Car reviews - Ford - Festiva - 5-dr hatch
Room for improvement
Below par performance, comfort, safety, handling, ride, steering, refinement, quality, durability, image
7 May 2003
FORD introduced the Festiva onto the market as a contender in the small car class in October, 1991.
It was based on the 1987-1990 Mazda 121 with a slightly longer wheelbase to accommodate four doors and was built for Ford by South Korean manufacturer Kia.
Revising an established design kept development and manufacturing costs down which enabled Ford to keep the new price down to a competitive level.
The Festiva offered four seats, reasonable luggage space behind the rear seats and low running costs in a very compact package.
It was sold as a single model with quite a generous level of equipment, considering the price.
The list included a security coded AM/FM radio, tachometer, intermittent wipers and remote rear door and fuel filler door release.
Air-conditioning was an option and metallic paint was available at no extra cost.
A three-door version was released in January, 1993. Both models were on the market until March, 1994, when they were superseded by the aero-look WB Festiva.
The overhead camshaft, four-cylinder, 1.3-litre engine has an output of 46kW. The engine followed the Festiva low price formula, opting for carburettor rather than fuel-injection.
Weighing just 810kg, the Festiva's small engine was able to push the car along fairly frugally but has enough acceleration keep up with the traffic.
Fuel consumption in manual transmission form will be around 8.0L/100km in typical city and suburban driving. On the highway expect 7.0L/100km.
The older generation suspension left its mark on Festiva, compromising handling and ride compared with its rivals. But for commuting purposes, the car's springs and dampers offer a satisfactory service.
Ride quality is acceptable on smooth roads and Michelin tyres fitted as original equipment improve grip. But they are unlikely to have been replaced when worn by the same French rubber, which could lead to a more noisy, harsher ride.
The small turning circle and short overall length make parking easy although some people will miss power steering.
The Festiva's mechanicals have been well proven in the Mazda 121 so the long term durability promises to be good.
And it is simple to service, which should offer do-it-yourself people plenty of scope for saving money.
Check the car's service history to make sure the camshaft belt, radiator coolant and brake fluid have been replaced at the recommended intervals.
The Festiva's hatchback offers versatility and good equipment levels.
It appeals to people who want good value for money and are not concerned with having the most up to date mechanical technology powering their city runabout.
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