Thinking about buying a 92 Festiva

07-12-2004, 09:26 AM
There's a 92 Festiva for sale nearby, and I'm thinking about buying it. It's only got 99000 kms. It's got an auto tranny. The body and interior are really clean, no rust spots or tears in the seat fabric. The guy wants 1000 Canadian for it. He'll take 900 for it, I may be able to get him down to 800 if I wave the money in his face. A 92 Festiva with 99000 kms for 1000 bucks, think it's worth it? Are there any trouble spots on these cars that I should look for on this one?

07-12-2004, 04:25 PM
First of all its a FORD. if you really desperatly need a car, then go for it. If you can get by, and wait and save up for a quality auto, I would go with the latter. Festivas are death traps, and smaller and more laughable than Metros.

07-12-2004, 05:25 PM
Hm, sounds like you are against them. Have you ever owned one, ridden in one or been involved in a collision with one? If not, then how could your comment be vaild in any way?

07-12-2004, 05:28 PM
And besides, I've been led to believe that the Festiva is essentially a Mazda 121, with Ford badging. Are Mazdas that bad?

07-12-2004, 05:37 PM
A Mazda? Your serious as a heart attack, arent you? No way!

In fact, I had the unfortunate experience of having one. Boy that was fun! Honeslty, I am biased against alot of Ford products, namely thier little cars, that goes for any auto maker in my eyes. Ford Trucks are excellent for the most part. I think the Crown Vic and the Thunderbird are awesome too. Mustangs are okay, except anyone with 13,000 dollars can have one, and they are not original. If you want somoene to agreee with you and say, get the Festiva, go for it.

I just think if you can hold off you should. By the way, you can get your neighbor down to 750, just find something wrong with it, or only flash that much.

07-12-2004, 05:57 PM
I'll try for 800, the tires looks like they're fairly worn. They're just cheap walmart tires anyway

07-12-2004, 06:12 PM
How old are you anyway?

07-12-2004, 06:19 PM
24, why?

07-12-2004, 06:21 PM
oh okay, I thought you were a kid or something. Does it snow alot where you are.

07-12-2004, 06:24 PM
Sometimes in the winter it does. I suppose a car with skinny 12 inch tires wouldn't be a whole lot of good in the snow, would it?

07-12-2004, 06:26 PM
That was my thought. Im from Pennsylvania, and a Festiva doesnt stand a snowballs chance in hell. It all depends on what your needs are at this very moment.

07-12-2004, 07:51 PM
Well, irght now I need something relatively cheap, good on gas (91.9 cents per liter here) and something reliable.

07-12-2004, 08:20 PM
This question is for anyone who has owned an automatic Festiva in the past, what kind of fuel mileage do these get?

07-13-2004, 02:25 AM
It gets good mileage, should be 30+ MPG. I dunno about the reliablity

07-13-2004, 04:11 AM
Is that city or highway mileage?

07-13-2004, 04:13 AM
heres a link

07-13-2004, 04:15 AM
heres another

07-13-2004, 04:31 AM
hope that was helpful

07-13-2004, 04:40 AM lists the 92 Festiva with auto as only getting 33 highway? Sounds kinda low I think.

07-13-2004, 04:46 AM
Well, its a US Government study. I never said it was accurate. With good maintenance and whatnot, you can probably get pretty close to 40 mpg

07-13-2004, 04:50 AM
40 would be nice

07-13-2004, 04:52 AM
Totally doable. My Corolla gets 35 mpg if I dont use the AC. And for the most part, I stay under 65 mph. If I reduced it to 55, I would get closer to 40 MPG. I take it back, a Festiva is a great gas saver.

07-13-2004, 05:02 AM
Yeah, Im 24, and I drive like Im 90. I have the Highway Patrol speeding around me to get away! If I ever see a dollar a gallon again, I might go back to driving faster, but I just dont see the point.

07-13-2004, 03:12 PM
ummm get a corolla!
naa festiva milage is pretty damn good my mum has a '96 and it runs on nothing if you go easy on it. problem is three speed gearbox means the car has to rev to do speed or hills or overtake or... and that uses fuel. she also got t-boned a year or so ago and i thought the car would be a write off or they'd be dead but the side intrusion bars held and all was good.. though her b/f got a busted rib. I also know they do alright on gravel but don't really have the grunt to straighten out on a power slide so you're better using the hand brake... and they start to float round 150ish (95mph) and they can fly if you hit a bump right! for little boring cars i rate them! not as solid as my hilux (tacoma) and not as quick as my mr2 turbo, but hey if it floats your boat i reckon they're cool! but i'd still get a corolla. not sure if the states got the same as the '96 ones over here.

