It’s the return of the ST

Ford Fiesta ST
Ford Fiesta ST

Ford’s Fiesta ST has long been the thinking person’s fast hatchback. This latest one is no exception. With 178bhp on tap, it keeps things real and the pricing looks great as well.

Ford has certainly put down a serious marker here.

As much fun as the old Fiesta ST was, its downfall was easy to pinpoint. It had 148bhp and sold for not much less than £14,000. For only £200 more than its asking price, you could buy a Renault Clio 182 Cup. Game over. Ford’s determined not to fall into that trap this time round and has gone about equipping the latest Fiesta ST with the firepower it needs to succeed in its price bracket. The engine is a 1.6-litre turbocharged 178bhp Ecoboost four-cylinder unit that’s good for 177lb/ft of torque. That translates into a sprint to 62mph of just 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. That’s an old school 0-60 in just a fraction over six and a half seconds, which isn’t hanging around by any means. Vehicles from the next division up would have a tough time shaking off this Fiesta in a straight line, never mind in give and take roads.

Ford has developed new chassis and suspension components to improve the ride quality and refinement of the car and further enhanced the Ford Electronic Power Assisted Steering system. Unique suspension and steering tuning and better Torque Vectoring Control (eTVC) combines with a 15mm lower ride height to deliver the requisite dynamic improvements over what is already a very good chassis.

Ford produces the Fiesta ST in both three and five door guises, but there are no plans to import the five-door car to the UK. But when the three-door model looks this good, I doubt too many tears will be shed. The big front grille works well with the ST’s more extrovert body styling. That runs to an imposing black honeycomb trapezoidal front grille, plus a large rear spoiler with twin air vents and twin exhaust. Colour choices including Molten Orange and Spirit Blue and an optional style pack adds red brake calipers and grey alloy wheels to pump up the aggression a bit.

It’s hard to see how Ford could have done a lot better with the Fiesta ST.

An integral part of bringing a warm hatch to market is managing costs and it’s here that the Ford really plays its trump card. It gets 47.9mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle and emissions are rated at just 138g/km - but the biggest draw is certain to be the price tag. At just £17,000, here’s a car with genuine pace and smart styling. What’s not to like?