Ford Fiesta ST: Believe the hypeHow does the Ford Fiesta ST stack up against its rivals?
-Fast Fords hold a special place in the hot hatch hierarchy. Their fans will only accept a car with that badge on the bonnet. Now, Ford has released a new quicken, the Fiesta ST. It has 180 brake horsepower and that's quite a lot, but that's what some of its rivals have. Well, a few of those are ready to be put out to pasture. So, does the Fiesta ST have what it takes to keep up with the rest of them? Fiesta ST-- -Break it! -Break it! -Fight! -This being a battle for supremacy, it's important to find out whether you can take the ST out and about on track. After all, the perfect hot hatch is something you can enjoy on the road and have fun in around the track. This is where the Fiesta ST's 180 brake horsepower and 214 pound per foot come into play, especially that's torque, because, as you know, in order to keep the car flowing nicely around the track, you need a nice, smooth torque curve twinned with an excellent manual gearbox, especially manual, some wonderful steering, some suspension tuning for fun, and lightweight. Thankfully, the Fiesta ST weighs around 1,100 kilos which means it's really rather fun to fling around. That's helped, of course, by the rest of the package. So, it's certainly got the lightweight, but what about everything else? Well, first up, the gearbox. Much like its bigger brother, the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST has a wonderful gear change. It's short, it's sharp, and it's incredibly difficult to mock up a change. Steering is nice and weighty which is really satisfying, but it is very, very direct. It works incredibly well, especially in situations like this. As I said, what is very important is the torque in this being very usable and it has a very, very flat torque curve which is brilliant. As everybody knows this, the turbo or whatnot, there's no lag or anything like that which is great, but all of the package together so as to make you feel as though the Fiesta ST is sort of-- there's a spring ready to go ping. It's very taut, very tight, very, very, very, so sporty and good fun. What Ford has managed to do with the Fiesta ST is very clever 'cause they've managed to beef it up and still make it accessible. You can still use it as a shopping car and you can still ferry your kids around in, and when the mood takes you, the Fiesta ST just explodes and everything starts becoming fun and also you're having an amazing time in it and you can't help but put a smile on your face. However good it is on track, it needs to offer thrills in the real road too. On the road, throwing it around like a man possessed, [unk] very little, you'll end up being arrested. Your new hot hatch needs to be entertaining in real life, good looking, economical, and spacious. It's certainly a good looking thing. Ford's allowed the Fiesta ST to flaunt its sportiness. There are no graceful lines here. Nothing's been inspired by the width. Now, this thing looks like it's gonna take you down with a shift -- a honeycombed, side-skirted shift. It's also pretty practical. You can fit lots of stuff in there which means you can take it to other town and scare them with it too. It also takes the economy books. Thanks to its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, you can apparently manage 47.9 mpg and it will only emit 139 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide. That's impressive. It means you can have fun and do not pay too much for it. Usually, that ends up being a venereal disease. Real road thrills? Well, this has them by the armful. It is a stonking little motor. There is one downside, which I have to get to quite quickly. Where the suspension is great on track, it might be just a touch bumpy in the real road, and say, normal British roads. But other than that, the Fiesta, as you know, is a cracking little car anyway and the noise it makes is bouncing off the little country roads and off the fence is not kind of thing. It's great. It sounds like a little rally car. So, when you're going to a B road, you feel like, well, Colin McRae. Ford has, once again, made us dunking cars, a perfect junior companion to the Focus ST. Well done. All that is well and good, but none of it really answers my initial question. Is the Fiesta ST too late in the game for this generation? The [unk] has more power. The Peugeot 208 is taking the more relaxed look at the world. The Skoda Fabia is surely due for a refresh soon. Fiat's Abarth is a fan favorite. The Mini now has a new face. The SsangYong has just been refreshed. So, is the Fiesta ST able to stand alongside its current rivals or is it a case of too little, too late from Ford. Too little, too late, I don't think so. This thing is absolutely brilliant. It's got just enough time to keep up with pretty much everything. It looks incredible. There's plenty of space in there, and it's got the MPG of a diesel. Oh, and it's quite cheap. Pretty much perfect. Right. Have a hot hatch on the tail.