Shed of the Week | Ford Fiesta Zetec S

Less can certainly be more, especially when it comes to Shed-spec fast Fiestas

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 10 June 2022 / Loading comments

It’s always a nice moment when a car makes its debut in Shed of the Week, so let’s say a big good evening, hello and welcome to the first Fiesta Zetec S we’ve had on here.

We have had a couple of Fiesta STs in the past. In April 2019 there was a 2007 ST150 that, at the time, had done 110,000 miles. As far as we know that’s still pounding about the place, its mileage having gone up by only 6k or in the two and a bit years elapsing between Shed’s writeup and its last MOT in August 2021.

A few months after that ST150, in October 2019, Shed found another one, this time a very sharp looking ’05 specimen in retina-burning red. Again the MOT history suggests that that one is still going strong, albeit probably on the track day circuits of Blighty rather than the public roads as last October’s MOT tester couldn’t help noticing that the back seat was missing.

Both of those ST150s had the 150hp 2.0 Duratec engine. The September ’05 registered gen-five 2005 Zetec S we’ve got here (as opposed to the 5.5 which came out in November 2005) had the revvy Duratec 1.6, as used to fine effect in the Focus, StreetKa and a few other small Fords. It had 100hp, or 98 if you were being honest, plus 107lb ft of torque, none of which was enough to get it into single figures for the 0-62 run but it was a really willing little unit and, as one of the better known magazines said at the time, there’s more to life than speed.

Indeed, for most if not all of the contemporary UK mags, the agility of the £11,595 Zetec S’s handling – stiffer springs than the standard Fiesta, 10mm lower ride height, and no stability or traction controls needed other than your right foot – plus the slickness of the ST-sourced gearchange (shorter ratios and lever throw) made this the sweet spot of the Fiesta range. Naturally it wasn’t as quick as the ST, but nor was it quite as uncouth as the 2.0 when it was revved. If you were a youth looking for your first driving buzz there was a lot to be said for the fact that S thrills came along at a lower speed. On top of that, it was a lot cheaper to insure than the ST, group 6 or 7 back then being equivalent to 16 today, maybe. Shed has no idea about these things. Along with the 43mpg fuel consumption and £220 a year tax, that means the gen-five Zetec S is still a good choice for the fiscally challenged young colt of 2022.

There’s no point in skirting around the main issue with our Shed, namely the colour of the wheels. They’ll be perfect if you’re a Man Citeh fan but the rest of us might want to consider our rattlecan options. Are these part of the Street Pack that was available for these cars, does anyone know? Shed is just wondering because he knows that privacy glass was part of that pack and this car has that. Hmm. Over to you, Ford nerds.

The only blot on our shed’s MOT history is a spot of unobtrusive damage to the windscreen, which it seems to have had since 2013. Other than that, you’re good to go. There’s even a Haynes manual in the passenger door bin to help you get around some if not all of the common problems with this car, which on a 2005 model like this might include (but not necessarily be restricted to) non-spec fuel pipes, dodgy water pumps, malfunctioning sound systems and damp patches inside, usually caused by blocked pollen filters.

Generally speaking, though, they have a good reputation for reliability, so not only were these sporty Fiestas brilliant to drive, it turns out that they stick around pretty well too, even when they’re coming up for their 18th birthday.

On that subject, sort of, in a rare moment of mental clarity Shed thought he remembered Ford doing a 1.6 TDCi diesel version of this S, with an electro-hydraulic steering rack instead of the petrol car’s regular hydraulic setup. Sure enough, after a bit of a rummage around in his carefully curated pile of soggy cardboard storage boxes he found a pic of the official Ford diesel 1.6 press car from back in the day, reg no EO54 OTL. And wouldn’t you know it, even that is still trundling around as we speak. Or at least it was in November ’21, by which point it had done 117,000 miles with nothing other than consumables cropping up in its MOT history. That’s quite an achievement for a press vehicle, most of which lead the sort of punishing life that makes Shed pleased that he isn’t a Ford Fiesta.

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