From £9,7158
Ford is cashing in on the popularity of its Fiesta ST hot hatch by lending its name to this less potent model. It makes a lot of sense

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

7 September 2016

What is it?

A Fiesta with the sporty looks of the ST but without that car’s sparkling performance. As part of a rejig of its award-winning Fiesta line-up, Ford has replaced Zetec S trim with the Ford Performance-inspired ST-Line.

No shrinking violet, ST-Line versions are easy to spot because they wear a full body styling kit, including a rear diffuser and bigger rear roof spoiler, a lip spoiler on the front bumper, a black honeycomb-style grille and dark surrounds for the foglights. Sports suspension that lowers ride height by 10mm and intricate 17in eight-spoke alloys complete the exterior alterations.

On the inside, there are red-stitched sports seats, a leather-clad steering wheel, aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates.

There’s slightly less to get excited about when it comes to engine options: initially, there are three versions of the three-cylinder 1.0 petrol unit plus the 94bhp 1.5 TDCi diesel. We tested the entry-level turbocharged Ecoboost petrol, which produces a cost-conscious 99bhp.  

What's it like?

The racier styling of the ST-Line ups the anticipation before you get behind the wheel. Pushing the start button on the dash is a bit deflating, though, because it results in a weedy sounding trill from the little three-cylinder lump under the bonnet. Still, that's hardly a surprise. 

Shift the closely spaced five-speed manual gearbox into first and pull away and the disillusionment continues. This ST-Line’s 0-62mph time of 11.2sec isn’t going to get you away from the lights before many other cars. That’s the price you pay for this model's frugal official combined economy figure of 65.7mpg and its eco-friendly 99g/km of CO2 emissions.

However, there’s more to this little hatch than off-the-mark acceleration. We’ve seen how well this diminutive engine performs in other Fords, including the ST-Line’s predecessor, the Zetec S, in the past few years, so we know it should be good.

True to form, if you crank it up past 1400rpm it starts to zing. Its 125lb ft of torque may not sound like a lot, but it's enough for the ST-Line to zip around slower moving traffic on urban roads and get up a good head of steam on quiet A-roads.

Working the little powerplant hard makes it sound great, too; it’s not the throaty hum of the ST-Line’s far more potent big brother, the ST200, but it’s a pleasant, whizzy thrum. This is a good thing, as engine noise is the main accompaniment to driving, especially at higher speeds when it blocks out most tyre or wind noise.

The deft handling of the 10mm -owered chassis, the superbly weighted and accurate steering and the short, crisp gearshifts all add to the mix, making the ST-Line a joy to drive. The suspension is a bit softer than that of its brawnier siblings, so it crashes a little less over uneven surfaces, but Ford hasn’t turned the ST-Line into a wallowy soft touch and it still clings to the road with little body lean through bends.

It’s not a perfect package though. Inside, the Fiesta's switchgear is showing its age compared with newer rivals. The plethora of switches on the dashboard and the tiny, hard-to-read 4.2in TFT infotainment screen look like they should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. At least it has Ford’s SYNC hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, so you can call a friend while you spend an entire journey trying to retune the radio.

The amount of black trim is rather overwhelming, too: roof lining, carpets and seats are all black, with only the red stitching on the fabric sports seats adding a splash of colour. And while the seat fabric looks durable, it doesn’t exactly feel premium.

The three-spoke steering wheel clad in soft leather is good to grip though, and some nice touches to the interior feel a bit more special, such as the aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates. If you’re after Audi-esque levels of sophistication, however, you should look elsewhere. 

Should I buy one?

If you want to enjoy the looks and superb handling and poise of the Fiesta ST but can’t stretch to its £17,745 starting price or afford its higher running costs, then the £1200-cheaper ST-Line should be on your shortlist.

In 99bhp guise, Ford’s peppy turbocharged 1.0-litre Ecoboost isn’t the swiftest but it is still fun, as well as being light on fuel and emissions. And the ST-Line handles just as well as its hotter ST sibling, so it’s still more fun to drive than a Vauxhall Corsa SRi VX Line or Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI.

