Top 10: The best used Fords
What Car?’s guide to the best Fords on the used market...
Ford’s line-up covers nearly every segment of the market, with more cars on the way to cover even more segments. But how do you tell which Fords are worth a punt on the secondhand market and which ones to avoid?
Here’s our list of the top 10 used Fords
1. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling car in the UK, so there are loads of them on the used market. We’ve loved the latest generation of Fiesta since it was introduced in 2008, with its agile handling and proven mix of qualities.
The 1.25i Zetec 5dr is the one to go for, as its frugal and flexible engine provides decent economy with enough pulling power for the dinky supermini. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost will be worth waiting for, too; once prices have dropped.
What to look out for: make sure your Fiesta was attended to following Ford’s 2011 recall by contacting your local dealership.
2. Ford Focus
The Ford Focus takes third place on the list of the UK’s most purchased cars, but as the next best used Ford after the Fiesta, it faces little convincing competition in its segment. Its blend of driving appeal, low running costs and everyday usability means it’s a formidable force on the secondhand market.
Good value for money is on offer with well-equipped Zetec models, and not so strong resale values mean it’s a buyer’s market. Of the latest generation, the 1.0-litre Ecoboost is our pick of the petrols, while the 118bhp 1.5-litre is the one to go for in the diesel line-up.
What to look out for: fuel economy figures. As with most manufacturers, they’re never as impressive in real life.
3. Ford Focus Estate
There’s little separating the estate variant of the Focus from the hatchback, aside from additional metal and glass at the rear. The added practicality of the estate makes it an enticing prospect, though.
The same engine set-ups apply as with the hatchback above. If you go for the previous generation, the 1.6T is the pick of the petrols, but avoid the 161bhp, 2.0-litre unit if you’re after a diesel.
What to look out for: some interior trim is prone to coming away, while exterior chrome trim can develop unsightly white smudges.
4. Ford Mondeo hatchback
The Mondeo represents good value for money, with a decent amount of standard equipment including air-con, cruise control, a quick-clear windscreen and electric front windows. Like other Fords, poor resale values make for a decent used buy.
Avoid petrol-powered Mondeos; the engines on offer either struggle to cope or offer poor fuel economy. The 2.0-litre diesel makes the most sense and is quiet, too. Just like the Focus, aim for Zetec spec for the balance between equipment and asking price.
What to look out for: rattly trim around the driver’s door and dashboard, and seat bolsters that don’t last as long as they should.
5. Ford Mondeo Estate
The same story as the hatchback, but with a cavernous boot; the Mondeo estate is good to drive and offers respectable safety in crashes. It’s an uncommon choice over the hatchback, but the reliability of the hatchback is carried over.
There are some issues with engine cut-outs on 2.0-litre diesel models, but these are the ones to go for. If your chosen Mondeo estate is affected, it’s a simple fix at a Ford dealer.
What to look out for: keyless entry and ignition systems on some Mondeos can be faulty, so it’s best to avoid this if you can.
6. Ford S-Max
The Ford S-Max provides all the benefits of a seven-seat MPV with the driving dynamics of a car and more room and seats than the C-Max. There's less cabin space than in the Galaxy and the rearmost seats are more suited to children, but there’s still room for some luggage when they’re up.
As with the Mondeo, the best engines to go for are 2.0-litre diesels. The petrols are less expensive to buy, but you’ll make more visits to the pumps, especially with the 2.5-litre turbo.
What to look out for: The same engine gremlins apply as with the 2.0-litre diesel Mondeo, while some trim can come loose or break over time. Some electrics can be dodgy, too, affecting everything from the wipers to the engine.
7. Ford Galaxy
The Ford Galaxy is the largest of Ford’s MPVs, and feels more like one than the S-Max. All seven seats are roomy enough for full-size adults, and there’s plenty of room for baggage even with all of the seats in use. This added practicality means it carries quite a premium over the S-Max on the used market, though.
Diesels are more expensive still, but the reason for this is that they’re more sought after, with the 2.0-litre 138bhp diesel being the pick of the bunch. None of the engines are poor, but the choice between diesel and petrol is down to the buyer’s lifestyle.
What to look out for: The same problems in the S-Max occur in the Galaxy. Call your local franchised dealer to find out if your chosen Galaxy has been subjected to recalls.
8. Ford B-Max
The smallest Ford MPV is also a good used buy. It was only introduced recently so prices are still higher than more established rivals on the used market, but Ford’s high rate of depreciation means the wait won’t be long if your budget is lower than the B-Max’s current used price.
Avoid the underpowered 1.5-litre diesel engine; the 1.4 petrol is the one to go for. It’s frugal and nippy, if lacking the punch and tech wizardry of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost unit. Mid-range Zetec models avoid the stingy shortage of kit in base models while keeping prices sensible.
What to look out for: it’s too new to report any quality or reliability issues, but users report Ford’s claimed fuel consumption figures to be a little over-inflated.
9. Ford C-Max
We love the C-Max’s all-round ability, including solid, family-friendly build quality and the flexibility of the interior. A seven-seat C-Max would tick all the boxes, but the Grand C-Max is too new to feature on our list at this stage.
As with the Galaxy, diesel models carry a premium but are more suited to high-mileage usage. Zetec or Titanium specs give better value for money, while the entry-level Studio trim is a bit spartan. We’d aim for the 1.8-litre petrol model in Zetec trim.
What to look out for: the chink in the C-Max’s armour is reliability, with problems with diesel engines, electrics and rapidly wearing front tyres. A full service history is essential.
10. Ford Kuga
The Ford Kuga is, until the arrival of the forthcoming Edge, Ford’s only crossover, pitched against the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s capable but flawed, due to its cramped rear and slightly stingy boot. The split-tailgate is handy though, and in addition the Kuga highly rated for its safety.
As usual, go for Zetec models. Sat-nav equipped Kugas aren’t worth the premium – the system is fiddly and too small to be fit for purpose, so go for a portable device. The 2.0-litre 138bhp diesel is the pick of the range for its flexibility and fuel economy.
What to look out for: reliability is as good as the Focus it’s based on, but the diesel particulate filter clogs up persistently if short journeys are a frequent happening.