Discover Used Ford Fiesta Years to Avoid and Worst Problems

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a used Ford Fiesta? It can be overwhelming to navigate the various model years and potential issues that come with them.

But fear not, because we’re here to help. As you consider your options, it’s crucial to know which model years to avoid so that you can get the best value for your money.

Some years of the Fiesta have persistent issues that could cause headaches for any prospective buyer like yourself.

We’ve done the research and can confidently say that the worst model years for the Fiesta are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 based on consumer reviews and reported problems.

By avoiding these years, you’ll save yourself potential troubles down the road. So, whether you’re a first-time car buyer or a seasoned pro, take our auto car advice and find the perfect Ford Fiesta for you.

Ford Fiesta problems

Worst Years to Avoid

2011 Ford Fiesta

The very first year to highlight is the 2011 Ford Fiesta. This year is infamous for its transmission troubles such as:

  • Hesitation in acceleration
  • Shuddering
  • Leaking transmission fluid

Additionally, you might also face engine troubles, and interior and exterior accessory issues. Unfortunately, as the car’s first year in North America, it earned the “Beware of the Clunker” badge.

2012 Ford Fiesta

The 2012 model improved slightly but still shared most of the problems with the 2011 version, indirectly earning a position in the avoid list as well.

2013 Ford Fiesta

When considering the worst years, the 2013 Ford Fiesta is one to be extra cautious of.

The transmission issues were the most severe in this particular model year, with the potential to impact the entire performance of the vehicle. Repair costs can go up to $3,400.

2014 Ford Fiesta

The 2014 Fiesta isn’t much better, as it carries over many of the issues present in the previous models. This year, too, finds its roots among the worst years for Ford Fiestas.

2015 Ford Fiesta

Finally, the 2015 version also suffers from various problems, making it one of the worst years for the Ford Fiesta.

2016 Ford Fiesta

As you move into the 2016 model, you’ll notice that Ford began to improve the quality of their Fiesta significantly. Although not perfect, it shows significant progress compared to the earlier models.

2017 Ford Fiesta

If you are looking for a reliable Ford Fiesta, the 2017 version is one to consider. The issues present in earlier models have been significantly reduced, making it a safer option.

2018 Ford Fiesta

The 2018 model continues to show improvements and is considered among the more reliable years for a used Ford Fiesta.

2019 Ford Fiesta

When it comes to reliability, the 2019 Fiesta excels, being counted among the best years for this model. Therefore, it is a good choice for a dependable used Ford Fiesta.

Common Problems and Complaints

Transmission Issues

One of the most common issues you might encounter with certain Ford Fiesta years is transmission problems.

These can include jerking, shuddering, or hesitation when accelerating. You may also experience issues with the clutch slipping or the transmission failing entirely, as was the case in the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

Over 60% of the reported complaints for the 2011-2013 models were related to transmission troubles, so it’s important to be aware of these issues when choosing a Ford Fiesta.

Engine Problems

Engine problems are another area where you should pay attention when considering certain Ford Fiesta years.

These can range from minor annoyances to more severe issues that could affect your car’s reliability and performance.

For instance, some owners have reported problems with the engine stalling or losing power, while others have encountered difficulties with the engine cooling system. It’s important to remain vigilant with regular maintenance checks to help prevent these issues from escalating.

Door Latch Failure

A lesser-known, but still significant issue reported by some Ford Fiesta owners is door latch failure, which led to recalls in certain model years.

This problem can pose a safety hazard, as doors may not close or remain closed while driving. You should be mindful of the door latch functionalities in these affected Ford Fiesta models and be prepared to address this issue if needed.

Safety and Reliability

Recall Information

To ensure you are purchasing a reliable vehicle, always research recall information for the specific year you’re considering.

The 2011-2012 Ford Fiestas faced transmission issues, which led to several recalls. Make sure to check the recall history of the car you’re interested in and ensure relevant repairs have been carried out.