Ford has recently deleted the two cheapest trim levels from its Fiesta range, so the line-up now starts at £13,395, with the cheapest five-door 1.0 Ecoboost pitching in just below £15,000 in plain Zetec trim. If you factor in the ST-Line’s bodykit, sports suspension and other extra kit, it seems rather good value for around £600 more. It’s also cheaper than a Renault Clio GT-Line or Corsa SRi VX Line. 

Claire Evans

2016 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost ST-Line

Location Essex; Price £15,645; On sale now; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 99bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 124lb ft at 1400-6000rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 1091kg; 0-62mph 11.2sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 65.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 99g/km, 16% Rivals Renault Clio GT-Line, Corsa SRi VX Line

Join the debate

Comments
12

7 September 2016
ah..you mean like the GT line that Peugeot have had for ages, with the 110GT 208 that does 65mpg combined, 118mph and 0-60 in 9 seconds? Benchmarking - check.

7 September 2016
michael knight wrote:

ah..you mean like the GT line that Peugeot have had for ages, with the 110GT 208 that does 65mpg combined, 118mph and 0-60 in 9 seconds? Benchmarking - check.

The 208 doesnt appear to be as well equipped and is over a grand more expensive, and it certainly isnt as good to drive..

8 September 2016
It's bad enough buying a three cylinder hatchback, but putting a body kit on it?

8 September 2016
I thought Ford had a version of the 1.0 EcoBoost engine pumped all the way up to 138bhp? For the thick end of £16,000, I'd rather have that than this relatively puny 99bhp version.

8 September 2016
With all the issues listed with it, I'm struggling to see why it gets 4 out of 5.

Oh, hang on, its Autocar testing a Ford.....

8 September 2016
According to the Equa real world mpg figures, small turbo engines can often have the most inaccurate official mpg figures. They are saying 37mpg for the 3 cylinder Fiesta.

Details are on the Malaysia Top Gear website. Wonder why they are buried there?

8 September 2016
HiPo 289 wrote:

They are saying 37mpg for the 3 cylinder Fiesta.

Details are on the Malaysia Top Gear website. Wonder why they are buried there?

Ans: because they're rubbish, do you really think 37mpg in the real world is spot on? Ford wouldn't sell any if that figure was true, instead month after month it's the top seller by far in the UK, if 37 was correct do you not think people wouldn't have cotton'd on by now? You can drag up what ever figures you want from Malayasia or where ever but try speaking to a few owners and they're probably be getting around 20% down like most cars do on the gov figs. The official figures are just guides, use them as a comparasion tool, which is what they are.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

A34

8 September 2016
HiPo 289 wrote:

According to the Equa real world mpg figures, small turbo engines can often have the most inaccurate official mpg figures. They are saying 37mpg for the 3 cylinder Fiesta. ...

Looking at HJ I see 45.7mpg for this tune Fiesta (from UK readers). Seems about right.

8 September 2016
It's mildly amusing that 99 bhp is considered "puny" by the experts here, that's only 7 bhp short of a Lotus Cortina Mk.I, and over twice the horsepower of a 105E Anglia.

The original Fiesta had a similar versions, the 1.3S and Supersport, both of which had cosmetic upgrades, with fairly standard engines.

It will sell reasonable well, as the speed limit is an unobtainable target most of the time you are on the road.

Timelord

8 September 2016
Timelord wrote:

It's mildly amusing that 99 bhp is considered "puny" by the experts here, that's only 7 bhp short of a Lotus Cortina Mk.I, and over twice the horsepower of a 105E Anglia.

The original Fiesta had a similar versions, the 1.3S and Supersport, both of which had cosmetic upgrades, with fairly standard engines.

It will sell reasonable well, as the speed limit is an unobtainable target most of the time you are on the road.

11+ seconds is a joke for a car with a spoilers and skirts, IMO. YMMV.

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