Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
Price £13,645 - £19,545
- Cheap to buy
- Brilliant to drive
- No less practical than standard car
- Understated looks
- Three-door only
- Firm ride
At a glance
"Few, if any, cars in this price range are as much fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta ST."
The Ford Fiesta ST is the sporty hot hatchback version of the standard Ford Fiesta supermini, which is the UK's best-selling car.
It's fantastic to drive and is reminiscent of a traditional hot hatchback, so it's very appealing to enthusiasts and also has an edge over rivals. It's better to drive than the Peugeot 208 GTi and has a conventional six-speed manual gearbox – unlike the Renault Clio Renaultsport.
Though it isn’t as fast or as sporty as the ST, the standard Fiesta was already great fun to drive, so Ford had a good starting point for a great hot hatchback. The ST is fitted with a 180bhp, 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, will do 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 139mph. If you want a bit more performance, then there's always the Mountune tuning pack, which increases power to 215bhp.
While it's difficult to find another hatchback under £20,000 that's anything like as much fun to drive, there is a trade-off with the Fiesta ST. It has very firm suspension and although that contributes to the sharp handling, it means you’ll really notice bumps and potholes.
The ST has larger alloy wheels, wider tyres and lower and stiffer suspension than the standard model – all of which adds up to lots of grip. There are also a few visual features to mark it out as more potent than your average Fiesta, including a subtle bodykit, a roof spoiler, ST badges and unique paint colours.
The ST is only available as a three-door, which is a deliberate move by Ford to make it look a little sportier. Rivals such as the Renault Clio Renaultsport and the MINI hatchback in Cooper S trim are offered with five doors – as is the larger Ford Focus ST – so the Fiesta suffers a little in terms of practicality.
There are three trim levels – ST, ST2 and ST3 – and even the entry-level model is quite well equipped. It includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sporty Recaro front seats, DAB digital radio and leather trim on the gearstick and steering wheel.
Our pick is the mid-range ST2, though. It costs £1,000 more than the basic ST and adds part-leather Recaro sports seats and LED daytime running lights.
Drive gently and the Ford Fiesta ST can manage as much as 48mpg
Without a doubt, the Ford Fiesta ST is one of the most entertaining small hot hatchbacks on sale
The Ford Fiesta ST's firm suspension doesn't compromise comfort too much
The Ford Fiesta ST is just as practical as the three-door superminis on which it is based
The Ford Fiesta ST is based on UK’s best-selling car, so should be no less reliable than the standard Fiesta