Ford Fiesta Hatchback 1995-1999

Ford Fiesta Hatchback 1995-1999

Overall Rating:
Review by Caeleb
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Good small car with excellent resale value"

Exterior and Interior

Interior is typical Ford; Radio, heater and lighting/wipers come to hand easily. My vehicle wit 83,000 miles on the clock still has the feeling of being new when switches are operated. Heated rear window switch is hidden behind the steering wheel visually when the car is set to my driving position, but the rest of it is where I want it to be. The noise levels inside at 70mph are acceptable and easily drowned out by having the radio on low. Visibility is excellent, save for when the rear view mirror is used. It's about 1.5-2cm too small for the rear screen size and I find I'm constantly adjusting it with no increase in scope. The exterior on the Encore is susceptible to car park dents due to the absence of door bump strips. The black bumpers on the poverty-spec models do well at hiding parking sins and don't smash into a million pieces when someone sneezes near them, unlike the Escort and Mondeo. The bottoms of the doors and front wings are vulnerable to tar spots as there are no mud flaps fitted.

Performance and Economy

Performance on the 1.3 Endura-E engine is acceptable - Remove the Throttle Restrictor Ring, and you'll change it completely. Ford, to increase sales of the 1.25 16v Sigma engine, throttled back the 1.3 by using a restricting device. Remove this, and you have the full 72BHP (And some!) as opposed to the poultry 58bhp that is on tap when left factory standard. This also makes fuel economy better as you don't have your foot welded to the floor all the time. Acceleration from standing to motorway speeds is best exploited when you're not revving it to the limit - This is an old engine, it doesn't like being thrashed. Change gear like you would in a Turbo Diesel around two thirds of the way to the limit, 4,500rpm is perfectly enough to extract power. Past this point, it's a case of more noise, less power. The engine is restricted to 5750rpm which in all fairness, is past the point where it runs out of puff. Economy is acceptable. I've done three tank to tank calculations and come away with 42mpg. The book states 50mpg is it's best when sat at 56mph, so 42 as a combined figure of 70mph (And some) motorway driving and lots of city driving is perfectly acceptable. Acceleration in gear between 50 and 70 is very good and from 0-30 and 0-40 is light work. It's got plenty of power to pull out onto fast roads if you go through the gears relatively quickly. The 1.3 Engine is very torque centred. BHP isn't key, the torque is. I sucsessfully and easily rescued a friend who'd put his Rover 25 into a ditch, just by using the towing eye on the front and a 'Brothers' strap. It seemed to do this job effortlessly. You don't notice a reduction in drivability either when the car is fully laden. 4 people (Two in the front, two in the rear + a boot full) doesn't cause a major reduction in acceleration, just remember to wind the headlights down using the cleverly hidden switch where your left knee goes!!!!!

Like to Drive

Excellent. In the dry it's very grippy. I've got the poverty spec 155-70-13 tyres which are woefully small, but it still holds on like it's on rails. In the wet, it's a bit 'understeery', but it's still very predictable and gently coming off the power will bring the front wheels back into check. The tail is a very planted part of the car, occasionally, lift off oversteer will occur, but this is counteracted very simply and you just get the feeling that it wont land you in a ditch. I will say, however, in the snow and ice of late, the little tyres stuggled for traction where cars with wider tyres didn't, going around corners was a different story however. In freshly laid snow, it was fine to drive and gave little cause for upset. Motorway speeds are very stable. It has the power to keep up and beyond the speed limit and doesn't feel stretched until you get up to the Audi-Losers pace... But by that point, you wont be averaging 42mpg. So there's no point! It likes being chucked around country lanes, roundabouts and town centre streets and copes well with bumps, only becoming crashy and loud when you push it over really rough ground. I wouldn't like to sit in it for the 5 hour trip to Cornwall without a stop at the M4 services, however! I'm 6'6 tall, and have the seat back to it's fullly rearward setting which leaves little room for passengers in the rear, save for my younger brother who's half my age. Headroom is excellent however and the feel of the road, due to the lack of intrusive PAS, is really good. The brakes could be better, I find I'm constantly cooking them when slowing down from motorway speeds, but it may be that they're coming to the end of their life. The gearbox is precise, the metal gear knob from a Ford Puma makes things more fun and looks a bit better too, as the original basic gear knob is a bit unusual until you're used to it. Steering on Non-PAS equipped cars is light, but gets unbearable if the tyres aren't properly inflated. <

Faults and Repairs

Heater faults are common. I've just today replaced my Heater Control valve and it's still not working, so next port of call is the heater control panel. These parts are really easy to change though (Changing the heater control panel on a similarly aged Vauxhall is a right pain and impossible without breaking other things too!). Headlight bulb changes are best left to a dealer or a mechanic as the headlight unit has to be removed and these are secured by special screws that will be mullered if you use a standard screwdriver. Spare wheel carrier likes to drop off if you don't tighten it fully which can lead to the spare wheel dropping out too. Luckily, I was doing 25-30mph at the time, so stopped and retrieved my wheel. Apart from that, the only other niggle is that it uses oil. But then, the engine design dates back to the 50's, save for the Fuel Injection system. So, it's only right that it has some 1950's features! It used stupid 5w30w oil which seems to leak from every available orifice but anything thicker (And less likely to leak) will upset the entire lubrication system. A bottle of oil from Ford (A gallon) is touching £50. Wilko Fast Fit sell appropriate oil for £5.99 a bottle, but don't buy the Renault or Vauxhall designated items. Use the stuff recommended for Ford! Oh, and don't smash a mirror off, as this is a pathetically difficult job to do involving removal of door handles, window winders and door card!
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value