Review

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback

Price  £17,250 - £19,250

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Great to drive
  • Good value
  • As practical as the standard car
Cons
  • Only available as three door
  • Limited styling changes
  • No automatic option

At a glance

The greenest
ST 2 1.6T EcoBoost 182PS 3dr £18,250
The cheapest
ST 1.6T EcoBoost 182PS 3dr £17,250
The fastest
ST 2 1.6T EcoBoost 182PS 3dr £18,250
Top of the range
ST 3 1.6T EcoBoost 182PS 3dr £19,250

"The brilliant Ford Fiesta ST is great fun to drive and exceptionally good value."

The Ford Fiesta ST is the sportiest version of the Ford Fiesta and our Hot Hatchback of the Year 2014. It competes with models such as the Renault Clio RS, Peugeot 208 GTI, and SEAT Ibiza Cupra.

The basic Ford Fiesta is already the most fun-to-drive model in its class and the ST version is even better. Lowered suspension and large alloy wheels with big tyres mean the ST has plenty of grip in the corners, while a subtle body kit, ST badges, roof spoiler and unique colours mean the ST looks much sportier than the standard car. It's also much quicker thanks to an 180bhp, 1.6-litre turbocharged engine.

Buyers can choose from three trim levels – ST, ST2 and ST3, and all cars are reasonably well equipped. Standard equipment on the basic model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a body kit, spoiler, sporty Recaro front seats, a DAB digital radio, plus leather trim for the gearstick and steering wheel.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.3 / 5

Drive gently and you'll manage as much as 48mpg in the Ford Fiesta ST

Despite being a quick car, the Ford Fiesta ST can return fuel economy of 47.9mpg, while CO2 emissions of 138g/km mean that road tax is pretty reasonable at £130 every year. By comparison the Renaultsport Clio can only manage 44.8mpg, while the Peugeot 208 GTI matches the Fiesta’s figure for very similar running costs.

Ford has one of the biggest dealer networks in the UK and also offers cheap maintenance. A basic service for the Ford Fiesta ST will cost £125, while a major service is £195. One thing the ST cannot avoid is high insurance costs and the model sits in group 30 – much higher than the standard Fiesta model.

Engines, drive & performance

5 / 5

Without a doubt, the Ford Fiesta ST is one of the most entertaining small hot hatchbacks on sale

Take the Ford Fiesta ST down a challenging back road and you’ll understand why the car has such a stiff ride. Drive through a fast corner and there’s very little body lean to speak of, giving you plenty of confidence to drive quickly. Enthusiasts will also be happy to see the Fiesta gets a manual gearbox rather than a slow-witted automatic gearbox like the one in the Renaultsport Clio, with the responsive steering is simply the icing on the cake.

Power comes from an 180bhp 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine that gets the Fiesta from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 139mph. It sounds great, though purists might not like the synthesised sound that is pumped into the cabin via a tube in the airbox, but it gives it a sporty note that fits perfectly with its image.

If you want even more performance, for £600 you can fit the Montune (a Ford-backed tuning company) performance pack, which boosts power to 212bhp and doesn’t affect the manufacturer’s standard three-year/60,000 warranty.

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

The Ford Fiesta ST's firm suspension doesn't compromise comfort too much

While the Volkswagen Polo might be top dog in terms of interior quality, the Ford Fiesta’s dashboard is arguably more interesting to look at and you’ll not find that many nasty hard or scratchy plastics.

The most obvious change in the ST compared to the standard model is the addition of Recaro sports seats, which offer lots of support for hard cornering. There are also bright flashes of trim and a sports steering wheel with ST badging. Plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seats and steering wheel mean it’s also easy to find a comfortable driving position.

By lowering the suspension and fitting big alloy wheels, Ford has made the Fiesta ST feel significantly stiffer than the standard car – and you will find it bumps and jerks over rough roads. It’s hard to criticise this too much though, because the stiff suspension makes the Fiesta very quick in the corners.

Practicality & boot space

3.4 / 5

The Ford Fiesta ST is just as practical as the three-door supermini, but a lot faster

Converting the standard Ford Fiesta into the Fiesta ST has had no real impact on the car’s practicality and it offers the same amount of space as the normal model, although the ST is not available with five doors. The result is that the Fiesta has plenty of room in the front, but things aren’t so good in the back. No rear doors mean you have to clamber in behind the front seats, and once you’re in, the ST’s sloping roofline means there is not too much headroom on offer, either.

Boot space could also be improved upon, with a 276-litre capacity that falls a little behind the 285 litres offered by the Peugeot 208 and the 300 litres offered by the Renault Clio. Open the boot and there’s a large opening to get clumsy items in, but there’s also an annoying step to lift luggage over. Dropping the rear seats of the Fiesta gets space up to 960 litres, but that still falls behind the total offered by the Peugeot (1,152 litres) and the Renault (1,146).

Reliability & safety

3.4 / 5

The Ford Fiesta ST is based on UK’s bestselling car, so should be largely trouble-free

We have always rated the Ford Fiesta highly so it was good to see the model climb 39 places in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – to finish 78th out of 150 cars. Much of that success comes thanks to the car’s 18th-place finish for road handling. However, since then, the standard Fiesta has been given a mid-life facelift, so we’d hope to see further improvements next year.

Just like every other Fiesta, the ST comes with seven airbags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes, all of which helped it achieve five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. The ST’s brakes are also more powerful than the brakes fitted to the rest of the range, for added stopping power.

Price, value for money & options

4.6 / 5

The Ford Fiesta ST undercuts main rivals and has an impressive standard equipment list

Doing without a fancy automatic gearbox and expensive adjustable suspension means the Ford Fiesta ST undercuts its main rivals – including the Renaultsport Clio and the Peugeot 208 GTI – in terms of price. All models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, Recaro sports seats, and Ford’s MyKey system that allows you to limit things like the car’s top speed and stereo volume, when operated using a pre-programmed key.

Moving up to the ST2 model adds heated front seats with partial leather trim, more powerful headlights, a Sony digital radio, Ford’s SYNC voice activation system, an engine start button, and tinted windows. At the top of the range is the ST3 model, coming with all the kit you could wish for including climate control, cruise control, sat-nav, auto wipers and lights, plus keyless entry and go.

You can expect the Fiesta ST to hold onto around 44 per cent of its value after three years and 36,000 miles, roughly the same as the Peugeot 208 GTI and the Renaultsport Clio.

What the others say

4.9 / 5
based on 4 reviews
5 / 5
"The new 180bhp Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch offers a sweet drive, good looks and is decent value, too."
4.5 / 5
"The Fiesta ST has effortless, big-boned performance ideally suited to real-world roads."
5 / 5
"The Fiesta ST is ace. Simple as that. And when the inevitable group-tests start happening with the Clio RS and 208 GTi, you won't be able to ignore the price."
5 / 5
"At £16,995 it's an absolute steal and is likely to hold its value extremely well. To our minds, it's a classic in the making and almost guaranteed a place in the annals of hot hatch history."
Last updated 
29 Aug 2014

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