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I hated my Fiesta. It was a five door, five speed, red Ford Fiesta with the 1.4 litre Cfi engine. It was twelve years old and had done 112500 miles.
The reason I hated my car is this...It was twelve years old and has done 112500 miles. When I bought it, I was nearly 25 years old, and I would really like to be driving the TVR from "Swordfish", or any of the four-wheeled cast of "Gone in 60 Seconds". I would love to be driving round the M25 in a Ferrari with Angelina Jolie by my side.
When the dreams have faded, and I'm properly awake, however, my Fiesta wasn't a bad little car. Yes, it was getting on in years, parts of the bodywork are starting to rust a little, and the bits that would normally wear out and fall off on most cars of it's age have been replaced, need to be replaced, or lie on the hard shoulder of the M25.
I bought the car three and a half years ago from a work colleague. I paid £1100. This, sadly, was just before car prices slumped, so it was maybe not such a good price to pay. However, with small cars being a growth market at the moment, especially with fuel consumption the watchword, I could have sold it on for £700 without too much trouble. I ddn't think of that, and it has now gone to the great garage in the sky!
At the time I bought the car, it had done about 86000 miles, and was nine years old. In the three and a half years I owned it, it has been neglected and generally mistreated. It has been driven too far, too fast and too hard. I'm not really a good driver, I admit this. I had a Lada when I was seventeen, and have driven Metros and a rather large Renault 18 diesel estate since then. Nice cars, but they refused to accelerate on demand. Hence, I was the oldest boy racer on the road.
However, my little Fiesta has dealt with those last 26500 miles with great equanimity. It has not thrown a strop and exploded in the outside lane of the M25. It has not refused to start on a cold December morning in London. It has overtaken what I have asked it to overtake (on one memorable occasion on the A1(M), even a Porsche) and it has, by and large, stopped when I wanted it to. It even kept up with a TVR for a full sixty seconds. Until the lights went green!
Having the 1.4 engine, which in 1990 was more commonly home to the Ford Orion, a bigger and heavier car, the Fiesta accelerated fairly quickly. Due to it's age, the acceleration between 50-70 mph isn't as quick as it used to be, but between 30-50 mph, if you change down a gear, it will give pretty much anything a run for it's money. Especially when driven by someone whose right foot is as heavy as mine. It will travel quite happily at 70 mph and, even now, slightly less happily at 95 mph, and doesn't tend to complain too much at my normal cruising velocity, which is at around 80-85 mph.
Even after all it's years, my little Fiesta will give me 33-35 miles to the gallon, and would probably give me 35-38 miles to the gallon if I would only drive it a little slower and more carefully. This isn't bad, when you consider that Ford's new 1.4 engined Fiesta should have a fuel consumption of about 45.8 miles to the gallon. Given the advances in engine technology in the last eleven years, that's not too bad, really.
My little Fiesta also has a large quantity of something I call "slingaroundability". Most car makers will call this "handling" or "road holding", but I judge my cars on how well they can deal with a fast, twisty section of road, normally the A227 just outside Gravesend in Kent, between the A2 and my mum's place in Meopham. It's a fast, twisty, single lane A-road, made for throwing a car around if you've been driving around that way for 10 years, as I have. If you're new to the area, it can be a useful test of how well your car copes having been buried in a bush or ditch. My Fiesta copes with it admirably, and the bushes may tremble as I pass, but they have not yet received an unwelcome visitor. Sadly for my mother, this means that she always has!
Yes, there were a few things that have gone wrong with the Fiesta in the three years I have owned it. Most can be attributed to the age of the car, and are parts that would normally wear out on all cars eventually. I have had to replace the front brakes, and the rear shock absorbers (you always know when your shocks have gone, as the car wallows around like a ferry in a gale whenever you hit a bump!). The rear wiper doesn't work, and a door lock has jammed and had to be replaced. The cooling fan rusted up and one point, so that has been replaced, and I overheated and blew out the radiator before I realised this. The final straw was that the exhaust rusted through and fell off and the clutch was pretty much done for, too. But these things were caused by a combination of age and neglect, and can't really be blamed on defects in the car itself.
However, a lot of these are problems that will occur with any car of my Fiesta's age, sooner or later. The brakes will wear down, as will the clutch, and shock absorbers cannot go on forever. In the two years since I bought the car, it's cost me maybe £500 in parts and labour, which I have had done at a small North London garage. Sadly, I am not an AA man and, although I own the Haynes manual, I have the mechanical knowledge of my mother. If I can't fix it by filling it up or sticking it on, I can't do it!