07-13-2004, 07:21 PM
Well, I don't plan on driving it hard (much), I'd be worried about tipping over with those little wheelbarrow tires!

09-16-2004, 12:05 PM
I've owned a 1990 Ford Festiva since '92, my second car as a young college student. 5-speed. The only problem it ever had was needing the front end replaced when it hit 120k miles about 5 years ago - no grease fittings, just wore out.

It's incredibly low maintenance, and a lot fun to zip around in - quite peppy in fact. It gets fantastic mileage, parts are cheap (often Mazda) and costs little to insure, so it's inexpensive to own. It's great in a city, very tight turning radius, so it's easy to maneuver (I can turn around in the width of my driveway). Although I'm a grown professional now and have other vehicles, I will continue to use this as a commuter car indefinitely due to both practicality, and fun. If your ego is sturdy enough to take some occasional ribbing, along with the questions and compliments you'll get on this unique little car, I would definitely advise getting one.

Regarding snow: I've driven it through many Central New York winters, and snow tires are highly recommended, if they're still available.

09-26-2004, 09:13 PM
I bought a 1990 5 speed new almost 15 years ago.
I have averaged about 42 mpg overall since high as 48 (country driving) and as low as 34 when it needed a tune up.
After 240,000 mile with no problems, I just had to replace the clutch. Then at 244,000, because of problem with the crankshaft nose key way I had to replace the block (from a 1991 salvage with 150,000 used my old head with a valve job) . Other than the crankshaft keyway problem the engine was still running great.
From my experience..this is the best little care I have ever owner.
Really easy to work on too. Too bad Ford stopped selling the in the US.

the doctor
10-15-2004, 02:04 PM
Wanted: ford festiva

Anybody selling? a guy in San Diego?

I would love to find a 90s festiva to fix up, but there's nothing to be had. If anyone has a lead, e-mail me?
Anyone in SoCal or within driving distance who wants to sell a festiva.

[the doctor]

10-15-2004, 02:14 PM
I used to own 1 and it was reliable
35 mpg tires are about 85 (us) for good tires the 2 draw backs that I had were exhaust systems only last 2-3 years and the brakes wear out about every year

it is not a mazda or even close to it in reliabilty
it is 100% korean if I remem correctly it was a deawoo

07-20-2005, 03:43 AM
I have a 1992 ford festiva and i got it at 215k km it now has 250k km i have had to replace the tranny alternator and starter and the thing eats mufflers, other then that it now runs perfect starts up really easy great on gas 20 dollars canadian a week love that car

07-20-2005, 08:07 PM
I have a 1992 ford festiva and i got it at 215k km it now has 250k km i have had to replace the tranny alternator and starter and the thing eats mufflers, other then that it now runs perfect starts up really easy great on gas 20 dollars canadian a week love that car

I have only replaced the muffler 1 time on my 90 Festive (now at 265,000+), original transmission, alternator and starter. No rust at all on it (no road salt here in the South.) I drive 420 mile each week to and from work. The gas gage hasn't worked for several years so I reset the odometer at each fillup. When the mileage is between 390 and 400, I fillup and check the MPG. During the last year I have gotten as high as 51 MPG and as low as 42 MPG between fillups. Average is right at 46 MPG. Other than routine maintenance, the only major problem has been the crankshaft keyway problem noted in an earlier post.
Items I replaced at about 240,000: Left CV Joint, Ball joints, Front Rotors, Rack and Pinion Steering (rebuilt) and tie rod ends. Front and rear wheel bearings, Clutch and Pressure plate, pilot and throw-out bearing.
AC sill works but not as well as there is a slow leak...Freon is getting too expensive, so I plan to change system to R134A this winter. Also the right CV joint is starting to click, so I will replace that also. The struts still seem to be OK but I will also replace them just to make it feel better. Plan to keep this car for my 2 year old grandson to driver when he starts college (his father drove it during his college years.)

10-26-2005, 06:49 PM

There's a very long story behind that car. I lived in an 89 Subaru Justy (same car as a festiva) for 3 months in the winter. It does tip easily. I used to be able to put it up on two wheels leaving work. Tell ya what though, I'm surprised at how well that car held up in that wreck. I was doing 55ish around a bend, hit a patch of ice and lost it, it caught traction and rolled 3 times, skidding on its roof backwards off the road into a ditch and then flipped back onto the wheels sideways and then rolled a 2 or 3 more times before resting on its roof.

