Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,300*

1991 Ford Festiva GL

1990 Ford Festiva L

1991 Ford Festiva GL

1993 Ford Festiva GL

1993 Ford Festiva GL

  • Fuel economy
  • Maneuverability
  • Visibility
  • Acceleration
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Noise
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Manual steering effort

Considering its modest price, this unrefined minicar isn’t a bad buy. However, we would recommend that you spend a few more dollars and get a more substantial automobile, such as a Ford Escort or Chevrolet Cavalier.


Introduced for 1988, this diminutive Korean-built front-drive hatchback weighs just over 1700 pounds. Three trim levels were offered: L, L Plus, and LX.The Festiva’s 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine switched from carburetion to fuel injection in 1989-90. For ’90, a 5-speed manual transmission was standard and a 3-speed automatic optional. Festivas got a fresh grille and taillamps for 1990, and motorized front shoulder belts replaced manual belts. Rear shoulder belts became standard.

Yearly Updates

1991 Festiva
A streamlined lineup retained the Festiva L but deleted the L Plus and LX models, combining them into a new GL trim level.
1992 Festiva
Power steering disappeared as an option after ’91, so all subsequent Festivas have manual steering. The fancier GL gained aluminum wheels and an available Sport Option package.
1993 Festiva
Unchanged for their final season, Festivas left the Ford lineup after 1993, replaced by a Ford Aspire.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Festivas had only a single engine through their entire lifespan: a 1.3-liter, overhead-cam 4-cylinder, producing 63 horsepower. A 5-speed manual gearbox was standard; 3-speed automatic transmission optional.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.3/81
Engine HP 63
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 73
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic

Road Test

Acceleration is no more than passable with the 1.3-liter engine and manual transmission. With automatic, or with more than one occupant aboard, a Festiva feels even more timid. The engine produces little power at low speeds, and gets noisy above about 4000 rpm, thrashing rather raucously. Gas mileage is exceptional, with 30-plus mpg on average.

Don’t be surprised if the Festiva’s body tilts precariously, as it skitters around corners on its 12-inch tires. Expect quite a bit of body roll through turns as well as irritating understeer. Few cars are easier to parallel-park than a Festiva. Surprisingly supple, the Festiva’s ride is actually rather comfortable, but the short wheelbase keeps it from ever becoming exceptional. Noise levels tend to be high, and road and engine sounds combine to produce a loud din at freeway speeds.

Passenger and cargo room are limited, though the upright cabin provides surprisingly good head space. Even leg room ranks as adequate. Thin roof pillars, plenty of glass, and a short nose translate to great outward visibility. Interior furnishings are sparse. Even with the rear seatback folded, in fact, storage space is mediocre. Radio and climate controls are within arm’s reach.


Model Tested: 1993 Ford Festiva

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 2
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 1


Controls/Materials - 3
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 3

Total: 30


2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
90.2 140.5 63.2 55.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
26.5 10.0 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 37.4 40.6 35.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Festiva 2-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 106
Injury 148
Theft 35

Trouble Spots

Engine stalling
Description: The 25-amp main fuse may repeatedly blow because it cannot handle the higher charging rate. Ford approves installing a 35-amp fuse in its place. (1990-92)
Exhaust system
Description: Loose heat shields over the muffler and catalytic converter cause a rattling or buzzing noise. (1990-93)
Spark plugs
Description: The spark plugs tend to break during removal. (1990-93)
Description: The key buzzer and dome light may stay on because the wiring for the passive restraints gets chaffed under the back seat and shorts out. (1992-93)

Recall History

Description: Fasten seatbelts and other warning lights on some cars may not work.
Description: Front seatbelt release button can break and pieces can fall inside, causing improper operation.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.