Which small car could replace our increasingly-unreliable 2006 Ford Fiesta?

We have a 2006 Fiesta 1.25 petrol Zetec 3-door that we have owned for six years. It has broken down twice in the last year (a plug of some sort let water out of the engine, and a front suspension spring broke). Our previous Fiesta also had reliability issues when seven years old. It has done 29,000 miles and is used for commuting eight miles each way to work. What else do you think is likely to go wrong in next two years? It has been serviced at a non-franchised dealer since the warranty expired and has had brake fluid changed in the last year.

I am wondering about changing it for a newer car. My budget including trade-in for a newer car is £7000. We would like a 5-door. We have always had a Ford, but I am wondering about a 2-year-old Hyundai i20 5-door with three years of warranty remaining. Would that be a good buy? Or, if I bought a 2010 Jazz, Yaris or Polo, would these older but good quality cars serve us better? Please help me decide as funds are limited and I want to do the right thing.

Asked on 8 June 2013 by RB, Lancaster

Answered by Honest John
This model of Fiesta is generally very reliable. What will have rusted out is a 'core plug'. Maybe a change of coolant with fresh corrosion inhibitors might have prevented this (but maybe not). Coil springs fail all the time on all European makes and models. The rest of potential problems with Fiestas are here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/ford/fiesta-2002/?se...d

Five years is a sensible time to swap a car, before it needs things like brakes, tyres, etc. At seven years, you're right. More bits will start to wear out. Yes, an i20 is probably a good buy, but that too has problem areas. A Yaris might be better. Avoid Polo 1.4, 16vs. Look them all up here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/
Similar questions
I have a comprehensive 'platinum' warranty on my MG-ZT-T that I use to tow our caravan. Prior to leaving for a 5-week trip to France I had a pre-trip check carried out by my specialist MG Rover repairer....
The rear nearside spring on my 58-plate Mazda 3 Automatic broke during the warranty period. I understand from your column that this is not a common occurance these days due to the quality of the springs....
My wife has a 2005 Volkswagen Polo 3-door diesel, which she bought new. It has now done only 19,600 miles and is well cared for. We noticed a small area of rust on one of the front wheel arches with the...
Related models
Good handling and comfortable ride. Tidy design. Reasonably spacious. Plenty of choice second-hand. Good reputation for reliability.
Neatly styled. Increased room and better performance than original Jazz. better to drive. Very versatile. CVT-7 returned in February 2011 replacing i-SHIFT. More reliable than first generation Jazz.
Easy to drive and refined. Very well built. Five-year warranty as standard. Neat and tidy styling. Decent room in the back seat. Good economy from entry-level 1.2-litre.
Facelifted Polo. Wide choice of models available.
Fairly big boot by class standards, tempting hybrid option, Toyota has an epic reliability record.

 

Value my car