I've also had to replace three wing mirrors, but that's the fault of the driver, so we'll not mention that again!
There are a few problems I've had that can affect ALL Fiestas, so it you are the owner of an old Fiesta and these have not happened to you, watch out for them. The plastic door handles that were used on the Mk2 Fiesta become brittle with age. This means that someone trying to open a locked door, for example, may inadvertently pull one off. This will cost about £30 to replace, with the handles themselves costing £25 (yes, for a little piece of moulded plastic - I was shocked too!) The other major potential problem is with the design of the key Ford used for a while, which I believe was unique to Ford. The key and lock are such that both can wear down with age, causing the ignition barrel to collapse (The AA man's words, not mine) and resulting in your key not turning in the ignition. The repair for this involves removing a small piece of the ignition barrel and is actually very easy, if you have a small sharp piece of metal to hand to remove the barrel with.
Parts are very easy to obtain, thanks to the Fiesta being such a popular car, and Ford being the major car maker in the UK in recent years. There are a large number of Ford dealers around, who can obtain parts straight from the source, if they are not already in stock, and there are usually Fiestas in breaker's yards that pieces can be purchased from. For smaller pieces and simple maintenance work, such as wing mirrors (oh, here we go again!) Halfords stock a wide range of parts and equipment, most of which will have a part compatible with the 1990 Ford Fiesta.
I have the five-door version of the car, which provides driver and passengers with a fairly decent amount of head and legroom, but does get very cramped with three adults in the back. If this is something you'll be doing fairly often, I would suggest you don't purchase a Fiesta. With the rear seats folded down, you can fit a lot of luggage in the back, and I have recently managed to move house using three journeys in my Fiesta, and requiring no other vehicles.
Filling up and topping of the liquids under the bonnet is a fairly easy process, with most of the containers very easy to distinguish and fill. The "fill level" on all receptors is quite clearly marked, although the dipstick (no, for the oil level, not the owner!) turns as it comes out, and is not easy to find if you are trying to check the oil level with inadequate lighting. The bonnet does tend to get in the way as well, if you're as accident prone as I am.
Fords tend to be very well made, which is why an eleven year old car did 112500 miles on it's original engine, and is only now starting to show signs of rust. I have heard of a Ford Fiesta like mine which has done in excess on 140000 miles, and my father's Ford Mondeo has 185000 miles on the clock (although that threw a cam belt on Tuesday, so we'll say no more!), so I have no concerns that the engine will give out on me anytime soon, providing I keep it topped up with oil, and slow down a little.
On the negative side, some parts can be fairly expensive (it was £25 for a door handle, and the rear windscreen wiper motor costs nearly £100, which is why it's never been fixed) and the spare tyre is not in the easiest position to get at.
Insurance is fairly cheap, with the Fiesta being a small car, and I'm currently paying £520 for fully comp insurance, being under 30, living in North London, and only having 2 years no claims bonus. The tax for cars with a 1.4 engine capacity has recently been reduced, which makes it ever cheaper to run.
I liked my little car. Sure, it wasn't a Lamborghini, but it was better than my old Lada in all the important ways. Apart from one. You may have noticed that I have referred to my Fiesta as "it" throughout this opinion. Readers of my Lada opinion will know it was named "Uriah" and I referred to that car as "he". This is the only point at which the Lada beats the Fiesta. Personality. I cannot become attached to the Fiesta, as it is mass produced and faceless, being so much like 3 million other Fiestas on the road. It has never had a name (although it has had a few four-letter words aimed in it's direction!) and it is unlikely to get one.
My Ford Fiesta was great for me. With a small engine, they will make an ideal first car for anyone starting to drive, and I really cannot fault it.
Sadly, I'm not at all impressed with the styling of the brand new Ford Fiesta and, should there be a time when I look to fill the hole on the drive where there used to be a car, it won't be with a new Fiesta, but I would quite happily buy the same car again, all things considered.
I was thankful when I wrote my Fiesta off lol It was alot worse than yours. Mine was only a 1.1 *sigh* 3 doors (I think) and it was sooooooo slow. My next car was much better as it was a 1.6 injection hehe Did you find Miss Jolie then?! Was Brad with her :D
HotBabes 26.03.2006 01:10
"Slingaroundability"? Blimey, I hope I'm never in a car with you! x x
anya_lahiri 27.05.2003 20:04
We own a Ford Estate-Ford's I find are pretty reliable. Lisa x x x
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