Ford’s dismal light car offerings of the nineties and early noughties, mercifully, gave way to the European engineered Fiesta in April 2004.
After the Festiva built in Korea by Kia, followed by the unsuccessful Ka with its lacklustre, antiquated pushrod engine, the newcomer really was something worthy of partying and celebration.
What you get
Fiesta already had a long history overseas by the time Ford Oz introduced the WP series, followed by the WQ update in early 2006. January 2009 saw a new model go on sale here.
Ford’s small hatch offered three specifications, the entry level three or five-door LX, the sportier three-door Zetec, and the more prestigious five-door Ghia. The WQ brought cosmetic and equipment upgrades, plus a five-door Zetec and later the feisty XR4 with 2.0-litre Focus engine.
All Fiestas had standard dual front airbags while front side and curtain airbags were a Ghia option. Air conditioning was an option on LX, whilst ABS with EBD were linked with the optional four-speed auto for LX buyers. From 2006 manual LX’s could be optioned with these safety features and air con became standard also. Later series Zetecs feature suspension, tyre, wheel and manual gearbox improvements too.
How it drives
A 1.6-litre DOHC engine driving to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or four-speed auto powers Fiesta. With larger capacity than many light cars, performance, even in auto guise, is respectable. Engine noise at higher revs can be intrusive though. Fiesta’s high compression engine means premium unleaded is recommended, but its fuel-frugal ways win owner praise.
The Fiesta’s forte is dynamic ability with its steering, handling and body control at the forefront of the class, having been benchmarked by Ford’s engineers against the Focus.
For a tiddler it makes good use of interior space, seats are decent and the cabin is functionally laid out, though there’s only tilt steering adjustment. A four-star ANCAP crash rating is praiseworthy, but a spacesaver spare gets our thumbs down.
Reliability appears to be a virtue but look for a scheduled service history including attention to coolant and oil changes.
Under the pump
Fiesta will use between 6.6 litres and 9.5 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
Three or five door hatch, 2004 to 2008, 1.5-litre
Five-door hatch, 2004 to 2008, 1.3 and 1.5-litre
Five-door hatch, 2005 to 2008, 1.5-litre