In-depth Reviews

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback

"Fast and fun yet practical and economical, the latest Ford Fiesta ST is as great a hot hatch as ever"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Used car deals
Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Huge fun to drive
  • Great performance
  • Relatively efficient

Cons

  • Unsettled ride on rough roads
  • Sporty image not for everyone
  • Engine not as characterful as before

If you’re in the market for a small hot hatchback you’d be forgiven for being a little overwhelmed. A worthy shortlist of talented candidates includes the Peugeot 208 GTi, Suzuki Swift Sport, Volkswagen Polo GTI and MINI Cooper S – but the Ford Fiesta ST, for many the traditional class leader, was notable by its absence after the previous-generation model went out of production in 2017. Thankfully, May of 2018 saw the return of an all-new version.

Ford has pulled out all the stops to make sure the latest Fiesta ST can reclaim its crown. There’s a new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 197bhp, giving the ST a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds – thanks in part to an overboost feature. Despite this performance, economy is respectable; the car’s engine can shut down one of its three cylinders at lower engine speeds to save fuel while you're cruising. During more spirited driving, the short-shift six-speed manual gearbox can be ‘flatshifted’, meaning you don’t have to take your foot off the throttle when changing gear. Launch control is also included if you specify the optional Performance Pack, along with a limited-slip differential to improve traction and gear shift lights.

Hot hatchbacks aren’t all about straight-line speed though, and the Fiesta ST really comes alive when tackling a twisty road. Fast, accurate, communicative steering and an impressive suspension setup with clever dampers mean the ST feels poised and lively through corners, with plenty of grip. The optional limited-slip differential and standard torque-vectoring make it easy to put power down out of corners, while the car’s electronic stability control system can be backed off gradually via selectable driving modes if you don't want them to intervene prematurely on a race track.

A Performance Edition version is also offered, adding lightweight alloy wheels and coilover suspension that can be adjusted by the owner. It comes in a bright orange paint and costs around £4,000 extra. For most owners, the standard ST is better value but the Performance Edition is the ultimate version of the car from a handling perspective.

The good news is that all of this potential for fun has not come at the expense of day-to-day usability. The Fiesta ST loses none of the standard car’s space and practicality, with the same interior layout and identical boot space. Unlike some rivals, both three and five-door versions are available too. The ST also benefits from the same five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as the standard Fiesta. Provided you can afford the higher running costs, there’s no reason why the Fiesta ST couldn’t serve perfectly well as everyday transport.

The Fiesta ST doesn’t give much cause for complaint, but those who value pliant suspension and relaxed cruising may find it slightly too firm, especially over rougher surfaces. While the car’s sporty suspension actually does a fine job of keeping the driver in control over undulating roads, ride quality does suffer slightly even in the most relaxed driving mode.

If you don’t mind a harder, less relaxed edge to your motoring experience though, the Ford Fiesta ST is one of the best cars in its class. It’s more fun to drive than the Volkswagen Polo GTI, faster and more engaging than the latest Suzuki Swift Sport, and more than a match for the enthusiast-favourite Peugeot 208 GTi.

For a more detailed look at the Ford Fiesta ST, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2020
Deals
23 Oct 2020

Best new car deals 2020

2020 scrappage schemes: the complete guide
Tips and advice
12 Oct 2020

2020 scrappage schemes: the complete guide

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars
Best cars
13 Oct 2020

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars

More on Fiesta ST hatchback

Limited-run Ford Fiesta ST Edition sprints in
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
5 Oct 2020

Limited-run Ford Fiesta ST Edition sprints in

New Fiesta ST Edition has adjustable suspension and is aimed at enthusiasts
Best hot hatchbacks
Best cars
11 Sep 2020

Best hot hatchbacks

The best hot hatchbacks offer sports car thrills and performance with everyday usability and practicality for a reasonable price.
2020 Ford Puma ST teased ahead of September reveal
Ford
10 Aug 2020

2020 Ford Puma ST teased ahead of September reveal

Performance-focused Ford Puma ST will use same 197bhp engine as Fiesta ST and cost around £27,000
Best cheap sports cars
Best cars
21 Jul 2020

Best cheap sports cars

Sports cars deliver superb thrills, but they don’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve listed the best cheap sports cars that shouldn’t break the bank.
Top 3 used small hot hatches for £8,500
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
22 May 2020

Top 3 used small hot hatches for £8,500

“Dear Carbuyer, I want a small hot hatch that won’t cost a fortune to insure. What are my options for £8,500?”
Best used hot hatchbacks
Best cars
8 Oct 2019

Best used hot hatchbacks

Hot hatchbacks are more powerful than the regular versions of family cars, and that means they're more expensive. But you can find bargains on the sec…
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition limited to 600 UK drivers
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition front 3/4 static
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
10 Apr 2019

Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition limited to 600 UK drivers

A very orange Fiesta ST Performance Edition with handling upgrades will arrive in June
Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost review
Ford Fiesta
9 Jul 2018

Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost review

Ford Fiesta Zetec is big on value and driving fun. 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine brings 65mpg, too
New 2018 Ford Fiesta ST has 197bhp and track mode
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
12 Mar 2018

New 2018 Ford Fiesta ST has 197bhp and track mode

2018 Ford Fiesta ST has a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol with three cylinders and 197bhp
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback (2013-2017)
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
20 Nov 2017

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback (2013-2017)

"The Ford Fiesta ST has become renowned as one the best hot hatchbacks ever. It ticks all the boxes, being as practical and affordable as it is fast a…
Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa
Ford Fiesta hatchback
12 Sep 2017

Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-ever selling car. But can it better the Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo? Find out in our triple test
Should I buy a new or nearly new Ford Fiesta?
Ford Fiesta hatchback
29 Aug 2017

Should I buy a new or nearly new Ford Fiesta?

The latest Ford Fiesta is a great car, but could it pay to buy nearly new?
Ford Fiesta: which one is right for you?
Ford Fiesta hatchback
25 Jul 2017

Ford Fiesta: which one is right for you?

We compare the latest Fiesta with its predecessor to help you decide
More power for Ford Fiesta ST200
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
2 Jun 2016

More power for Ford Fiesta ST200

Faster, harder hot hatch will make Goodwood debut
Announced – Ford Fiesta Red and Black Editions
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
17 Jun 2014

Announced – Ford Fiesta Red and Black Editions

Ford Fiesta Red and Black Editions are fast, fun to drive, and cheap to run
New Ford Fiesta ST3 revealed
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
22 Apr 2014

New Ford Fiesta ST3 revealed

Ford offers buyers even more standard equipment with range-topping Fiesta ST3
Ford Fiesta reaches four million sales
Ford Fiesta EcoBoost supermini 2013 front quarter tracking
Ford Fiesta hatchback
15 Jul 2013

Ford Fiesta reaches four million sales

The UK’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta, has topped four million sales