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Used Ford Fiesta - This Year's Motor Show King?

Aug 24, 2008
This week I took a trip to London to check out the British International Motor Show. Clearly environmentalists had shaped the agenda as the show was littered with eco-friendly cars that looked exactly like chest freezers. In fact the show was so badly ridden with chest freezers I honestly thought I'd taken a wrong turn into an electrical superstore convention. However amongst the carnage there were a few diamonds in the rough. Ford put on a show with scantily clad dancers to ensure the new Fiesta and Focus RS will flood the market with used Ford Fiestas and Focus STs as people clamour for the new models.

Alfa Romeo unveiled their new MiTo, a super mini that supposedly looks like their 8C super car. It was a decent looking car, but would only fool someone it was the 8C after more pints of lager than medical science would allow. Vauxhall showed off their Insignia, which will be the replacement for the irretrievably ugly Vectra. Nice looking it was too, but at prices to make your wallet squirm, a used Ford Mondeo is a far better bet.

It wasn't all negative though. Honda showed off their replacement for the S2000 convertible with an as-yet-unnamed drop top and Lotus premiered the Evora - their first new car in 13 years. The Nissan GT caused roughly 50 heart attacks once the realisation that it looks even better in the flesh hit home, and Hyundai surprised everyone with the Genesis which is only due to go on sale in the UK if the public wants it. Judging by the broken jaw count as they hit the floor, I'd hazard it'll be with us in late 2009.

It's hard to ignore though the sheer amount of eco-friendly cars that were on show and thankfully not all were chest freezers. For a kick off, the Lightning GT is a bone fide British super car that hits 200mph+ and 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. Did I mention it's electric? The word 'hybrid' was used more than even 'the' or 'a' and it seemed every manufacturer had a concept on the subject. The days of the Toyota Prius ruling the hybrid roost will thankfully soon be over, with Ford, Honda and Lexus the key players to watch.

As I stared at a Mazda test driver drifting effortlessly around their specially built race track in a modified RX8 and heard the cheers of the crowd, I heard something that struck a chord with everyone at the show that day "it's nice to dream, but all I want an affordable car that looks nice". As I re-watched the female dancers on the Ford stage (for journalistic purposes I must add), I realised a great bargain is going to arrive in early 2009.

With the arrival of the new Ford Fiesta next year, inevitably there will be a mad rush to snap up the very good looking newcomer, leaving unwanted used Ford's in showrooms up and down the country. The plan then is very simple: the current Ford Fiesta is a very good looking car, expanding further on Ford's 'new edge' design blueprint. It's available in a multitude of specifications and colours, is very reliable and reasonable to run. Yes it isn't an electric car or even a hybrid, but it's economical and cheap to insure nevertheless.

As with anything second-hand, there are a few key things to keep an eye out for. A used Ford Fiesta shouldn't throw up many nasty surprises but bear in mind the following:

Steering: the front wheels have a tendency to lose their alignment which will cause vibrations through the steering wheel so check for this and the resultant uneven tyre wear.

Engine: occasionally the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) can cause hesitation or misfires from the engine. This is a software issue and something that can quickly be resolved at your local dealer.

Bodywork: the usual problem on any used car - stone chips along the front edge of the bonnet are the big thing, as the paintwork can be quite easily damaged by debris. Rust however is a thing of the past.

Windscreen: ensure there isn't excessive wind noise from the Fiesta's windscreen as some owners have reported their rubber trim coming loose.

So there you have it. Having been to the motor show, dissected the latest, most hyped and stylish cars from around the world, I can conclude that your wallet and the environment will thank you for choosing a car that's been around in its current guise for six years.
About the Author
Edd Bath investigates the British Motor Show and finds the Used Ford Fiesta is still worth a look.
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