The pre-eminent car-derived van is ideal for certain operators for whom load-lugging is not a priority. Steve Banner finds out what to look out for when buying a used Fiesta light commercial vehicle
Compact high-cube vans such as Citroen’s Nemo and Fiat’s Fiorino may be more practical cargo carriers, but vans derived from three-door hatchback cars still command a following.
Admittedly they will not shift huge volumes of goods, but if you are looking to carry a toolbox or package that has got to be delivered urgently, then they cannot easily be beaten.
By and large they’re pleasant to drive, easy to park and don’t look out of place on a suburban drive. Plus, they boast many of the features of the car on which they are based.
Ford introduced a re-styled Fiesta Van at the start of this year, just over four years after it revealed the current generation in autumn 2008.
With a choice of three trims – entry, Trend and range-topping Sport Van, this earlier model offered buyers the choice of three different engines. They could pick from an 82hp 1.25-litre Duratec petrol, 68hp 1.4-litre TDCi diesel or 90hp 1.6-litre TDCi diesel, married in all cases to a five-speed manual gearbox.
ABS was standard, along with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Payloads ranged from 490kg to 515kg depending on the version chosen and a standard half-height bulkhead divided the cab from the 1.0cu m cargo area.
The smallest light commercial in the Blue Oval’s line-up received several upgrades prior to the introduction of this year’s model, most notably the advent of a 95hp diesel and Econetic technology in 2009. It cut CO2 output to an impressively-low 87g/km and reduced the official fuel economy to an astounding 85.6mpg.
If you are looking for a used Fiesta Van then the first thing you should do is check that the headlights and front indicators work, advises web site Used Van Expert. Changing the bulbs is surprisingly difficult, it warns, and may involve a visit to a dealer: so if any are out, then get the van’s asking price reduced by £50.
If you are considering a 1.4 diesel, then open the bonnet while the engine is cold. If your nostrils are assailed by a strong smell of fuel, says Used Van Expert, then the injector leak-off pipes have probably failed. They will need replacing, and that is enough to justify a £280 price cut.
Whenever you are buying a second-hand light commercial you should of course examine the vehicle’s paperwork carefully and the service history in particular. One thing you should certainly do if you are thinking of buying a 1.4-litre and it has done more than 70,000 miles is check that a lower auxiliary belt service has been carried out. If there is no evidence that it has, then get the vehicle’s owner to chop off £300.
No matter which derivative you are casting your eyes over, if the coolant level is low and there are splashes of water at the front of the engine or on the ground underneath, then the water pump could be faulty.
Tell the owner you want him to arrange for a technician to check it out before you part with any cash. You should adopt the same stance with diesel Fiesta Vans fitted with a particulate filter – some are, some aren’t – if the particulate filter warning light on the dashboard fails to go out after the engine has been started and stays on throughout the journey.
Listen out for rubbing or chafing from the front suspension, especially if over speed bumps. That suggests that the front anti-roll bar bushes need replacing; £200 job.
At the same time check that the ride is totally level and that the van’s nose isn’t sagging at one corner. If it is, then one of the front springs may have snapped, work costing £375: so the asking price should come down.
Ensure that the heating/ventilation system’s booster fan is working properly. If it runs erratically then the motor will need replacing so press for a £200 discount.
Depending on the age of the vehicle, some of the faults may be covered by warranty, which is a matter for the vendor to sort out.
So, how much can you expect to pay for your second-hand Fiesta Van?
Auctioneer Manheim recently disposed of a 2009 1.4-litre on a 59- plate that had clocked up a hefty 151,647 miles for £2625. Rather more expensive, but not so heavily used, was a 90hp 1.6-litre SportVan of the same age with 23,811 miles that, to its credit, went for £6550.
Another 1.4-litre – 2010 on a 10- plate – that had covered 78,694 miles went for £4075. A 2011 model on an 11-plate powered by the 95hp 1.6-litre and with 14,180 miles to its name was bought for £6775.
• Used Van Expert provided us with invaluable help in compiling the foregoing. See UsedVanExpert.co.uk for further advice and information.