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Ford Fiesta ST Review

heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

Ford Fiesta
Ford Fiesta

1/6

1 / 6

00/10
heycar rating
"A simply cracking hot hatch"
  • Launched: 2018
  • Hot hatch
  • Petrol

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Quick overview

Pros

  •  Sublime handling
  •  Gutsy engine
  •  Affordable running costs

Cons

  • Occasional bouncy ride
  • Bland cabin design
  • Narrow door pockets

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Ford Fiesta ST Driving

Overall verdict

Ford Fiesta ST Front

On the inside

Ford Fiesta ST Driving

Driving

Ford Fiesta ST Exterior

Cost to run

Ford Fiesta ST Back

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

Overall verdict

"The Ford Fiesta ST has had the attainable hot hatch market sewn up in recent years. The previous generation model is sure to go down in history as one of the best fast Fords ever, putting a huge amount of pressure on the firm not to wrong step with its successor."

Ford Fiesta ST Driving

There was an era when the hot hatch was a rite of passage for young drivers. Affordable, fun and disposable when done with, they were a stepping stone to bigger, faster cars or a phase before moving to more sensible choices.


When we think of hot hatches today, cars like the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS, they are much more rounded machines. They are also now extremely powerful, with more than 300PS routinely on offer.  They’re also expensive to buy, insure and fuel. 


This is where the Fiesta ST comes into its own. It's compact, powerful and surprisingly affordable. It uses a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 200PS and returns up to 40.4mpg. That means you can have all of the high octane thrills, without those sky high bills. 


The Fiesta ST is a hoot to drive, too. Lift off the accelerator in sport mode of its selectable drive modes, which are available on this model for the first time, and the exhaust pops on overrun. At times it's like running your very own Group B rally car, as the Fiesta ST snaps, crackles and pops its way along the road. 


It feels quick on the road as well as against the stopwatch. That 200PS in a car this size is enough to reach 62mph in 6.5 seconds, while the handling is nothing short of superb. The steering, which errs marginally on the side of skittish, is quick to wind from lock to lock, and provides bundles of feedback in the process. Limited ST edition models – only 300 were sold in the UK and we have reviewed the car separately – get adjustable suspension that makes them handle like their on rails, but even the standard ST is huge bundles of fun. 


The driving position from the standard Recaro seats is good and thankfully not as high up as the previous model’s, fortunately, which encourages you to use the car’s full array of talents.


Those selectable drive modes mean the Fiesta ST will happily sit on the motorway or crackle around town should you wish. It’s a versatile car, one that can comfortably be driven every day without costing the earth yet also punch well above its weight in terms of driving pleasure when the mood takes you.


Although the new model isn’t visually that different from its predecessor, the interior is a huge step up. It stops short of being as premium as a MINI, but it’s easy to get comfortable and the 8-inch infotainment screen is easy to use.


Ford could so have so easily misjudged the Fiesta ST but, fortunately, it hasn’t. It’s taken the already brilliant Fiesta hatchback and given it all you could ask for in a used hot hatch costing less than £20,000. It’s an absolute joy to drive, but it isn’t a compromise in other areas. The interior’s pretty good, and the running costs won’t ruin you.


Is the Ford Fiesta ST right for you?

Small, affordable hot hatches were becoming a rarity not so long ago as the breed headed upmarket and had to compete with an ever wider array of rival machinery. Then along came the Ford Fiesta ST to put the pep back into the class and it’s never looked back since.


As a result, the Fiesta ST has been the class leader since the previous generation model arrived and this latest version carries on the good work. The only major difference is you can now have your ST thrills in three- and five-door forms, whereas it used to be only offered as a three-door.


While the gusty 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine is key to the ST’s appeal, the star of the show is its handling, as it should be with a hot hatch at this price. It means you can use all of the car’s pace on real roads without risking your licence and it also means there’s a generous margin of grip if you need to avoid a sudden obstacle, making the ST a very safe car too.


For anyone who wants sporting fun but needs more seats than a Mazda MX-5, the Fiesta ST is pound for pound as good as it gets.


What’s the best Ford Fiesta ST model/engine to choose?

All of the Ford Fiesta ST range use the same 200PS 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s a three-cylinder unit, so comes with a distinctive engine sound that suits the car and, as usual with this motor layout, delivers plenty of low-down power while also being happy to rev hard and high.


The six-speed manual gearbox is another delight of the ST thanks to its quick, short shifts that let you extract the best from the engine or let it meander along quietly when cruising on the motorway.


The ST-3 model has larger wheels, leather upholstery, keyless entry and ignition, fancier dash and stereo, and a limited front differential to help put the power down more effectively than in the ST-2 model. For that, reason, it gets the nod as our preferred choice, though some might like to go up to the Performance Edition with its lowered suspension and unique Deep Orange paint. However, the near £2000 price premium for this model makes it hard to warrant it over the ST-3 in our book.


What other cars are similar to the Ford Fiesta ST?

The Ford Fiesta ST’s biggest rival is the MINI Cooper S that has very similar power and performance. The MINI also has the handling to keep up with the ST and is similarly priced. Some might find the MINI a little raw to use day in, day out and you also have to add more from the options list to bring the spec up to snuff when buying new.


Volkswagen’s Polo GTI is a more sensible car all-round than the Fiesta ST or MINI, which makes it a bit dull in this company and it shows in the way it drives.  You could also look at the smaller Abarth 595.


Learn more

Ford Fiesta ST Front

On the inside

Ford Fiesta ST Driving

Driving

Ford Fiesta ST Exterior

Cost to run

Ford Fiesta ST Back

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

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