But while owning the car (before losing the back half of the car to a tree that fell in a storm -see the "custom" new back half? :-P) it got between 45 and 50mpg! I rarely had it above 60 and drove like a grampa because if I stomped on the gas pedal it would die for about half an hour...

They're queer, quirky and slow. I'd steer away from an AT, the 5 speed makes it much more driveable. But they've got a certain appeal in that you'll never forget owning one and the looks you get while driving it.

11-16-2005, 09:14 AM
i have a MODIFIED 1992 ford festiva and have been driving other festivas since i got my license... i have done almsot anything to a festiva that can be done and i will tell you they are the easiest car with the lowest priced parts i have ever owned (i also have a mistubishi 3000GT VR4, very pricey and very fast!)

in the winter the festiva with an upgrade to a tall skinny 13" tire becomes a monster... i live in minnesota and last year we had 2 feet of snow fall in a massive snow storm in march... right in the middle of it when the two main interstates were closed (I-35 and I-90) i took that little beast on a 100 mile trip to see my girlfriend, i passed semis and 4x4's, i had snow packed AROUND my motor in my engine bay, i hit drifts that were tall as my hood and still made it...

for winters they are great, i have a 89 chevy k1500 4x4 with a 5spd trans and my festiva gets three times its milage and gets stuck less lol...

and if its in that good of shape you can do what myself and many others have done, modify... the festiva was made in korea with mazda parts assembled by kia, so hence the mazda parts it has many interchangable and bolt on things that can be used from other cars.

many people want more power so they go with a light motor upgrade from a mazda 323 (1.6l instead of the festy 1.3l) which gives about 20hp more power. some go with a b6t (mercury capri xr2 turbo motor) which boasts about 130hp and high 13 second quarter mile times in the VERY light festiva...

i went with a less used 1.8l escort gt BP motor/transmission swap which has about the same hp and a little more torque as the b6t but without the turbo. all these motors WILL bolt up to the transmission and are cheap and common to find under 500$...

as for the comment on them being smaller than a metro... they share roughly the same volume (metro is 3 inches longer but festiva is 6 inches taller) headroom is wonderful, legroom is plentiful for both front and backseat passengers (shockingly ive had 300lb friends in back praise the roomyness of the little car) and after driving one you will love it, maintenance is low and as long as you take care of it they WILL last almost forever...

check out, ive been a member of their forums for years and they will answer ANY questions on performance, maintenance and durability you have. festivas are crazy little cars that can have alot done to them cheaply (12 second car for under 2000$ anyone?) not only that but they have personality to boot... then again... you could just buy a toyota and go with the crowd on page 1 :loser:

01-06-2006, 12:49 AM
My Mom had one it has over 900,000 miles and still running. She bought it brand new. People told her the car wouldn't even last past 10,000 now look at it. Its had its typical high mileage car problems but nothing serious. She was some how able to get it to have 50 mpg. How we don't know it just did. Yes it is true its the worst car to be in accident with but they can take it. My Mom has driven that car real hard. It would jump hills easily past 50 mph. We took it down the backside of Mt. Lemmon. Anybody that lives in Tucson will know that going down the backside of that mountian is sucidal to the car with 4wd. The thing is still running. Currently my Aunt now owns the car. Top Speed of 120 can't beat that for a ecnocar. Once I get my current car fixed up I'm planning on buying the Festiva from my Aunt and doing a little engine modifications to it that would make this thing make people say "There is no way that car can go that fast".

02-02-2006, 09:59 PM
Cars are like apples...once in a while you get a bad one. Based on my experience with a '93 (bought new), they're very tough little cars. I sold mine with 210,000 miles (not km) and it ran perfectly. The reason I sold it is because without A/C, it's also a HOT little car to commute in when you live down South.

The crucial element with the Festiva, which I believe an earlier reader correctly described as a Maza 121, is GOOD MAINTENANCE. That includes timing belt changes at every 60,000 miles.

Another alias for this car is the Kia Pride. It is most definitely a Korean-built Mazda, wearing the Blue Oval, and '93 was the last year before Ford made the bad decision to opt for the Aspire. Very inferior in comparison, though essentially still a Kia Pride. Very few mechanical parts will inter-change.

On a '92 with that mileage, check the timing belt maintenance (change it if you don't know the history), check the lower control arms (grab the front wheels with the car on stands and try to shake them...wobbly is bad), check the tie rod ends simultaneously, listen for front bearing howl when you drive it, and check the clutch action...if it slips when hot, you need a new disc at least.

