Mk 5 Ford Fiesta 1.4TDCi

Ford Fiesta lr


Fred the Ford Fiesta

By Tim Saunders

In 2009 I bought an unassuming, some might say dull, five door 2002 Ford Fiesta 1.4TDCi finished in metallic blue with 72,000 miles on the clock for the princely sum of £2,400 cash. Not long after, it became clear that I would have to replace the power steering column – I sourced a used one, making it more affordable but it was still a few hundred pounds to replace. It hasn’t caused me any problems since... Over the years it has got through a set of tyres and the odd windscreen wiper but apart from that I can’t complain. Every year it has passed its MOT with flying colours and it did the same thing this year despite it now being 20 years old and having covered over 114,000 miles. I know of one motorist with a BMW 520i who doesn’t think twice about spending £600 a time to get his German beast through the yearly test.

“They don’t make cars like this any more,” smiles my mechanic patting Fred. He’s also called Tim. The day before the MOT I noticed that there was a bit more play than usual on the clutch pedal and that it had started to make a bit of a noise when I depressed it but didn’t give it any more thought. On returning it to the garage to replace the perished fan belt, I was informed that as it has a hydraulic clutch it was unfortunately not simply a matter of tighten the cables as can be done on older cars. The problem could be resolved but it would cost £450… At this point I recalled how when I last checked the value of my car it was hovering around the £300 mark. So I politely requested that he did not do any work on it and I drove home, carefully….

Then I checked the prices of similar Ford Fiestas and noticed that they had shot up, some even being sold for more than I paid for mine. There are some factors to consider here, firstly from next year Ford will no longer make the trusty Fiesta; this news is already making it an iconic car, helping to push prices up. Secondly, as manufacturers continue to struggle to build new cars due to reduced demand, the cost of used cars still seems to be at an all time high. Thirdly, electric cars might just might not be as popular as the government is hoping. Before the cost of living crisis such a vehicle could be charged at home for a few pounds but now it costs as much to charge one as it does to fill up a car with fuel, and the range is still too low. At 20 years old my Fiesta still returns 50mpg, which is perfectly acceptable to me. Oh, but you’re not environmentally friendly I hear Greta cry. I beg to differ. Having driven the same car for 13 years, think of how much energy I have actually saved when compared to someone who has to buy a new bigger better car every year. According to “In order to build a car, you’d need about 15,800 kWh of energy (56,880 MJs divided by 3.6 MJ/kWh). That adds up to 12,741 solar panels. And assuming a solar panel is 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet according to SunPower, that’s 223,620 square feet. That adds up to about five acres of land needed to build a single car per day.” This might be ok if solar panels are actually generating the power but more likely dirty energy will be used. You must consider how the energy is produced that is used not only to build a car but to create the batteries to store the energy and how is the energy produced to charge them? Then where is the car built? Where does the metal come from to build the car? Is it recycled? Or is it imported from some distant land? How much energy has gone into getting it to the factory? It’s an energy sapping process.

New diesel and petrol cars will be banned from 2030, which means it will still be possible to buy a used one from this date.

So, as I write I am just preparing to phone my mechanic to get the oil leak on Fred repaired, the clutch and fan belt replaced so that I can continue enjoying cheap motoring; fully comprehensive insurance for just over £100 a year and £30 a year road tax (once Fred is 25 years old there will be no road tax to pay). That makes me smile when there is little to smile about in this world at the moment. Oh yes, I also get warm feet on a cold winter’s day – I never have in an electric car.     

Facts at a glance

0 to 60mph: 14.4secs
Power: 67bhp
Economy: up to 65mpg
Fuel capacity: 45 litres (9.9 gallons)


DIY Car Parts advert


Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn