Fleet News

Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec - 4,555 miles



'IF it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to be the motto of the design team at Ford these days. Looking at our long-term Fiesta, it is clear it has inherited its looks from its larger Focus stablemate.

And it's not just the exterior that features Focus styling cues. Although the interior looks less radical than the Focus, it retains the same user-friendly controls. One of the best things about the new Fiesta is that it passes the 'six-footer test'. On a recent trip to the pub I found that my tall passenger didn't struggle for space in the back, unlike the old-shape Fiesta.

While the new Fiesta may lack the cute appeal of competitors such as the Citroen C3, Toyota Yaris and now the Nissan Micra, it attempts to nod in the direction of fun with optional 16-inch alloy wheels, six-disc CD player and a roof spoiler fitted to our test car.

The lack of youth appeal may hit the new Fiesta on both retail sales and company car volumes, though.

Given the current fun and funky rivals, its traditional market may regard its new look as a bit straight-faced – especially when rivals are so close on benefit-in-kind tax. A 22% company car taxpayer in 2003/4 would pay £27.09 per month for the Fiesta, £27.14 for a 1.4 SX Citroen C3 5dr and £27.69 for a 1.3 16v VVTi GLS 5dr Toyota Yaris.

Since its arrival at Fleet News, our Fiesta has suffered a few glitches, with a broken heater and a recall to check the digital instrument display and airbag warning light before we even had time to put some miles on the clock. Not long after that the gear lever surround came adrift.

In my time with the car, I've only had the Fiesta off the road once, to replace the front passenger-side tyre after a puncture.

I headed for the nearest ATS Euromaster in Peterborough to get it replaced. ATS didn't have the tyre in stock, as it was the first new Fiesta staff had seen, and I had to go back the next day. Once they found the locking wheel nut tool (it's on the jack), the offending item was replaced in no time, with the bill coming to £73.40 plus VAT, a further £9 for valves and balancing and 75p for disposal of the old tyre.

Although the car is not to blame for this event, I hope the Fiesta's next custodian has a more trouble-free spell of motoring.

Company car tax bill (22% taxpayer)£27.09 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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