The Ford Fiesta doesn’t have as much space for passengers as a Skoda Fabia or Vauxhall Corsa, but there are plenty of engines to choose from and – because it’s regularly the UK’s best-selling car – there are plenty of used examples to choose from.
In spite of its eager handling, the Fiesta has a cosseting ride and copes well with pockmarked urban roads and stretches of motorway.
If you want the fun and practicality of a Ford Fiesta but can't afford a brand new one, it's worth considering the previous model. Read on to find out how much you should pay for a used Fiesta and which model is our favourite.
What budget do I need?
Around £3000 should get you behind the wheel of a 1.25-litre petrol Fiesta with full service history and a reasonably low mileage; expect to pay around £500 more for a comparable diesel-engined Fiesta.
If your budget stretches to £5000, you should be able to get a post-2013 facelifted Fiesta, which will have revised styling and engine upgrades. This is when the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine was introduced. It’s popular, though, so expect to pay at least £6000 for an example with this engine.
If you prefer your small hatchback with a bit more oomph, you should consider the feisty Fiesta ST. It’s just as practical as other Fiesta models but has a grin-inducing 1.6-litre turbo engine under its bonnet. Don’t expect to see change from £9000 if you go for an ST, though.
What version should I go for?
Pre-2013, our favourite petrol Fiesta is the 81bhp 1.25 engine, and our preferred diesel is the 1.4, which is likely to be more affordable than the punchier 1.6.
However, if you can stretch to a facelifted model, our recommendation is the 1.0 petrol, which is frugal and peppy enough for all types of driving.
We’d avoid the most basic Studio trim and opt for Style at least, because this comes with electric front windows and central locking. Style+ adds air-con, but moving up to Zetec also provides alloy wheels and traction control.
Any problems to be aware of?
Overall, the Fiesta has a good reputation for reliability, although owners of the 1.0 petrol report clutch and turbo problems and some diesel engines have had expensive injector issues, so it’s worth checking these areas carefully.
A large proportion of Fiestas will have started their lives on company fleets, so they should have been well cared for, but it’s worth checking that all maintenance has been carried out at the correct time – and as always, only consider cars with full service history.
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