Ford’s global product lineup ranks as one of the world’s most impressive. For performance car fans, CarShowroom.com.au already know the all-new Mustang is coming ‘downunder’ but here already is the best under-$30,000 hot hatchback money can buy – the Fiesta ST.
If you’re shopping for a three-door hot hatchback, you simply must test-drive the Ford Fiesta ST. Sourced from Ford, Germany the turbocharged Fiesta ST packs a punch, looks the part and delivers a standout interior.
Historians will know Ford’s Cologne, Germany operation has been responsible for some memorable performance cars going back generations to the mighty Capri RS from the 1970s. Chalk-up the latest Fiesta ST as another triumph from the team in central Germany.
Ford Fiesta ST Overview
Priced at $25,990, loaded with high-performance goodies and exclusively three-door/six-speed manual, the ST is the range-topper of Ford’s excellent Fiesta lineup which starts at $15,825. This model was the ‘donor’ car for Ford’s World rally Championship campaign.
Don’t be misled by that super-sharp price, the Ford Fiesta ST boasts a handy arsenal of ‘go-fast’ technology which stamps it apart from many segment rivals. The German Ford Team RS developed the suspension, steering and brakes for the ST, including enhanced Torque Vectoring Control and 3-mode Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
Ford Fiesta ST Engine
Under the bonnet is Ford’s turbocharged, direct-injection 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. It’s very high-tech and just the exhaust note alerts you that the ST isn’t your ordinary Ford Fiesta.
For starters, there’s a remarkable overboost function available for 20 seconds in the range of 1660rpm to 6000rpm. So maximum power is 134kW at 5700rpm (147kW on overboost) and peak torque of 240Nm (290Nm on overboost) is achieved between 1600rpm and 5000rpm.
Drive is to the front wheels via Ford’s ‘Durashift’ six-speed manual transmission.
Compliant with ‘Euro 5’ standards, combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 6.2l/100kms.
Ford Fiesta ST The Interior
The Ford Fiesta ST oozes its German/high performance credentials inside. Straight-up there’s superb Recaro sports front seats (four-way manual adjustment), alloy pedals and a unique three-spoke sports steering wheel which adjusts for rake and reach so in no time you have the perfect driving position.
There’s also unique ST scuff plates, gear-lever and black woven headlining and LED ambient lighting.
Audio a six-speaker Sony system with a four-inch TFT display.
Rear seat accommodation isn’t massive (none in this segment are) but the seat split-folds 60:40 for variable cargo loads.
And of course the Fiesta ST shows-off the current interior style of Ford Europe – a well laid-out cockpit, stylish instruments and high quality finishes. All very impressive for a car with a $25K sticker.
Ford Fiesta ST Exterior & Styling
Our test car was in the ST-specific ‘Molten Orange’ colour, but you don’t need the paint to identify the ST. Nope, that massive roof spoiler is a dead-set certainty to alert you to this car’s purpose.
Changes continue up-front with halogen projector headlights mounted in ‘smoked’ housings, LED DRLs and a unique fascia and bumper with high-gloss black lower grille. Side view sees ST side skirts and 17-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone 205/40 R17 tyres.
At the rear, as well as that large roof spoiler, the Ford Fiesta ST runs a unique bumper.
Ford Fiesta ST On The Road
The ST is no ordinary Ford Fiesta. It sits 15mm lower and underneath is a modified twist beam for the rear suspension with increased roll stiffness, unique springs and dampers, the steering has a modified knuckle and shorter arms, the rack has a 13.69:1 ratio (all for faster response) and rear disc brakes are fitted together with a larger tandem brake master cylinder.
Basic configuration is a MacPherson strut front-end with L-shaped lower wishbones connected to a sub-frame while the rear torsion beam features coil springs positioned under the floor with separate monotube shock absorbers.
Other changes see a three-mode driver-select DSC system - full operation, ‘wide-slip’ mode which disables traction control and activates DSC only at extremes, or DSC can be switched off altogether.
So you slide into the snug Recaro seat, hit the start button, bringing the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine burbling to life and you’re all set for the sort of memorable drive only the best of the hot hatches can provide. Naturally CarShowroom.com.au immediately headed to our high-speed mountain roads test loop.
In short, the Ford Fiesta ST was phenomenal – lots of punch from the turbo 1.6 (just a smidge of lag at low speeds), pin-sharp response and superb balance (all of this is a car which retails for $25,990). A special mention for that under-steer reducing Torque Vectoring Control – the Ford Fiesta ST’s poise even when hammered is up with the very best.
It’s firm, in the European way - perhaps not as skeletal-damaging as some more expensive supercars – but also quite refined with good isolation from outside noise and road imperfections.
Back in town, the Ford Fiesta ST wasn’t fazed by the weekday commuter crawl – light operation of the clutch and gearbox made easy work of the stop-start rubbish which can be a pain in high-performance cars. And, despite the lack of a reversing camera, the small 11.2-metre turning circle made for light work when parking.
Ford Fiesta ST Issues
We reckon the Ford Fiesta ST is a ripper. If pushed, we’d just nominate the lack of a reversing camera as a points deduction (every new car should have one).
Ford Fiesta ST Verdict
In the $25,000 - $30,000 sub-section of the hot hatch market segment, for us, the Ford Fiesta ST is number one. It’s a tight result with the new Renault Clio GT, but the Ford’s superb Recaro front seats and a bit more grunt combine to tip the scales in its favour.
Combine that turbocharged 1.6-litre with a brilliant chassis and top-shelf production quality from Ford’s Cologne, Germany plant and the Ford Fiesta ST’s overall package is irresistible.
And at $25,990, Ford’s pricing department has done the job too.
We’ll have one in our garage permanently thanks.
Ford Fiesta ST The Competition
Best of the rest by a long shot is Renault’s just-launched Clio GT. A bit less under the bonnet (88kW/190Nm) but right up-there in the looks and fun-to-drive department, the Renault Clio GT looks great inside (no Recaros though) and out and will set you back $25,390.
Peugeot is in the picture with the 208 GTi recalling previous GTi-badged rockets from the French giant. The 208 GTi packs a 147kW/275Nm turbocharged 1.6-litre engine but is pricey at $29,990.
Volkswagen Polo GTi isn’t as dynamic or sporty as the Ford Fiesta ST but Volkswagen’s 132kW/250Nm twin-charged 1.4-litre powerplant is a cracker. More coin though - $27,790 for the three-door with its sequential seven-speed transmission.
From the same stable, Skoda’s Fabia RS has the same drivetrain as the Polo GTi and some reckon it’s in front for ride/handling. $27,990 for the Skoda Fabia RS.