I have a 1993 Ford Festiva L Model, 1.3L engine, 5 spd....all with less than 60,000 original miles on it. My Festiva is all original except for the tires and some new parts here and there for routine maintenance. I keep the air pressure in my original size tires at max level and the car rides really smooth. Handling is pretty good, and surprisingly it performs well in higher gears despite the small engine size. I love the simplicity of the car. Considering what transportation costs nowadays I strongly believe the reason they stopped selling this little gem in the US was because it would have seriously injured the auto industry for sales of new cars. Everyone would have eventually bought one for cheap (I think new they were only around $5,000-6,000 USD) and since they are reliable and built well there would be millions of survivor cars on the road today. As everyone knows, it's a Mazda 121 which was sold all over the World, mostly in emerging markets. The Festiva for the US market was assembled by Kia with all the Mazda parts coming from Japan, and has a Ford badge on it. I love Fords. I love Mazda, and I love Kia, so this can't get any better in my opinion. My Festiva is 23 years old as of my review and the paint is still like new. The interior cloth seats have started to disintegrate from the sun, but all the plastics have held up well. I put a couple seat covers on the front seats and it's like new again. Since I've owned the car I have replaced a few inexpensive parts, and the front windshield. The factory air conditioner works great in the Arizona summer but can cause power loss and my engine temperature to rise a bit. The engine is bulletproof and if you look online for videos there are people who video document their Festiva's turning over some serious mileage (one video I saw showed a Festiva with 500,000 miles). It is really fun to drive and I love taking mine on occasional long scenic drives into the mountains to stretch it's legs. The car gets a lot of attention wherever I take it, and someone always asks where they can get one. Parts are easy to find online (eBay, etc).
UPDATE: I sold my Festiva for $3,000. The car was 24 years old. I listed it online and it sold in less than 24-hours. The lady that bought said she owned one back in the 1990s and always wished she still had it. Yes, the Festiva is popular, especially among people who previously owned one and are familiar with the utility and reliability.
I have owned three,my brother three and brother in-law fixes them for resale. We all love them! To many miles on all of them never saw one die! Best combo fuel injection paired with a five speed manual.
I have 323,000 miles on mine. I didn't change the fan belt till after 10 years. I haven't changed the fuel filter or plug wires yet! Just a great little car for what it is. Take the back seat out and you can haul two mountain bikes and some camping gear in it.
Have know about these cars for a long time. Motor is like a rock, flawless. manual transmission, flawless. I get 41-47 mpg depending on how hard I run it. I agree with the window issue. Have only replaced the alternator and battery. Tires are very hard to find. I am 6"2" tall and I am very comfortable. Really enjoy driving it as my daily driver. I will keep it until the day it dies.
You're not gonna spend that much on one and will be surprised. You can buy one as a spoof then soon realize it's your baby. I wanted one just for novelty but got caught up in festiva fever. This car has never left me stranded and only required a new alternator and battery. Farthest I have traveled in it in one day was about 300 miles when i first got it and true to what others have said "I no longer trust this car on long trips." I don't know why I don't, but i just don't. These cars do die sort of. I have seen one not work with 256,000 due to bad ignition switch. I have seen one with 125,000 that was in an accident, but engine was pulled to put in one with over 300,000 that barely began to smoke
Gas mileage, deceptively large interior, fun to drive.
Bring it back so i can get a new one. Keep the engine they last forever.