Ford Fiesta ST – What a Rush
The Ford Fiesta has become Britains best selling car of all time. For over a decade the Fiesta as topped the charts, easily outselling its rivals. So far, in 2019, it is leading the race again to be the UK's most popular and best selling car.
The new generation Fiesta ST comes with a wealth of upgrades compared to the standard Fiesta. Given the stiff competition it faces from the likes of VW, Renault and Mini with their hot super mini's, Ford has reacted well. The performance and handling of the ST have always been something of a marvel, and the new model is no different.
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With a new generation, ST comes a new Engine
Gone is the old 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine. In comes a brand new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine featuring cylinder deactivation. 'Cylinder deactivation' is a new system which many manufacturers are using to help achieve better economy. In the Fiesta, this means one of the three cylinders can shut down when you are gently cruising along, to help increase the MPG. Ford says that the car could achieve 47mpg. If you are not too exuberant, averaging over 40mpg should be easy.
The new engine develops 200hp and an impressive 290Nm of torque. The ST will get from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 144mph. The new Fiesta ST is quicker than its predecessor, with power available throughout the gear range.
The Ford ST comes with a six-speed, manual transmission with no option to change. It is not the smoothest gearbox; however, the gear ratios have been set perfectly to allow top performance.
The sport exhaust crackles and pops just like a rally car. The noise in the cabin is enhanced to make it sound like a bigger turbocharged V8. Bringing out the big kid we all have hidden inside.
The ST comes with three driving settings, Normal, Sport and Track. Normal gives a soft, gentle and smooth handling ride. Changing to Sport mode provides more response to the accelerator, makes the steering a little heavier and adds more growl to the exhaust. Switching up to full Track mode removes traction control and eases the stability just enough to give the driver maximum control and joyful pleasure.
The ST sits on 17 or 18-inch wheels depending on trim or options chosen. Wheels are fitted with bespoke Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
Handling and Interior
Fiesta ST's have always had, sharp and crisp cornering ability. The new model has lost not of this. It is agile and oozes confidence, no matter how twisty the road may be. Utilising Ford's excellent rear suspension design allows for a softer, more comfortable ride. With that being said, the VW Polo GTI is possibly the most comfortable hot supermini currently on the market.
An optional Performance Pack is available for £850. For this you get extras like; launch control, Quaife limited-slip differential (LSD) and a 'shift-up' light on the dashboard. The performance pack is well worth the extra money, as not only will it enhance the driving experience; it will increase the sell on price at a later date.
Ford has continued to make the Fiesta ST available in both three and five-door options. You get a choice of three trim levels: ST, ST-2, ST-3. All come with the same engine and performance figures. With the ST-1 you do not get Sat-Nav as standard, but it's available as an optional extra. The ST-2 comes with the delightful Bang & Olufsen stereo system as standard, but as an optional extra in the other models.
Inside the Ford Fiesta ST, you find the new 8-inch SYNC3 infotainment touchscreen which is clear and bright. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, along with Bluetooth, are standard.
There is a leather flat bottomed sports steering wheel with ST badge. The steering wheel is fully adjustable to suit all drivers. Figure-hugging Recaro seats look very sporty, although not the most comfortable on long journeys. There is plenty of blue stitching and ST badges around the cabin to give the ST feel. Room in the back is good with plenty of headroom. Set up of the steering wheel and pedals in the Fiesta is spot on. In the boot, you get 292 litres, the same as in the standard model Fiesta, extendable to 1093 litres.
The Ford Fiesta achieved the highest five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating when tested in 2017.
All Ford Fiesta ST's get six airbags and Ford's ' NCAP Pack', including; a speed limiter, automatic headlights, lane assist and a rear seatbelt indicator. If you opt for the ST-3, you also get automatic high beam headlights, traffic sign recognition and a driver fatigue system.
Top Gear Magazine voted the Ford Fiesta ST its 'Car of the Year 2018' and also 'Hot Hatch of the year 2018'. It is proving that great cars do not need to be ultra-expensive and super powerful. This little hatchback would give a lot of expensive sports cars a run for their money, especially around bends. The power to weight and handling of this car are so in tune it makes you want to go faster.
There is very little which could be done to improve on the handling and performance of this excellent hot hatch. One thing Ford could look to change is in the styling of the ST range. The rear-end is very bland and unassuming. Given a more aggressive, sporty rear would certainly peak everyone's attention. Ford has again produced a car which any petrol head would love to drive. It is fun, exciting and if you go around a track and you won't want to leave!