From £18,9959

Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

The entry-level Ford Fiesta ST-1’s £18,995 sticker price achieves Ford’s aim, making the hot Fiesta look like a bit of a bargain next to rivals, most of which start at list prices beginning with a two.

It’s a bit of a red herring, of course, since very few will buy the car in ST-1 trim anyway; and for most, the deal secured on monthly finance will mean more than the one done on list price. Be that as it may, the point is clear: this car represents outstanding performance-car value.

New ST narrows the gap to the Polo GTI to almost nothing, while the Mini Cooper S JCW’s residual values are unrecognisable from years ago

The ST-1 gets an infotainment system with smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android as standard, plus 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, Recaro fabric sports seats and a Thatcham alarm. Ford’s mid-spec equipment level costs £1000 extra, bringing upgrades for the car’s alloy wheels, seats, climate control and infotainment system.

And although you might think fuel economy wouldn’t matter much to hot hatchback clientele, the Fiesta ST is one that’s often used daily – and so its ability to return nearly 50mpg in real-world touring (it recorded 48.2mpg on our touring economy test) could well impress a great many.

Perhaps that clever three-cylinder engine ought somehow to have rated better in terms of lab test carbon dioxide emissions; at 136g/km, the Fiesta is behind both a Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo and Volkswagen Polo GTI on lab test CO2 – admittedly both key rivals being automatic ’box-only at this stage.

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