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/
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