Following the announcement that Ford will be scaling down its Asia-Pacific manufacturing concern in Thailand later this year to no longer include passenger cars, a shift of equal magnitude is due to effect Australia as well.
This will, naturally and eventually, have an impact on the newly revealed 4th-generation Focus, but more pressingly the smaller Fiesta as well. The company’s Australian arm have now confirmed that it will be offering the all-new small hatch in ST guise only, an outcome portended by the steadily slowing sales in the light car segment.
The local launch timeline for the Fiesta ST is set for the second quarter of 2019, filling a role left by the previous generation equivalent which garnered near-universal acclaim for its accessible thrills and lithe handling.
As previously covered, the 2019 Fiesta ST will be powered by a 1.5-litre EcoBoost 3-cylinder turbocharge petrol engine that delivers 147kW and 290Nm at their respective peaks, both figures being a tangible improvement over the outgoing car with a four-cylinder engine.
Like its predecessor, the Fiesta ST’s status as an analogue hero continues with a 6-speed manual transmission slotted between motor and driven wheels, enabling the front-drive hot hatch to achieve a century sprint time of 6.7 seconds.
In addition to offering unique engine note, the 1.5-litre three-pot improves upon the former car’s fuel consumption figures too, claiming to consume as little as 4.8-litres for every 100km driven while emitting just 114 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. Much of this can be attributed to the engine’s cylinder deactivation system that allows it to operate as a 2-cylinder during protracted period of light load use.
The 2019 Fiesta ST will come in both 5-door and 3-door configurations, each with exterior bits chosen by Ford Performance such as its 18-inch alloy wheels and unique body kit. It’s suspension and drive modes have also been tuned by the now-unified umbrella.
Inside, the car will have the appropriately styled cabin to reflect its extra sportiness, highlighted by the flat-bottomed steering wheel and Recaro front seats. There’s also a centrally-mounted 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system running Ford’s SYNC3 system.
“There is a strong appetite and passion for the Fiesta ST in our line-up, and can see the affinity and esteem that Australians have with driving enjoyment of the existing model,” said Ford Australia President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. “Fiesta ST shows the depth of enthusiast models that we’re bringing to Australia, with everything from this hot hatch through to the Ranger Raptor.”