I recently sampled the best Fiesta on sale, the ST200, and was quickly reminded how high the bar has been set in the world of hot hatchery. Sure, the ST200 is nearly £4000 dearer than the Cupra, but it’s in another league as a driver’s car.
The nicely weighted steering, the revvier engine, the fact that you can switch off the stability control system completely, the way the ST200 loves to oversteer and its wonderful agility on the limit… it’s what hot hatches are all about. So there you have it. I’ve stepped over the fence and the grass is greener… well, not exactly, because I do still get the Cupra.
The Fiesta’s busy chassis set-up does hamper ride quality, so speed humps have to be taken with some care. The softer Seat is much more comfortable through town and its less intrusive engine note is welcome on early-morning starts. The Ibiza is also more frugal and visibility is better both to the front and rear.
The ST seems to attract a lot of attention from youths driving souped-up 1.2s, too, whereas the Cupra just blends in. So the Seat can catch more people by surprise, as you unleash all 236lb ft to keep up with more lairy-looking machinery.
And let us not forget that our Cupra Black’s list price is more comparable with the regular Fiesta ST-2’s, which doesn’t come with the ST200’s extra power and is 0.2sec slower to 62mph than the Cupra (which needs 6.7sec).
The ST200 is the class leader, but compared with the regular ST, I genuinely believe the Cupra is a strong alternative. Those who prioritise subtlety and usability over outright performance will most likely agree.