Ford Fiesta (2008 – 2013) At A Glance
The Ford Fiesta is a stylish and well built car that leads the way among small hatchbacks. No car this size manages to match its all round abilities, from the keen handling to its refined interior and stylish looks. It really does have it all. In fact, it's so good, the Ford Fiesta is a genuine rival to larger hatchbacks in the class above.
On the road, the Fiesta feels like a much larger car than it is. The handling is composed and neat, helped by great steering, while the high-quality ride soaks up uneven and bumpy roads with minimal fuss. It's a revelation on the motorway where it's amazingly quiet and stable, so - unlike some other small cars of this size - long journeys needn't be tiring.
If you're downsizing from a larger car, the Fiesta is a great choice. The interior is way ahead of the competition with a stylish but user-friendly design, the highlight of which is the stylish central console that houses the stereo and simple ventilation controls. The seats offer plenty of support and there's plenty of adjustment so even taller drivers will find the perfect driving position. However, one criticism is that rear headroom is somewhat limited.
There's a good choice of engines though from the entry-level 1.25-litre petrol up to the 120bhp 1.6-litre which is the quickest version. But for economy, the ECOnetic model steals the show thanks to claimed fuel economy of 76.3mpg and free road tax. There are plenty of clever innovations too such as 'stall prevention', a neat feature that increases revs in low speed manoeuvres and means you won't find yourself caught out at the traffic lights.
Ford Fiesta 2009 Road Test and Video
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Real MPG average for a Ford Fiesta (2008 – 2013)
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Reviews for Ford Fiesta (2008 – 2013)'s top 3 rivals
Ask Honest John
We want a small car for less than £2000. What advice would you give to a clueless buyer?
"We need a second car for local trips (the school run, popping to the shops etc - no long motorway journeys). I don't want to spend more than £2000 and I've narrowed it down to three (I think), all with full service history and falling around 2008-2010. They are Toyota Aygos 1.0-litre (mileage 45-79k); Hyundai i10 1.1 or 1.2 (mileage 44-55k); and Ford Ka (2009-10) 1.2 (50k or 84k). My head says Hyundai. What advice would you give to a clueless cash car buyer?"
At this price point, it's best not to focus too much on searching out a particular model. Keep an open mind and seek out a good car for sale locally. You might find a hidden gem – a car that's been well cared for, being sold by an honest private seller and for a good price. Evidence of regular maintenance is desirable (although don't necessarily expect a fully-stamped service book), as is a long MoT test. We'd generally advise avoiding trade sellers at this price range – there are quite a few unscrupulous sellers shifting cheap cars that have been plucked from auction and are fit for scrap. That said, you might find a reputable dealer selling a good car that's been taken in part-exchange.
The Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Toyota Aygo (as well as the very similar Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1) are all good choices that'll be cheap to run, although their popularity with young drivers pushes prices up. You could also look at the slightly bigger Ford Fiesta – the 1.25-litre engine is very reliable and there are loads about (so you can be picky about condition).
Which cars are best for first-time drivers?
"I'm a young first-time driver who's looking for a 10 to 12-year-old car with low running costs. Insurance should be as cheap as possible and the tax possibly £20-30 a year. What cars would you advise? I do about 200 miles per month. Shall I go for petrol or diesel? Thanks in advance for your kind help."
We'd recommend a Toyota Aygo. It'll be dirt cheap to run and ought to be reliable. Also, consider a Kia Picanto or, if you'd prefer something a little bigger, a Ford Fiesta with the reliable 1.25-litre petrol engine. Don't bother with a diesel for your mileage – it'll cost more to maintain.
Why does the Ford Fiesta have sensitive brakes?
"I recently bought a 2011 Ford Fiesta 1.25 petrol and it has pretty sensitive brakes - they suddenly grab and it's hard to avoid stopping far more quickly than intended.
Is this a common issue? Can you suggest a fix?"
This model usually has a very strong reputation for reliability. Have you had the brakes checked? This isn't really what I'd consider a handling characteristic of this model. I suspect there is something wrong.
My advice would be to get it checked as it may be an issue with the pads or the mounting bolts. Either way, it could be a serious safety issue caused by wear and tear. I'd recommend that you get it checked by a garage.
You should be able to find one with our Good Garage Guide: https://good-garage-guide.honestjohn.co.uk/
What small cars do you recommend?
"I have a Citroen C1 that has been amazing but I'm thinking of changing it. I have about £1600 to spend and need something with good mph, comfortable and reliable. Should I change? If so, can you recommend three cars which would be great and relatively cheap to run? Thank you."
It might be wise to keep the C1 - better the devil you know, especially at this price point. If you do wish to change, a Honda Jazz could be a good choice. Also consider a Ford Fiesta with the bulletproof 1.25-litre petrol engine, or a Toyota Yaris. Any of these should be very reliable.