Small cars are big news, and the Ford Fiesta is one of the best. It’s a national institution, and the current version makes a lot of sense second-hand thanks to a wide choice of engines and trims – plus, with a facelifted car imminent, prices are set to fall.
You’ll never have to travel far to find a decent example, either; as it’s been the UK’s best-selling car for the last three years, there are plenty to go round.
But the Fiesta appeals with its sheer talent. It’s good to drive and spacious inside, and feels bigger than it really is. Running costs are low as well, although reliability can vary wildly. So here’s how to bag a good one.
The sixth-generation Fiesta debuted in summer 2008, with 1.25 (59bhp or 81bhp), 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol engines and 1.4 or 1.6-litre diesels.
There were three or five-door hatches, plus a choice of Studio, Style, Style+, Zetec, Zetec S and Titanium trims. From October 2009, Edge spec muscled in between Style+ and Zetec.
From the outset there was a 98g/km ECOnetic edition; this car’s emissions were cut to just 87g/km in March 2012. An auto version of the 1.4 petrol arrived in June 2009, then in April 2010 came a sporty 118bhp S1600.
Early next year, a facelifted Fiesta will launch. This will be available with Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
The Toyota Yaris is reliable and good to drive, although prices are relatively high. The Skoda Fabia is also roomy and fun; its VW Polo cousin offers the same virtues at a higher price, while the Citroen C3 is good value but isn’t as solidly built as its rivals.
It’s hard to ignore the Renault Clio and Nissan Micra; the Clio for its driving enjoyment and the Micra for its reliability. But the Honda Jazz is the Fiesta’s toughest competitor, combining excellent dependability with superb practicality and plenty of equipment. It’s pricier, though.