Risk of Crashes and Fires

Safety is a top priority when choosing a vehicle, so you’ll want to know how different Ford Fiesta models have fared in terms of accidents and potential fire hazards.

According to the NHTSA’s review, the 2019 Ford Fiesta received an overall crash-test rating of four out of five stars.

Do regularize that crash-test ratings may change depending on the model year, so always investigate the safety ratings of the specific year you’re contemplating.

Cars with better driving dynamics can decrease the likelihood of accidents. Ford Fiesta is known for its good handling and responsive steering, making it a suitable option in the used car market.

J.D. Power Ratings

Checking J.D. Power ratings is another effective way to gauge the reliability of a specific Ford Fiesta model year.

According to J.D. Power, the 2019 Ford Fiesta achieved an above-average consumer score of 74 out of 100, with individual ratings for “quality & reliability” obtaining a score of 77.

When evaluating Ford Fiesta models, you can use these ratings as a guide to compare different years and make an informed decision.

Vehicle Performance

Driving Dynamics

The Fiesta offers a responsive and engaging driving experience, especially in the 2016-2019 model years.

These years are known for their improved handling and stability when compared to earlier models. However, the 2011-2015 models are generally considered the years to avoid due to reports of stalling and other performance issues.

The Fiesta is available in both Sedan and Hatchback body styles, giving you options depending on your needs. With its nimble and agile handling, the Fiesta is a fun car to drive through twists and turns.

Engine Specifications

Under the hood, the Ford Fiesta offers a variety of engine options depending on the model year and trim level. Here are some typical engine specifications you can expect:

  • Base engine: 1.6L 4-cylinder with around 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque,
  • Optional EcoBoost engine: 1.0L 3-cylinder turbo with around 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque,
  • ST model: 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo with around 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque

Keep in mind that the models to avoid, specifically those from 2011-2015, have been reported to experience Powershift transmission problems. This can lead to a less-than-smooth driving experience and potentially costly repairs down the line.

As for tech features, the Ford Fiesta is equipped with modern conveniences such as Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen infotainment system, and available features like navigation and a rearview camera. The Fiesta also offers good fuel efficiency to help save on fuel costs.

Now that you have an understanding of the vehicle performance aspects of the Ford Fiesta, you can make a more informed decision about which model years to pursue and which to avoid.

Ford Fiesta Competitors

In this section, we will discuss three popular competitors of the Ford Fiesta: Renault Clio, Audi A1, and Vauxhall Corsa.

Renault Clio

The Renault Clio is a stylish and well-built alternative to the Ford Fiesta. With its spacious cabin and advanced safety features, you may find this supermini more comfortable and reassuring on the road.

However, there are two key problems with the Clio. First, the engine options are limited, which could affect your driving experience if you’re used to having a variety of choices.

Second, it has a less intuitive infotainment system compared to the Fiesta, which may be a downside if you value user-friendliness.

Audi A1

If you’re looking for a more premium experience in a small car, the Audi A1 might just be the right choice for you. It offers an upscale cabin with high-quality materials and advanced technology features.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks to consider when comparing it to the Fiesta. First, the A1 comes with a higher price tag, which might not be within everyone’s budget among other Audi A1 problems and common issues.

Second, it has a slightly smaller boot, which might pose a challenge if you have a lot of luggage or bulky items to carry.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa is another strong competitor to the Ford Fiesta. It offers an excellent balance of practicality and fun-to-drive character, thanks to its agile handling and peppy engine options. Nevertheless, there are two main issues to be aware of when considering the Corsa.

First, its interior quality is not as good as the Fiesta’s, with some cheaper materials and less sound insulation.

Second, the Corsa is known for its less efficient engines, which could result in higher fuel consumption than the Ford Fiesta.

In summary, each of these Ford Fiesta rivals offers its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

It’s up to you to decide which one best suits your needs and preferences, considering factors such as price, cabin quality, and fuel efficiency before making your final choice.


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