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Fiesta ST turns up the heat as a true hot-hatch fast Ford

PUBLISHED: 16:17 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 October 2018

Ford Fiesta ST'’s heart is a new 200PS, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and it also features a host of new driver aids to unleash the performance. Picture: Ford

Ford Fiesta ST'’s heart is a new 200PS, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and it also features a host of new driver aids to unleash the performance. Picture: Ford

Ford

Ford’s new Fiesta ST is a ‘supersonic supermini’ with a 200PS, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine that gives it a big heart in the hot-hatch hierarchy. Motoring editor Andy Russell gets into the beat.

Sports stying is tasteful rather than over the top. Picture: FordSports stying is tasteful rather than over the top. Picture: Ford

Ford’s latest ‘supersonic supermini’ has the tough task of replacing the previous Fiesta ST which won hot-hatch awards throughout its lifetime. And it has to do so, with a smaller engine and one less cylinder while introducing new technologies for an even sharper drive.

Under the bonnet

A new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engine replaces the four-cylinder, 1.6-litre. But, despite its 200PS, it’s the first triple to cut to two cylinders on a light throttle to improve economy, returning 38mpg overall and 44mpg on a run.

Ford Fiesta ST-3 gets bigger 18in wheels and red brake calipers. Picture: FordFord Fiesta ST-3 gets bigger 18in wheels and red brake calipers. Picture: Ford

This little cracker is strong from low revs and spins eagerly to the rev limiter with a glorious, enhanced engine and exhaust note.

New normal, sport and track driving modes tweak throttle, engine and steering response, traction and stability control and engine note while optional launch control releases the car at the rev limit, managing power and torque delivery, for consistently fast standing starts. It’s part of the £850 performance pack with a mechanical limited-slip differential, to feed power to the front wheel with the most grip to reduce wheelspin out of corners, and gear shift lights.

How it drives

Driving position is first rate with snug Recaro front sports seats. Picture: FordDriving position is first rate with snug Recaro front sports seats. Picture: Ford

The ST’s ride is firm, especially with the range-topping ST-3’s bigger 18in alloy wheels, but not as fidgety as its predecessor.

The suspension has been upgraded for a more controlled, rather than comfortable, ride without sacrificing razor-sharp handling. New patented force vectoring springs improve stability and agility delivering sharper turn-in and better rear-end responsiveness.

You don’t need to understand it but you will appreciate what a thrilling drive this ST is, sticking to the road, clinging through corners and flowing along winding roads with responsive power steering.

The 311-litre boot is practical but the 60/40 split rear seat backs don't fold flat. Picture: FordThe 311-litre boot is practical but the 60/40 split rear seat backs don't fold flat. Picture: Ford

Space and comfort

The Fiesta has legroom for four adults, if those up front give some up, but chunky Recaro sports front seats reduce access to the back on three-door models – ST-2 and 3 are also available with back doors.

The 311-litre boot will hold a load of shopping or large suitcase but making a removable, raised floor panel optional on a £20,000 plus supermini seems mean. Without it, the 60/40 split rear seat backs lay well proud of the boot floor and slope upwards.

Rear legroom is sufficient for adults to travel in comfort . Picture: FordRear legroom is sufficient for adults to travel in comfort . Picture: Ford

Final say

I owned my first fast Ford in the Eighties, and have driven most of them since. This Fiesta ST has all the XR, RS and ST high-performance heritage but takes hot-hatches to a new level of entertainment value but is a useable daily drive – suitable for the school run, rewarding on the race track.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Ford Fiesta ST-1 £19,245, ST-2 £20,245, ST-3 £21,995

Engine: 1,499cc, 200PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with six-speed manual gearbox

Performance: 0-62mph 6.5 seconds; top speed 144mph

MPG: Urban 37.2; extra urban 55.4; combined 47.1

CO2 emissions: 136g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 28pc

Insurance group: 28 (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,068mm; W (including door mirrors) 1,941mm; H 1,469mm

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