Ford has always been good at hot hatches, so the Fiesta ST enjoyed warm anticipation before its summer 2013 arrival. This is the sporty version of a car that is now in its sixth generation, 37 years on from the 1976 original, and the current Fiesta is the best-selling car on the British market.
Compared with a standard Fiesta, the ST has a sportier engine, stiffer suspension; a ride height lowered by 15 mm, bigger brakes with discs front and rear, and revised steering. It also has a lot more performance, and the uprated kit to handle the pace. It has been given a souped-up cabin with racy seats upholstered in leather, and built-in seat heaters. It comes in a vivid range of colours, including two shades of red.
The Fiesta ST's arrival on the scene comes two years after it was previewed in a concept car shown at the Geneva Motor Show, and coincides with a summer of new hot hatchbacks. There are rival new models from Peugeot and Renault: the Peugeot 208 GTi and the Renaultsport Clio Turbo. Ford's little fire-cracker undercuts both on price, but how does it shape up on the driver excitement front? Very well indeed. It's a little honey, the pick of the bunch.
The three-door body style is the only version offered; there is no five-door Fiesta ST. The engine is a 1.6 litre EcoBoost SCTi petrol unit teamed with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Fiesta ST starts at £16,995, and there is a higher-spec ST-2 version at £17,995. This is the version we tested.Performance
The engine is a 1,596cc, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit with a power output of 179 bhp at 5,700 rpm and peak torque of 214 lb ft at 1,600 rpm. The car is front-wheel-drive with a six-speed manual transmission. The top speed is 139 mph and the ST accelerates to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds. It’s a true ‘pocket rocket’. CO2 output is 138 g/km, putting it in band E for a tax disc at £125 a year. In town it is zippy and quick off the mark, and over a longer distance it feels energetic and just as able a -cross-country galloper as city cruiser. With legal limit motorway driving at half its top speed, it feels pretty relaxed on a long slog up an M-way. For a car this size the performance is very good. The engine comes on song at 1,500 rpm and pulls strongly right up through the rev range, until you hit the red line on the tachometer at 7,000 rpm.
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