Few hot hatches match the Ford Fiesta ST for fun. This latest iteration, launched in 2018, refines the juvenile thrills of the model’s heralded predecessor and gains a heightened level of performance, not to mention a significant improvement in fuel efficiency, interior quality and comfort.
Under the bonnet, a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is your only option. It is fantastic, mind you. With three cylinders and the ability to run on only two when full power isn’t a priority, it’s wonderfully economical, officially achieving a combined 40.4mpg.
More important, power is plentiful. The Fiesta ST has 197bhp on tap, which is sent to the front wheels via a joyfully slick six-speed manual gearbox. There is no automatic available. The ST will do 0-60mph in 6.5sec and go on to a top speed of 144mph.
Straight-line performance aside, how does it handle? Well, when the road or track gets twisty, this pocket rocket comes into its prime. The best way to describe it is quick and balanced. The steering, although fairly light, is very direct. Grip is strong and the car easily rotates around you, so it’s very playful, too. All this is further improved on by the ST Performance Pack.
We recommend finding an example with this fitted because, among other performance-enhancing goodies, it adds a limited-slip differential, helping the car to really cling onto the road and pull you out of corners at impressive speeds. With ST-3 models, it comes as standard from new.However, with other trims – the ST-1 (discontinued in 2019) and ST-2 (still present) – the ST Performance Pack is an optional extra.
Speaking of spec, let’s talk equipment. At no extra cost from new, STs get 17in alloy wheels, air conditioning, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, keyless start and cruise control. You’ll want to consider at least stepping up to ST-2, though, because that gets you an upgraded sound system, plus climate control and rear privacy glass. ST-3 adds 18in alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, power-folding door mirrors, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and keyless entry.