Used Ford Fiesta 2008-2017 review

Ford Fiesta
Its 47-year tenure as a new car might be over, but the icon lives on as a cheap, fun used buy

The astonishing success of the seventh generation Ford Fiesta was based on two convergent facts: first the sixth generation of Fiesta was good enough to lead the class from the moment of its introduction in 2008; second that introduction coincided with global economic meltdown forcing mass downsizing in the European car market. Suddenly people who’d never even considered a shopping car found themselves eye to eye with the Ford Fiesta. And perhaps to their surprise, they liked what they saw.At its launch in 2008, the seventh generation was as distinctive as the previous version was not. It was a genuinely handsome car, but like most modern Fords, ubiquity softened the impact of its design. It was given a nose job in 2013 as part of a number of visual tweaks, and new engines were introduced to ensure it continued to cut a dash. But while the success of the huge trapedozial grille treatment has been widely debated, the addition of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine was roundly praised.Predictably for a car that was the UK’s then top seller, the range is vast, overlapping the smaller Ford Ka at the bottom and the larger Ford Focus at the top.Aside from the three-pot Ecoboost engine in two power outputs, powerplants included a naturally aspirated 1.0-, 1.25-, 1.6- and turbocharged 1.6-litre petrols and a single 1.5-litre diesel engine in two guises. Trim levels were the familiar: Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium, Titanium X and a couple of hot ST models, most of which are available in three and five-door models. There are also the low-CO2 Econetic models to look out for.Perhaps the Fiesta’s biggest trump card was its big-car feel. At its 2007 launch, no other cooking supermini felt as solid or grown up, and its ride shamed cars from a class or two above. Handling offered a verve that even some hot hatches failed to match.Years on from the car’s original launch, can it still match the best of the used supermini class?Ford Fiesta 2008-2017 common problemsEngine: We go into more detail about the engine in ‘Also worth knowing’, but for the moment be content if the one you’re looking at has enjoyed regular oil and filter and coolant changes. The timing belt should be changed every 10 years or 150,000 miles but, ideally, more frequently. You buy an Ecoboost for its gutsy pulling power, smooth running and quiet cruising, so if it feels like the ancient and asthmatic 1.25 elsewhere in the range, it’s got a problem.Transmission: The gearlever feels spindly but shifts should be light and precise. If it graunches into first, expect expensive trouble ahead. Move briskly off in second and check for clutch slip.Suspension: This generation of Fiesta has an average reliability rating and its suspension is the biggest source of trouble. A recent MOT will reveal most current problems – bushes, springs and shocks being common advisories. Parts are reasonably cheap, though. Brakes: Fiestas quickly fall into the hands of those unable to afford maintenance so don’t be too surprised by deeply lipped front discs, paper-thin pads and zero evidence of biennial brake fluid changes.Interior: Check for dashboard warning lights and the operation of every last knob and button. Ensure the carpets, especially in the front footwells, aren’t damp. Water can get in through worn door seals so inspect these, too. Make sure the parcel shelf is present.Body: A self-respecting dealer will have most casual dents, scratches and kerbed wheels repaired; otherwise, you’ll be lucky to find a Fiesta that isn’t marked. Scrutinise panel gaps and check for overspray and ‘orange peel’. Cross-check the stamped VIN number with that shown on the V5.
Source: Autocar

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