13 May 2004

Ford has picked the British Motor Show to introduce the third and final entrant in its hot Fiesta family – the Fiesta Zetec-S. It will become the Blue Oval’s first diesel hot hatch.

Sitting below the ST and RS performance models, the Zetec-S is designed to be the most affordable of the small hatch’s sporting breed. In a return to the strategy that gave us the last Fiesta Zetec-S in 1999, the new model will mix at-the-wheel thrills with reasonable running costs and an attractive forecourt price.

Back in ’99, Ford simply squeezed in a 1600cc engine borrowed from the Focus – a unit that is already available in today’s Fiesta in standard Zetec trim. But this time round there is a choice of either a 98bhp 1.6 Duratec petrol or a 1.6 Duratorq TDCi diesel, pumping out 88bhp and close to 150lb ft of torque.

Although prices are as yet unconfirmed, a Ford spokesman hinted that, when they go on sale in December, the entry level warm hatches would cost between £12 and £13k – just as the car’s namesake did five years ago. That premium over the standard Zetec buys styling tweaks, with ST-style 16in alloy wheels and spoiler, as well as that car’s sports-tuned suspension.

However, that means that the 150bhp ST (right) will cost more than expected at around £14k, while the range-topping 200bhp RS would come in at £16,000.

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