Ford Fiesta MK6 (2002-2008) Buyer’s Guide
By George Underwood – www.fordownersclub.com
The 2002-2008 Ford Fiesta’s popularity means that you’ll be spoiled for choice when looking for a used model. The spacey interior may look a little cheap, but it’s well-built, and low maintenance and running costs mean that it is easy on your bank balance too – especially if you go for a smaller engine, which will have low insurance costs.
Quick Facts – Popular Models at a Glance
Fiesta 1.25 Style
Miles per gallon – 47.1
Insurance group ratings – 8E
Emissions – 142g/km
Fiesta 1.4 TDCI Zetec
Miles per gallon – 62.8
Emissions – 119g/km
Insurance group ratings – 10E
Models, Engines and Trim Levels
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to engines – seven were offered throughout the Fiesta’s lifetime. In terms of petrol, there’s the 75bhp 1.25 (good for shorter, urban journeys), the 67bhp 1.3 which it replaced and outmatched, the 16-valve 79bhp 1.4 (which is good all-round but might struggle the more you ask of it), the 1.6-litre 16-valve and the 150bhp 2.0 litre (both of which are good for faster driving, but if you’re looking for fuel economy a diesel might be the way to go).
The two diesel engines are the 1.4 (probably the best engine for most driving situations) and the 1.6 (which is good for longer drives, particularly on motorways).
There are also many model options. First up is the Finesse, which features an immobiliser, driver and passenger airbags, power steering, a CD player and central locking. The LX builds on this with remote central locking, electric front windows and electric heated mirrors (with the 1.4 LX also featuring air conditioning), while the Zetec adds front fog lamps and 15-inch alloy wheels to the basic Finesse model. The Ghia derives from the Zetec, but with an alarm, anti-lock breaking, air-conditioning and 14 inch alloy wheels.
Of the models from 2005 onwards, the Studio is the basic build featuring remote central locking, power steering, a radio and cassette player, airbags, ABS, and an immobiliser. The Style adds a CD player and electric front windows, while the Style Climate adds air conditioning. The Zetec adds alloy wheels onto the basic Style, and the Zetec climate adds air conditioning onto that. The Zetec S has bigger alloy wheels compared to the standard Zetec, plus an alarm and a mesh grille, while the Ghia adds air conditioning and electric heated mirrors. Finally, the ST model has a 6-CD autochanger, half leather sports seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sports gearbox and air-conditioning.
There are also plenty of special editions to choose from. The Zetec S has no less than four – the Zetec Blue, which features audio controls on the steering wheel as well as an auxiliary audio input socket and bespoke upholstery, the Zetec S Red, which also has an auxiliary audio input in addition to a chequered flag roof, a sports front bumper, 16-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning, and the Zetec S 30th Anniversary and the Zetec S Celebration, which are both the same as the Red but with leather upholstery.
The ST500 is a special edition of the ST with body graphics, leather upholstery and 17-inch graphite alloy wheels. Meanwhile, the Firefly has a fancy leather steering wheel, a radio and CD player and 15-inch alloy wheels. The Black lives up to its name with a metallic black paint job in addition to a chrome grill and silver instrument trim. It also has air conditioning and front fog lights. The Silver is similarly stylish, featuring a black mesh radiator grille with chrome surround, a leather interior and tinted glass on top of audio controls on the steering wheel, front fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning. Finally, the Freedom has Bluetooth connectivity, a neat roof spoiler, electric heated mirrors and an auxiliary audio input socket.
The sportiest of these models is the Fiesta ST, but if you’re looking for good fuel economy, the 1.4 TDCI diesel, with 64.2 mpg, is the way to go. You’ll get the best all-round value from a 1.4 Zetec model, though, with their low price and running costs and strong range of equipment. This also means the 1.4 Zetec is great for families. A 1.25 petrol Zetec is good for short distance, while the 1.6 TDCI diesel is best if you’re making longer trips.
The Fiesta features anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution. There are of course driver and passenger airbags, as well as side impact beams for the front and rear doors. In the Euro NCAP crash tests it managed to score 4/5 for adult occupant protection and 2.4 for pedestrian protection.
Common faults and What to Look Out For
Damp carpets could cause rust, so make sure you check the cabin and boot for this. Also keep an eye on the airbag warning lights – they can flash intermittently instead of just coming on when the car starts and turning off straight away.
If you go with a petrol engine you’ll also want to check whether its oil has been changed around every 10,000 miles, otherwise the engine might start to wear prematurely. Diesel engines have been known to have problems with injector seals – if you can smell diesel or hear sputtering when the car is ticking over, this might be what is happening, and it can cost between £350 and £900 to fix. Similarly, if you can hear whining or knocking noises you might have a problem with your water pump – a common fault for the Fiesta that can cost about £90 to fix.
Ford recommends that users get a new cam belt every 10 years or 100,000 miles (that’s 150,000 miles if you have a diesel) – although it’s probably best they are changed after half that time – so check the service history to see if this has been done or else budget to do this.
Automatic gearboxes are another thing to keep an eye on – they should be changing gear smoothly and quietly. If not, they can be expensive to fix.
Finally, if you’re going for an ST model, check for irregular tyre wear. This is a sign of misaligned steering, which is thankfully easy to fix. Turn off the engine once it is warm and restart. It may need an engine software upgrade if you notice rough running.