From £18,9959
Ford Fiesta ST gets new suspension tune and very orange paint for a UK-only Performance Edition limited run

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta ST 2018 road test review hero front

Can Ford reclaim the hot hatchback crown with a Fiesta ST that’s missing a cylinder - or have rivals like the VW Polo GTI regained ground?

Matt Prior
16 August 2019
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition 2019 UK

What is it?

Ford’s fab small hot hatchback has been given no more power in this limited-run Fiesta ST Performance Edition, but there are suspension tweaks and, oh my, is it ever orange.

There’ll only be 600 of these UK-specific versions of the ST, which are all based on the ST-3 specification, though they have the otherwise-optional Performance Pack thrown in as standard too. That means you get the limited-slip differential, which is the important bit from that pack.

The Performance Edition, then, takes the ST-3 with Performance Pack (keep up) and adds flow-formed 18in alloy wheels which are said to be 7kg lighter, throws on standard orange paint and, most significantly, replaces the standard springs and dampers with a new set of adjustable coilovers that drop the front and rear ride height by 10mm and 15mm respectively. The powertrain is left alone; a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol making 197bhp and driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, with no auto option. 

At £26,495, the Performance Edition adds £3120 to a regular ST-3 with Performance Pack.

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What's it like?

That price increase is rather a lot on a car that’s quite brilliant even if you’ve only spent £22,000 on it. 

But the new suspension does make a difference. Ford says it has been developed at the Nürburgring – sigh, where else? – but our tests around some of the crummier and empty roads in the West Midlands are a more realistic alternative. 

And it’s good. I mean, really good. One of the few things that people grumble about Fiesta STs is the comfort, or lack thereof, but I think the Performance Edition is both more comfortable and better tied-down. There are 12 bump and 16 rebound settings and our test car was set somewhere in the middle of both, and body control was superb and the ride firm-but-controlled, in that Ford way it manages so well.

I also wonder if the steering was improved. Has been a while since I last drove an ST so I wouldn’t like to say for sure, but here it’s responsive, quick and accurate, but you can feel it being tugged here and there as the differential hooks up. Not in a harsh way, like the Mk1 Focus RS, which would pull the wheel from your hands, but just a subtle reminder that it’s doing things.

That said, it was really wet when I drove the car, so there was more understeer and wheel slip than usual, so you could feel the tyres scrabbling much more than in the dry. Maybe that’s why the diff was doing more and the steering telling me about it more. But the Fiesta’s inherent balance and agility was still there to be felt, I think. Fords in general, and performance Fords in particular, feel like they’re rotating around their gearstick when you turn – a really central, agile feel and, in the right conditions, they tuck in eagerly, lift a rear wheel and it feels like both ends, not just the front wheels, are helping to corner. In the wet you don’t get the whole experience, but hints are there.

The rest of the ST package is as good as usual, too. It feels well built, the engine’s fine, gearshift terrific, and pedal weights all ‘right’. If there’s a better sorted fast supermini of the moment, we haven’t driven it.

Should I buy one?

This car is routinely our favourite hot hatchback, almost regardless of price and even without these modifications. Which is where the price comes into it, and the law of diminishing returns. 

I guess there’s appeal to having the authentic real deal, especially as it comes with unique paint and wheels and in limited numbers, but if it were my hard-earned, I might be inclined to make do with the terrific standard car, or have a bit of a play with some aftermarket dampers and springs as my own project. But don’t let that take anything away from what is the best small hot hatch, made better.

Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition specification

Where Warwickshire Price £26,495 On sale Now Engine 3 cyls in line, 1498cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 197bhp at 6000rpm Torque 214lb ft at 1450rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1262kg Top speed 144mph 0-62mph 6.5sec Fuel economy 40.4mpg CO2 136g/km Rivals Mini Cooper S, Renault Clio RS Trophy  

Join the debate

Comments
13

16 August 2019

 For the money, it’s not bad.....

Peter Cavellini.

17 August 2019

Ford's Designers need to work a little harder: even on 18" wheels this looks totally under-wheeled. Possibly the paint job makes it look like a lard-ass too.

17 August 2019

A two year old orange one passed me the other day, leaving a trail of black smoke and the front and sides of the car were clean and the back was covered in black sludge .An expensive replacement engine required no doubt.Hope that is a one off.

18 August 2019

[quote=Ski Kid]

A two year old orange one passed me the other day, leaving a trail of black smoke and the front and sides of the car were clean and the back was covered in black sludge .An expensive replacement engine required no doubt.Hope that is a one off.

[/quote

couldn’t have been an rs because they were not produced in orange, unless it been through a paint job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 August 2019

It is great that ford seem to be about the only ones who make a 3door car anymore.

Anyway, I think I'd just buy a standard car. Seems a lot better value. Unless you plan on keeping it for years and year in perfect condition, the you'd probably be better to just getting the base car and have a lot of fun in it

Dear Autocar website designers,

I understand your need to bring revenue in with advertising. However, can you do it in a way that makes your site usable please?

Thanks

19 August 2019

Firmly believe this is a great car, and in 'base' spec a bargain? Agree with the article why spend the extra over a base vehicle, no difference in daily driving, only detectable (maybe) on track days. Kudos to Ford for still building these in an age when I am sure this will be outsold by its SUV/CUV/Crossover thingy 10 fold. Ford does not do much right these days, but fast Fiesta's and Focus's they do. 

And Kudos to Autocar, yes this forum allows spammers, and is antiquated, and not user friendly at all, but at least they still offer it! EVO, Car magazine and nearly all the US online car magazine websites have ditched such forums for various liability reasons. Enjoy it while it lasts, I am convinced regrettably that the lack of attention to current obvious problems such as spamming is an indication this forum is not long for this world. Glad to see they are migrating to the 'YouTube' world but fear for this medium and Autocar as a publication.

 

19 August 2019
Boris9119 wrote:

Firmly believe this is a great car, and in 'base' spec a bargain? Agree with the article why spend the extra over a base vehicle, no difference in daily driving, only detectable (maybe) on track days. Kudos to Ford for still building these in an age when I am sure this will be outsold by its SUV/CUV/Crossover thingy 10 fold. Ford does not do much right these days, but fast Fiesta's and Focus's they do. 

And Kudos to Autocar, yes this forum allows spammers, and is antiquated, and not user friendly at all, but at least they still offer it! EVO, Car magazine and nearly all the US online car magazine websites have ditched such forums for various liability reasons. Enjoy it while it lasts, I am convinced regrettably that the lack of attention to current obvious problems such as spamming is an indication this forum is not long for this world. Glad to see they are migrating to the 'YouTube' world but fear for this medium and Autocar as a publication.

 

 

What?. The Fiesta in all of the various iterations, has been in the top three best selling cars in the UK for YEARS. If you're going to post, don't make a fool of yourself.

19 August 2019
One word "OMG", that's a cool car, I love the videos you shared about Ford Fiesta. I am students and I love to check studentc official website to read about my favourite subjects without paying anything.

20 August 2019

I love every bit of it. I have a bookmark you look at your new things.  panel installation

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