Ford Fiesta Mk2 review

Second-generation Ford Fiesta topped sales charts for six years

Compared with the Mk1, Ford’s replacement wasn’t quite as revolutionary. It was more a mild facelift than a redesign, but when the second-generation Fiesta launched in 1983 it still brought some advanced features.

Wraparound headlights were the big design change – they added a more modern look and significantly improved aerodynamics – while the engine bay was enlarged to accommodate a new five-speed gearbox. This was a big step, and despite being based on the same platform, the Mk2 felt much more modern to drive, helped by the new transmission’s extra refinement.

Our top-spec Ghia test car had less than 250km on the clock and felt box fresh, with tight steering and surprisingly solid brakes. The 74bhp 1.4-litre engine delivered decent acceleration, and still felt relatively pokey.

Best superminis

Another big change was the introduction of a diesel for the first time – and in various forms the 1.6-litre was a fixture of the Fiesta line-up for nearly two decades. At the other end of the performance spectrum, the 96bhp XR2 boasted the same big thrills and small bills template as its predecessor.  

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Inside, the Mk2 felt more modern than its predecessor, thanks to the softer design and more upmarket trim. However, this Fiesta did feature a strange cabin quirk in the form of two completely different dashboard designs: one for entry-level models and another for more expensive versions such as the Ghia and XR2. Despite this unusual arrangement, the Fiesta continued to top the sales charts until an all-new model landed in 1989.

Fiesta fact: Aerodynamic body gave the Mk2 a more modern look than the original, while addition of a five-speed box and diesel engine option kept the car competitive against ever increasing number of supermini rivals. Ford’s CTX continuously variable transmission was also offered on 1.1-litre cars.

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