Ford Festiva First Impressions Update: Heat Works!

Rallydarkstrike is the winner! The heat works, it’s just extra quirky!

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Original:

I’ve been driving the Festiva to and from work this week. Part of it is to see if there are any issues hidden from the naked eye, part of it is to teach myself how to drive a manual car.

I went into it treating the trans like a manual motorcycle trans, but that doesn’t lead to smooth shifts. Thankfully I’m a quick learner! Once I mastered smooth shifting and clutch control, I moved to hill starts. Back in Driver’s Ed (high school) we were taught that the parking brake could be used as a nice tool to start you on a hill. Unfortunately for me, the second I tried my parking brake the cable snapped. The lever went limp and it resulted in an amusing rollback. Thankfully nothing was behind me.

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No big deal. I just do what I do when I’m too lazy to use the back brake on a motorcycle on a hill, stop myself from falling back by being quick with the clutch and throttle.

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First gear is awesome in this little thing. It’ll go down to like 2mph without lugging or stalling. Might as well be a crawl gear!

I also had my first embarrassing stall this morning. A parking space just opened up behind me and I shoved it into Reverse to grab it. Only Reverse was actually fourth...I stalled out as a laughing programmer took the space.

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Downside? The T shifter looks awesome but I have to stab myself in the leg to get into second or first gear. Gonna change this out for a pool ball or other round object ASAP. Or...

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HMMMMM...

The radio is surprisingly decent. Can hear the stations nice and clear and all four speakers work very very well, unlike the Ranger! Unfortunately this headunit doesn’t have an AUX jack. Sads. I hate FM transmitters so I may just get a cheap headunit with an AUX jack.

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The heater is not decent. In fact, it doesn’t work at all!

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The blower blows strong and all of these settings work. It just blows cold. I let the car sit for a solid hour and I also drove around the neighbourhood. Thankfully the car does not overheat but it also confirms the heater doesn’t work. Maybe the core was bypassed? I’ll do some minimal troubleshooting and worst case get an electric heater. Lady at work recommended one that she said worked better than the actual heater in her car.

Speaking of vitals...

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This bad boy has 282k on the clock and doesn’t even have a check engine light. The Ranger couldn’t even do 225k without shining its little light! I’ve joined a Festiva forum and immediately noticed how high mileage is worn like badges of honor. A surprising amount of these things are still putt putting around in the high 300ks 400s, and even 500s.

This car has manual steering like the smart does, but the steering is much harder for my weak noodles to turn despite the much bigger wheel and smaller rubber bands. Huh.

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Visibility is AMAZING. This car doesn’t have a passenger mirror (came from the factory like that) which does throw me off every time I look to the right expecting one to be there, but the car has virtually no blind spots.

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The interior is pretty rough...actually, the whole car is pretty rough. And yet, no rust holes in the floorpan. I estimate the car is two winters from becoming a David Tracy candidate. Ignore the pillow. I have a short torso so I use a pillow in every car.

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It also has motorized seatbelts. These don’t seem very safe (the left one appears to also be held together with zip ties, which wtf) but I do admit that it’s super cool to see them in action. lol

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I’m definitely keeping the wing, it actually lights up!

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My verdict thus far? This car is INFINITELY more fun to drive than my Ranger was. No slushbox, an experience that involves every sense, and the car should be a little riot once I start shaving weight out of it. I can’t imagine how fun these were when they were new!

I’ve always wanted a Yugo type car and this is hitting the spot so so well.

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