The Fiesta ST comes at a very mainstream price, yet on a bang-for-your-buck basis it’s one of the most entertaining and accomplished sporting cars on the market.
Base price: $34,990.
Powertrain and performance:
· 1.6-litre turbo petrol four
· 134kW/240Nm, 6-speed manual
· Combined economy 5.9 litres per 100km
· 0-100km/h 6.9 seconds
· 3975mm long
· 1453mm high
· Kerb weight 1163kg
· Luggage capacity 276-960 litres
· Fuel tank 42 litres
· 17-inch wheels on 205/40 tyres
We like: Pretty much everything.
We don’t like: Cheap cabin trim, five-door option would be nice.
How it rates: 10/10 (not perfect but very close for the price).
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
This has been the year of the hot hatch. In 2012 we’ve seen new pocket rockets from Ford, Peugeot and Volkswagen – all paying homage to their respective high-performance heritages, but also all reinterpreting the hot-hatch genre for the 21st century.
The Ford Fiesta ST is arguably the one that comes closest to the spirit of the hot-hatch heyday. Actually, there’s nothing old-fashioned about it – the ST is powered by Ford’s latest EcoBoost engine technology – but the little Ford has an old-school attitude in way it puts sheer entertainment above comfort and refinement.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
If you’ve arrived here directly from the previous sentence, you’ll know the ST is an absolute blast to drive. This is not surprising given that the larger Focus ST is such a driver-oriented machine, but the Fiesta is an even cheekier and more chuckable car.
The 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine strikes a great balance between ease-of-use and outright entertainment. It has linear performance when required, but there’s a huge punch available when you’re pressing in. And then a bit more when the powerplant goes into ‘overboost’ mode.
No complicated dual-clutch gearbox technology for the ST and certainly no automatic option. It’s got a slick six-speed manual with three pedals and it’s a joy to use.
Light weight and a lot of power give the ST a nimble attitude around corners. A torque vectoring system, which modulates the amount of power fed to each front wheel, prevents the high output of the engine from overwhelming the available traction. It works seamlessly and effectively.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
For a true enthusiast, nothing else but the Fiesta ST’s performance and chassis verve will matter. But there are some limitations in the base car.
The Fiesta is brilliantly designed inside but certainly a car built down to a price, so the quality of materials in the cabin is nothing special. The touchpoints are right though, with a nicely shaped steering wheel and gearlever, as well as a fantastic set of Recaro seats.
The Fiesta ST is of course a three-door model for our market – an ideal way for Ford to set it apart from the rest of the range (all other Fiesta models are five-door in New Zealand) but perhaps not the ideal choice for family buyers.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
You’d be mad not to. The Fiesta ST comes at a very mainstream price, yet on a bang-for-your-buck basis it’s one of the most entertaining and accomplished sporting cars on the market. Absolutely brilliant.
Air conditioning: Manual
Audio: CD, iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/no
Blind spot warning: No
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Gas discharge headlights: No
Head-up display: No
Heated/ventilated seats: No
Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
Lane guidance: No
Leather upholstery: No
Parking radar: Rear
Power boot or tailgate: No
Power seat adjustment/memory: No
Remote audio controls: No
Satellite navigation: No
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Self-parking technology: No
Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Trip computer: Yes
Find a Ford Fiesta ST HERE