The Ford Fiesta ST: It's ok to believe the hype

The current generation Ford Fiesta is an ace little car, the ST version...? It's one of the best hot hatches out there.

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In the UK, Ford is known on part for its great cars, but also for its ability to add serious performance to them and create legendary motors. Chaps of a certain age will tell you about how the Lotus Cortina was "the" car to have back in the day. Come a little further forward and you won't hear many bad words said about any Ford with a Cosworth badge on its arse.

More recently, fast Fords have been stamped with "ST." "ST" means more power, angrier styling, better handling and a big honeycombe grill. "ST" means you're going to enjoy yourself.

When Ford announced there'd be an ST-ised Fiesta, the motoring world found itself tongue-tied. The Fiesta itself is brilliant fun, but the prospect of a 180bhp "hot" one was a little too much for some to cope with.

Ford beefed up the little car's springs, making it agile and direct in the bends. If you're feeling brave you could have quite a bit of fun with it, too. It's nicely balanced and comes with a chassis that'll happily take all you throw its way. The usual rule applies, though: Drive like a berk and you'll lose to physics, obviously.

Its engine is revvy, perky and good fun. It's good for zero to 62mph in 6.9 seconds and it'll manage 139mph. It's not the fastest out there, but twin its speed with its chassis and you've got an excellent package. A seriously excellent one.

In the film I asked whether it's a bit late for Ford to be releasing a 180bhp hatchback -- after all, its competitors are all getting on a bit, or have just been replaced, so why would you take a risk on a car that may be a touch down on power compared to its competitors? Because, dear boy/girl, power isn't everything. The Fiesta ST's 180bhp is plenty. It's handling is its main weapon against all comers. When you need a city car, you have a placid little thing to bimble around town in.

The Ford Focus ST used to be our favourite hot hatch. Now, though, it's probably the Fiesta.