Buy your first evo car - Ford Fiesta Zetec-S buying checkpoints

What to check for when buying a Ford Fiesta Zetec-S.

The Fiesta had taken a giant stride with the launch of the mkIV in 1995. Although it was based on the mkIII it had heavily revised suspension and a new range of Zetec engines. In 1999 it was facelifted with the ‘new edge’ look from the Focus, and it’s this car that’s known as the mkV in the UK. For enthusiasts the big news was the introduction of the Zetec-S with a new 1.6i 16v engine, stiffer anti-roll bars and uprated brakes. Sharing its chassis with the Puma coupe, the 1.7-litre Puma engine is a common conversion.

What to pay

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Serviceable cars start at around £1000 and £1500 buys you a good, well-maintained example. Pristine, low-mileage cars occasionally fetch up to £2000.


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Don’t be surprised to find rust, particularly around the sills and rear wheelarches, but do check that it’s only superficial – the inner sills are a potential problem. Also check brakelines for corrosion. Rear dampers often need replacement, as do lower suspension arm bushes. A fastidious owner may well have had these replaced, so ask. If anything’s amiss with the ride or handling, walk away.

  • Service £198 (Oil, filters, etc. Costs from
  • Tyres £107 (two, fitted)
  • Exhaust £122 (fitted, cat-back)
  • Insurance £900*
  • Road tax £19 (12 months)
  • Fuel £1689 (10,000 miles)
  • TOTAL £3206

* Insurance based on a 21-year-old male, two years’ NCD, living in Stamford, office worker, no accidents or convictions. Quotes from Adrian Flux ( 106 quote is for standard car (add £15 for modified)

** Fuel cost based on official ‘combined’ mpg and unleaded at 141.03p per litre


  • Engine In-line 4-cyl, 1596cc
  • Max power 102bhp @ 6000rpm
  • Max torque 107lb ft @ 4000rpm
  • Weight (kerb) 976kg
  • Power-to-weight 106bhp/ton
  • 0-60mph 10.2sec (claimed)
  • Top speed 113mph (claimed)
  • Years ’00-’02
  • Price when new £10,995
  • Price today £1000-1500
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