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1999 ford fiesta 1.25 zetec review
The Ford Fiesta was launched in 1976, and was one of the first front-wheel-drive cars Ford marketed. The car was a massive success - it took only a little over two years for the company to sell a million Fiestas. The Fiesta continued to dominate throughout the seventies and early eighties. Around 1988, the car came under more pressure, and Ford started re-inventing the model in a series of iterations.
We are currently at the 6th version of the Fiesta - and not a lot is left of the original concept other than the front-wheel drive, the competitive pricing, and the small form factor.
The particular model we reviewed was the Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.25 5 door.
From the Fiesta Mk4 (the first 'rounded' design to be launched) in 1999, the Fiesta has been well known for their very good handling - the newest version is no exception. The New Ford Fiesta seems heavier than its predecessor, but its handling is no less crisp and precise, and overall build quality is a further improvement as well.
Driving the new fiesta seems like a far more 'grown up' experience than the old car - the instrument panel is sober and offers great overview, the seats are firmer but more comfortable, and the interior overall is of higher quality.
The new hoist of features - most notably ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, dual airbags, central locking, and deadlocks as standard - make the car a good contender, also in the safety stakes. Curtain and side airbags are available as options.
When driving, the ergonomy is nothing short of excellent - the gear-change action is smooth, the clutch is particularly easy to use and the steering wheel is comfortably heavy, which allows a bit of feedback for more advanced drivers.
On the road, the Fiesta is sure-footed enough to handle safely through sharp corners, yet is comfortable enough to drive on the motorway, even for longer distances. An excellent stereo system and excellent visibility aids the cruising factor considerably.
For the more discerning driver, Ford offers a long list of extras - Parking sensors, navigation systems, sunroofs, and a lot of other gadgets.
The new design is sober and well thought-out - it is obvious that Ford is aiming for a serious and adult car buying market with their newest mini, but this is not a bad thing. Rare for cars of this size is the fact that you can transport four adults with some degree of comfort - two adults and two kids is no problem at all. The 5-door edition has the best space in the back - due to a slightly different design - but the 3-door also seats adults with reasonable comfort.
Luggage space is somewhat limited (sure, transporting all these people works, but if they need clothes, tents and food for a camping trip you are out of luck), but the boot space is ample for a week's shopping for a small family.
Without people in the back, the seat has a 40/60 split, which means you can transport bulkier items relatively easily.
The Fiesta makes a compelling choice for many different users - it is small enough to be a city-car, but large enough to be confident on longer trips and higher speeds. The combination of all this means that the Ford Fiesta is a perfect commuters' car, a great choice for small families, or an excellent selection as a second run-around.
The small-car market has always been a violently contested market, and the Fiesta-class has a lot of competition. At the upper end of the scale, the VW Polo and the VW Golf are options worth considering. Simultaneously, models from Renault (especially the new Clio III and the Modus), Smart (ForFour), Citroen (C3), Toyota (Yaris), Mitsubishi (Colt) and Vauxhall (Meriva and Corsa) are worth considering.
At the moment, only the Clio III, the Mini One, the Volkswagen Polo and the Yaris offer any worthy competition. The VW and the Mini get less depreciation, but overall, the playing field is very even. The Ford is probably the most boring choice of the lot - but boring can be a good thing: boring is predictable, and as far as cars go, predictable is not so bad.
The 1.25 litre Zetec engine is actually surprisingly capable, and it cruises effortlessly on the motorway and around town. The 1.4 litre offers plenty of power for most uses, and the 1.6 litre is fun, but a bit over-kill.
The Diesel engines are excellent, but if you are considering a proper mile-muncher for long distance driving, it may be worth putting up the extra money and consider a Ford Focus instead.
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