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The UK's most popular hatchback gets the hot ‘ST’ treatment, and is all the better for it. Little else can match it for the money

We know that the new Ford Fiesta ST is good. The pertinent question to address here is: exactly how good is it?

Has Ford promoted its hot Fiesta to a status worthy of as many superlatives as cars such as the original Focus RS and the Puma Racing? Has it eclipsed every prevailing dynamic standard of a dynasty of Renaultsport Clios

It's first turbocharged Fiesta flagship since the RS Turbo

Is it possible that Ford has done all that and still left room for a Fiesta RS? Nothing provides illuminating answers quite like a comprehensive Autocar road test.

Ford's hot-hatch recipe certainly looks to have a lot of the right ingredients. Under the Fiesta's bonnet sits a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, which drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

Satisfyingly, the box-ticking doesn't end there. The Fiesta ST also receives upgraded suspension and steering, a torque vectoring system that emulates a limited-slip differential, a three-stage traction control system and myriad cosmetic tweaks.

Two very exciting and very commendable hot hatchbacks – the Peugeot 208 GTI and Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo – already sit subordinate to this fast Ford after our group test. That test was carried out on the country roads of south Wales, mind you – roads that this Ford three-door lit up with consummate ease.

If this new Ford Fiesta ST emerges with as much unequivocal credit after our full complement of tests – not to mention a whole lot more road driving and much debate – the Blue Oval could have a cult smash hit on its hands.

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