This Is Possibly The Best Fiesta There's Ever Been.
A full review of the Ford Fiesta MK5 2002.
I know, I know…I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell have I done a review on a, what, 18-year-old car? Well, some people are still buying them, so I decided to review it.
Right, let’s go back a few years - wieieowiwieowowowow - Ahhh that’s better, 1995. The time Blur and Oasis were fighting for the Number 1 and the PlayStation 1 was released in the UK, good times. It was also the year Ford brought out the Fiesta MK4. It started production in 1995 and became Britain’s best-selling car from 1996-1998.
In 1999, Ford decided to give it a facelift and call it the MK5, but it is also referred to as the MK4 facelift. It was released with a new Focus-inspired front end, new bumpers, and wheels. That too, became Britain’s best-selling car in the year 2001. During the time it was being made, Ford decided to produce the Zetec S model as well, which is the same comparison of the Fiesta ST in today’s world, only with a lot less power of course. It got a bigger engine, updated suspension and brakes, and a few performance parts, too. Unfortunately, Ford ended the production of the MK5 in 2002, and replaced it with the MK6 - boo!
Now, let’s fast-forward to the year 2020 - wieieowiwieowowowow - The Fiesta is still in production and is currently Britain’s best-selling car, but it’s grown up a bit. We now have more safety, more security, more tech, more room, more power, more comfort, more aerodynamics, which also means better fuel economy. No doubt the Fiesta has improved an awful lot over the years and still is a great car.
In the 21st century people either lease, rent, or buy a car until it either runs out of warranty or screen wash fluid. The truth is, when I was looking for my first car, I didn’t want it to be brand new. It’s not that I don’t like them - I do. But a lot of people seem to think new cars are more reliable, and that’s not always the case. I also didn’t want any nonsense safety features like traction control, so I can do proper wheels spins at a set of traffic lights, like any other youth would do. Why? Well, why not? All I wanted was an engine, a gearbox, three pedals and some brakes. Oh, and a steering wheel might help on the corners.
After looking at some older Renault Clio’s, Nissan Micra’s, Vauxhall Corsa’s and I even remember looking at a 1980’s Ford Escort MK3 at one point. I finally saw the car I wanted, which my dad bought for me, a Ford Fiesta MK5 2002, in Panther Black.
I’ve owned it for almost 4 ½ years now, boy oh boy do I love my Fiesta. It really is a cracking car. I can honestly say, not once have I thought I bought the wrong car. Most of the time I’m driving it, it manages to put a smile on my face, even if I’m not ragging it. I know most teens or young adults like a bit more power out of their motor than my 74bhp engine - whoopy-doo. But it really doesn’t bother me. If it did, I would have upgraded by now.
Ford gave the Fiesta MK5 a range of petrol engines, the 1.3-litre Endura-E with 49bhp and 60bhp, the 1.4-litre Zetec SE with 89bhp and the 1.6-litre Zetec-S with 102bhp. As for the diesels, there was a 1.8-litre Endura-DE with 59bhp and a turbocharged 1.8-litre Endura-DI which made 74bhp. There was also the 1.25-litre Zetec-SE, which is the same engine that powers my car. We’re talking 0-62mph in 13.1 seconds, with 81lb-ft to help it reach its top speed of 104mph. The gearbox is good, too, five-speed we’re talking. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a six-speed box, but I can’t complain considering how old it is really. My Fiesta isn’t fast, far from it. But it still feels fun and nippy when you want it to be, as it weighs only 924kg.
You may not think a Fiesta MK5 is more fun at the corners than a modern-day Fiesta, but I think it’s better. Although the Fiesta MK8 is more comfortable for long journeys, has more tech and features. But, when it comes to the back roads, I’d pick the Fiesta MK5, as it’s brilliant at the corners. Really, it is. The steering’s accurate and gives a gratifying feeling on hard cornering. Rev-matching before I’m turning in hard and exiting, giving full throttle, making sure the rev-needle makes it way to 5,000rpm before changing up a gear. At-a-boy.
And for everyday use, driving to work in my Fiesta is economical, believe it or not. Driving around town, I’ll expect to get near 36mpg. If I’m in ‘Granny’ mode, I worked out I was getting just over 50mpg…for a car at that age? I was surprised too.
I think the Fiesta MK5 looks great, although I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Since I’ve owned my Fiesta, I haven’t done a lot of upgrades to be honest, as I don’t see the point. I’ve only done a few bits here and there, including a speaker upgrade and an induction kit, which makes my smile grow bigger and the drive more entertaining.
The interior has the very basics. A clock, a heated rear window, front electric windows, central locking, a radio, CD player, glove box, a heater blower with air conditioning, and one air bag for the driver. The best part is the white instrument cluster, with dials that light up green - oh yes! So it really does just have the basics. But like I said in my YouTube review, it’s a cheap car and stays cheap, because there’s not much to go wrong.
It’s practical, too. It came in a three and five-door body style. It has five seats, five seatbelts with split rear seats and a decent sized boot. Although very rarely is there more than just me in the car, so owning a ‘small car’ if you like, works a treat.
There are only a few issues I’ve had in the time of owning my car. Firstly, the button to open the boot from the inside doesn’t work while the engine is running. So, each time you want to open the boot, you have to turn the engine off to do so. Pain.
Secondly, the MK5 is known for rust issues. The most common areas for it to rust are either the door sills or on the rear wheel arches. The reason it suffered from rust issues is due to poor design, cheap materials and the chassis isn’t galvanised. Yes, I’m fully aware I’m talking about rust issues on an old car. However, this problem started occurring on some of them after 3 years of being on the road.
But, to sum this car up, it’s no doubt perfect for me. Sure, it’s not especially fast, or extremely safe or is it a pulling machine - far from it. But it’s still cheap to run, cheap enough to tax and unbelievably cheap on insurance. So, when you’re looking at what lease vehicle to buy next, just remember, older cars may not have everything, but they can certainly surprise you.