ford. It really can give some more expensive sports cars a very good run for their money. The steering is precise and well-weighted, grip is in plentiful supply and it hangs on gamely even if you pile into a corner a little too quickly.

And, to top it all off, the ride is beautifully judged, even ST-line models with firmer sports suspension. It has a real knack for dealing with speed bumps and potholes at low speeds just as well as it deals with motorway expansion joints at the national limit. Suspension noise is well suppressed, too, giving the Fiesta a sense of solidity and big car refinement.

Inside, as far as fit and finish go, the bits that you touch regularly all feel fairly upmarket by the standards of the class, and the Fiesta uses soft-touch material on parts of its dashboard. You won’t find any of that in an Ibiza or a Skoda Fabia. However, the Fiesta’s interior doesn’t feel quite as solidly screwed together as the Ibiza’s or Polo's. You’ll also notice some unappealingly textured plastics lower down on the Fiesta’s dashboard.

The Fiesta has plenty of room up front; its driving position is set fairly high and there's plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the seat, so most should be comfortable. Rear-seat space is a little more cramped, though; two will be reasonably comfortable, but carrying a third passenger is only really an option on shorter journeys. It's fair to say that one or two rivals offer more rear leg room, most notably the Seat Ibiza.

Most models have a backrest that folds down 60/40, and the boot is of a good size and is relatively easy to access over the loading lip. Fold the rear seats down flat and there is a slight step in the floor, but the optional height-adjustable boot floor irons out some of that problem on its highest setting.

If you're interested in finding a used Fiesta, or any of the other small cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

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Used Ford Fiesta long-term test review

Ownership cost

What used Ford Fiesta hatchback will I get for my budget?

Prices for a Ford Fiesta start at around £7500 for a 2017 version. This should buy you a car with an average mileage for the year and a full service history. If you spend £8000 or more, you should have a fair choice of Fiestas from 2018, or £9500 to £12,000 and above for a 2019 example. Spend between £12,000 and £15,000 on a good 2020 car, £15,000 to £18,000 on a 2021 model. You'll need a tad more than that to put one from 2022, or one of the last from 2023, on your driveway.

An early version of the hot hatch ST will set you back at least £14,000.

Check the value of a used Ford Fiesta with What Car? Valuations

ford-fiesta-2021-dashboard

How much does it cost to run a Ford Fiesta hatchback?

MPG

The base 1.1-litre petrol has a combined WLTP economy figure of 48.7mpg for both the 69 and 84bhp versions. The more powerful 99bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine has a figure of 50.4mpg, although this drops to 42.8mpg when fitted with an automatic gearbox. The 123bhp 1.0-litre gets 49.5mpg while the 138bhp 1.0-litre engine reserved for top-spec models gets 48.7mpg.

If outright efficiency is what you need, then the 84bhp 1.5-litre diesel is the one to go for because it averages 60.1mpg. The 118bhp version of the same engine isn’t quite as efficient, at 57.6mpg.

Road tax

All Fiestas of this generation will have been registered after April 2017, so all will cost you the same flat rate fee for road tax because no model cost more than £40,000 when new. The current rate is £180 a year. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here.

Servicing costs

Ford offers competitive servicing prices and various servicing plans, which can be paid for by monthly direct debit. There’s also cheaper Ford Essentials servicing for examples that are outside of the manufacturer's warranty period; it costs £169.

Diesel and 1.5 petrol ST models require annual servicing, with diesel having a slightly shorter mileage limit of 10,000 miles compared with 12,500 miles of the ST. The 1.0 Ecoboost and 1.1 petrols need inspecting every 2 years or 18,000 miles.

Used Ford Fiesta (17-present) long term test review

Our recommendations

Which used Ford Fiesta hatchback should I buy?

Engine

Compared with the turbocharged engines, the basic 1.1-litre petrol is underwhelming and is best avoided. The diesel only makes sense if you do big mileages, so we’d stick with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost because it copes well with all situations. Of the three versions of the engine on offer, go for the 99bhp version because it’s fast enough at motorway speeds and is also pretty economical.

Specification

Mid-range Zetec trim offers the best value because it comes with plenty of equipment and it keeps the smaller alloy wheels that are best in terms of the Fiesta’s excellent ride quality. Larger ones spoil the ride and are more susceptible to kerb damage.

Our favourite Ford Fiesta: 1.0-litre 100PS Ecoboost Zetec

Ford Fiesta ST-line 19 plate panning

Alternatives

What alternatives should I consider to a used Ford Fiesta hatchback?

The Seat Ibiza has a strong range of engines, is great to drive and the ride deals with smaller imperfections even better than the Fiesta. There’s also a lot more space in the back of an Ibiza than there is in the Fiesta, making it a more practical choice.

Based on the same platform, the Volkswagen Polo is another car that’s more practical than the Fiesta. It doesn’t handle as sharply as the Fiesta, but it is a more upmarket and refined choice.

If you want great value, the Vauxhall Corsa is something of a bargain. It’s well equipped, too, although the infotainment system looks a little bit dated.

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If you're interested in finding a used Fiesta, or any of the other small cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

Ford Fiesta ST-line 19 plate rear corner