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Ford Fiesta ST review – the junior hot hatch king?

Dan Prosser
20 Nov 2017
Verdict:

The ST has been evo’s favourite junior hatch, hopefully the new one will be just as fun.

Evo Rating: 
For 
Great value, deeply involving chassis
Against 
Interior is showing its age
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The Ford Fiesta ST isn’t just the best car in its class, it also ranks among the very best small hot hatches of all time. It combines a sparkling chassis with a lively, brawny turbocharged engine and a slick manual gearshift. The cabin might be a little too fussy in its details for some, but the aggressive exterior styling hits all the right notes for a small hot hatch.

The limited edition Fiesta ST200 is more powerful than the standard car and gets shorter gear ratios, too. Of the 1000 units that will be built 400 are for the UK. The Storm Grey paint is unique to the ST200 and there are some minor tweaks inside the cabin, too, including bespoke seat trim and grey stripes on the seat belts. As it improves on the already fantastic standard car, you can consider the ST200 a full evo five-star car.

Despite its brilliance, the current ST will soon be replaced by a new model based on the latest Fiesta. The 2017 Fiesta ST will be powered by a new 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine that will give the new car 18bhp more power than the most basic current ST. The extra power will help the new car accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.7sec, 0.2sec quicker.

As well as the improved performance the new car will be a more configurable car. Different modes will allow the driver to change the weight of the steering, increase the engine noise in the cabin and select between three different traction control settings (on, track and full off).

> Find out all about the 2017 Ford Fiesta here

Ford Fiesta ST in detail

> Performance and 0-60 time - The Fiesta ST clocks a 6.9 second 0-62mph time and tops out at 139mph. Not the quickest in its class but it has the pace to keep up with its rivals. The ST200 is a touch quicker. Read all about the Fiesta ST's performance here

> Engine and gearbox - The engine is a real strong point for the ST. It has character, revving all the way to the redline with real strength. Read all about the Fiesta ST's engine and gearbox here

> Ride and Handling – The Fiesta ST’s chassis is incredibly well balanced and hugely engaging, making the car one of the most enjoyable on sale at this price. Read all about the Fiesta ST's ride and handling here

> MPG and running costs - Ford claims 47.9mpg, and even real-world figures are decent - evo's long-term ST averaged over 38mpg. The ST's engine is among the more fuel efficient in this category. Read all about the Fiesta ST's MPG and running costs here

> Interior and tech - The Mk7 Fiesta is now six years old and the cabin is beginning to show its age, with a fussy design and a poor navigation system. Great seats, though. Read about the Fiesta ST's interior and tech here

> Design - Fiesta's styling subtly enlivened with ST-specific body kit and wheels. The ST200 is barely altered, but still looks sharp. Read about the Fiesta ST's design here

Prices, specs and rivals

The seventh generation Ford Fiesta ST has gone off sale with the new model due in early 2018. However, delivery mileage ex-demonstrators and end of the line examples are still knocking about in the Ford dealership network priced reasonably. The runout ST200 edition carries a small premium over the ST-3 model which hovers around £18k. In any case, the Ford Fiesta ST is cheaper than its contemporaries no matter the trim-level, as long as you can find one. For reference, the French pair of the Peugeot by Peugeot Sport and Renault Sport Clio 200 are priced from £22k and £20k respectively.

The ST has reigned supreme in the junior hot hatch segment, not only offering a quality driving experience but generous kit levels: cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers as well as Ford SYNC with satellite navigation are standard on the ST200 and ST3 models. Useful too is the choice between the three-door and more practical five-door bodystyle.That said, the interior is on the tacky side compared to rivals so the new model’s interior, based on the standard Mk 8 Fiesta, will bring a much needed refresh.

> Read our review of the Peugeot 208 GTi and GTi by Peugeot Sport

To drive though the Ford Fiesta ST is second to none, the Renault Sport Clio 200 lacks the polish of its revered predecessors (the was a step back in the right direction), while the Corsa VXR exceeded expectation, but it still it couldn't match the ST’s composed chassis. Peugeot's 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport proved the greatest adversary, showing more capable on track, but ultimately losing out on the road.

Competing on size rather than price the and both merit consideration as plausible rivals. Their interior quality reflects their premium price, relative to the segment, but both offer individual and enjoyable driving experiences, too. The S1 may lack the tactility of the ST but inspires confidence with its four-wheel drive system that also permits impressive performance. The Cooper S handles with agility of previous models, although it fails to involve you as much, perhaps a product of pandering to the pricer end of the market.

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