Review: Ford Fiesta ST

Review: Ford Fiesta ST
Review: Ford Fiesta ST

The old one is brilliant fun. Can the new one be even better?

Ford is rolling out its all-new Fiesta range – a full refresh of what’s easily been the country’s best-selling car for what seems like eons. It’s bigger, more refined, carries more technology, basically seems to address every key complaint mumbled by the reviewers over the years. It’s a five-star car.

But what does this mean for the ST hot hatch version? We’ve just handed the keys back to a five-door long-term review car and, believe us, the stakes are high. Because we’re missing it already: it may not be the most practical car in its class, but it’s by far the best to drive. A hot hatch masterpiece.

Ford Fiesta ST

Ever since its launch four years ago, the Fiesta ST has served up attitude and vibrancy in abundance. This was almost something of a surprise, given how relatively average previous Fiesta ST have been, but the 2013 vintage is truly an absolute classic.

What makes it so magic? Well, it’s all but impossible to drive slowly, which is perhaps something of a dubious strength, but a measure of how amazing it is. Steering is marvellous, stiff suspension helps it dart immediately from corner to corner and the strong turbo engine is complemented by equally powerful brakes. Even the gearbox is divine.

Ford needs to replicate all this with the next ST, due later this year. That’s no small ask, particularly as it also must fix one of the Fiesta ST’s few foibles – a firm, tough ride quality that can make it particularly crashy in town.

Yet Ford also needs to maintain the exuberance of the Fiesta, the wild side that means you can’t resist being a bit silly and having a play with the throttle and the steering through corners. Looking at more recent, harder-edged rivals might also serve Ford well: the Peugeot 208 GTI has exotic componentry that makes it more motorsport-like: will Ford follow suit?

The Fiesta ST has a good many rivals looking to steal its hot hatch crown

It’s tricky. The Peugeot is much more expensive, and for sheer value for money, this current Fiesta ST has it pretty much spot on. It doesn’t need any more power, any more grip, and less incisiveness. It’s a tough brief.

An easy win will be a much better interior than this one. A better ride is a given, but only if it doesn’t spoil the above. It would be nice if the new car’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine were a bit revvier than the outgoing 1.6-litre, although the amazing gearbox should be left well alone.

The new Fiesta ST is a hotly anticipated car. Early reviews suggest the mainstream models have what it takes, but will this carry over to the performance ST version? All the ingredients seem to be there and the early vibes are good, so it’s a car we can’t wait to try.

But even if Ford, as seems very unlikely, has messed it up, help is at hand. See, examples of the current car are now priced from less than £9,000, and you can get a pre-registered brand new one for just over £16,000. Let’s hope the new one is so good, we don’t need to pull this emergency cord.

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