According to the Fiesta chassis engineers, the ST-Line chassis has been tuned to sit halfway between the baby luxury of the Vignale model and the hardcore appeal of the upcoming ST. And that’s exactly how it feels. The ST-Line feels briskly capable, but it still rides with impressive fluidity, soaking up poor surfaces and allows just enough body roll to stay on the comfortable side of sporting. The increased grip is felt on long, sweeping, corners as is the impressive control of understeer. The latter, the engineers assured me, was partly thanks to the individual front wheel braking of the Fiesta’s Torque Vectoring system which is completely imperceptible.
Over longer distances and meandering backroads of the sort we experienced in rural Spain, the ST-Line’s chassis balance meant that the car remained comfortable over longer distances and would be an easy drive at the end of a tiring day, but still has enough verve to be entertaining in the right circumstances. It’s calm and composed on the motorway, though might suffer a little too much wind swirl around the A-pillars
Should I buy one?
This is a very good car, but not without its downsides. On a practical level, rear cabin space is very tight and the boot isn’t the biggest in class. The driving position is impressive (especially the range of seat height adjust) and the new interior is a major leap forward. The whole car has much more of a quality feel.
It drives extremely well, it’s pacy and the chassis is impressively well-honed and well-balanced between sport and comfort. However, the base ST-Line (£17,595) is the same price as the Seat Ibiza 1.4 FR, which has a slightly better spec, more space and a more punchy engine.
This £18,945 ST-Line X model has the addition of the superb and hard to resist B+O high power audio system (£300), as well as heated seats and a heated wheel (£225). The final showroom price (the same tag as the recently tested 1.5-litre Vauxhall Insignia estate) is steep for a warm supermini, even one as satisfying as this.
As good as it is, these higher-spec Fiestas have some very strong competition.
Ford Fiesta ST-Line X 5-door 1.0T Ecoboost
Location Valladolid, Spain; On sale Now; Price £18,945; Price as tested £19,470; Engine 3cyls in line, 998cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 138bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 138lb ft at 1500-5000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1144kg; 0-62mph 9.0sec; Top speed 125 mph; Economy 63mpg; CO2 102g/km Rivals Seat Ibiza; Mini