A little caveat for you about older's difficult to get factory parts after about 10 years (with the smaller Ford offspring anyway). The availability is planned that way and it makes older cars hard to maintain, because the aftermarket carries a very limited stock (a second reason why I sold mine).

If you just need transportation, and it has only minor problems, it's a keeper. Good luck with your decision. I can throw you a real challenge...find parts for an '89 Probe GT! They seem to gold-plate them and store them on Mars.

09-09-2006, 02:25 PM
crx will go 35-40mpg.

09-11-2006, 12:17 AM
crx will go 35-40mpg.
40 - 50 crx hf.

12-03-2006, 02:25 AM
i own a 93 festiva, bought it in march and been driving it daily to work and back have had 0 problems with it til the other day the timing belt jumped time but i put it back in time and it runs good, gets about 38mpg and 20bux fills the tank!
also extremely cheap on insurance

05-20-2007, 10:48 AM
Ford festivas are really good cars in fact its my favorite car. And yes it is a Mazda 121 but for now i just have a civic hatch

05-20-2007, 10:51 AM
oh and one more thing is that ford festivas get 40+ highway mpg and a little less in the city.

05-23-2007, 04:08 AM
What is the displacement of a Festiva engine?

06-08-2007, 09:42 PM
Festiva 1.3 liter engine, 64 HP in a 1750 pound car.

I owned my 93 Festiva for 11 years. 5-speed rated 38 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. Even in 5th high revs at highway speed. Lots of pep in the city up to 35 mph.

Very good on snow as long as ground clearance not an issue.

I grinned a lot driving it. It was fun and the big windows meant lots of visibility. Park anywhere, drive on sidewalks, everything worked right.

I would still own it except Ford mechanics here treated it like an illegitimate child. A year after Ford stopped supplying parts I sold it.

Problems: Front brake rotors are part of the hub. If you can't get the rotors turned while on the car and need to replace it's a lot of hours and ingenuity required.

Rear brakes have a lever that will rust up even if like me you use the parking brake every time you stop. Fortunately they are easy to work on.

Some local guy has turbo-charged his white Festiva -there are some insane Festiva project cars out there.

07-11-2007, 10:59 AM
81 cid

07-11-2007, 11:02 AM
I dont know why but the festiva is still my favorite car but i dont have one right now! but i do have plans for a turbo one but with out any swap i want to keep the 1.3 no one keeps that i like to stay with stock blocks.. my goal is 200+hp

01-09-2008, 04:05 AM
hey mate, i own a '96 festiva trio with a 5 speed manual. i paid $5000 australian for it with 105000 km's on the clock. it's a relatively good little car, cheep to run and easy to maintain. our petrol/gas is at 129.9 cents a litre and it only costs me aout $40 AUD ($35.4621 CAD) to keep it going for a week and i get about 400-500 km's to a tank. the only trouble i've found with it is that the cv boots wear out relativly fast, i'm on my 3rd set in about 18 months, but they only cost about $160 ($141.838 CAD) supplied and fitted to replace. that festiva for $800 CAD ($902.230 AUD) is a bargain. try your hardest and good luck.

06-20-2008, 07:10 PM
If you go to and slide down the left hand side of the opening page, you can look at the typical mileage reported by users, along with the EPA figures, and the 'updated' EPA figures.
My experience with Fords is limited, but I find them to be nicely reliable - if you do some real maintenance (also known as pre-emptive repair). I dont consider just doing oil changes is enough, once a car passes its first 100,000 miles. I try to figure out what will wear out or quit running next, and replace it while its still doing well. I much prefer doing the work in my driveway, to having to tow the car or get it towed someplace for work.
We have a 92 Escort with auto tranny that gets us 37.8 mpg on the highway. I rebuilt its engine and transmission, along with doing brake work. The work was easy. The next thing I will probably replace is the fuel pump and filter; just because they have over 200,000 miles on them now. We drive into places in Mexico where I wouldnt want to break down - (auto parts in Mexico cost a good bit more than they would in the U.S., as does getting your car towed anywhere). So I also carry an extra PCM and igniter along with my tools.

10-29-2010, 03:24 AM
Although it is a good car the space is the issue.

If you want it for personal use then it will be good, but long drive won't be possible.

Also the legroom for a heighted person will be headache.

If you want to go camping alone then remove back seat and make some place for your luggage.

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