Ford Fiesta ST Edition
Life is what you make it. There are good days and really good days. Ignore the bad ones, and move on.
Monday was a really good day. The sun was shining. The hills were capped with snow. The air was cold and invigorating. The roads clear, dry and quiet. And I was driving the latest incarnation of the Ford Fiesta ST. In fact it was a really good week, regardless of the weather.
Of course there are faster and more powerful cars, but sometimes all you need is just enough power in a nimble, agile chassis to really enjoy life – even in these strange times. And that’s just what Ford does so well. The Focus ST is a brute in comparison to its smaller sibling. In this case ‘F’ stands for Ford, Fiesta and Fun. The 3 cylinder engine even sounds better than the Focus four.
The Fiesta ST is coming under serious threat these days not just from the likes of Renault and VW but also the latest Hyundai i20N, but this just seems to make the Ford engineers work harder. Methinks they enjoy life and the challenge. The result is 198 bhp worth of phenomenalness. I just made that it up, but it almost starts with an ‘F’!
The gearbox is so tactile you just want to play with it and the power steering is so superbly weighted and self centre-ing it just gives the most gentle of feedback – and there’s a Sport mode. This doesn’t generate any extra power but it sharpens everything up, allows full use of the rev range and adds to the aural accompaniment. There’s a Track mode too which switches off much of the ‘safety’ system but doesn’t really add to the road going pleasure so there’s no need unless you’re planning a day out on the circuit at Knockhill.
Anyway, last Monday, there were enough sheep around on the run through the Dalveen Pass to make sure that the brakes are up to the job of controlling this little Firecracker, otherwise there is little need for them. The grip from the 205/40 x 18 Michelin Sports means that sweeping bends can be tackled with confidence and corners are an excuse to use the 6 speed gearbox. As all rally fans know, it’s not just the entry and exit speed that are important, it’s the speed that can be carried through the corners that makes the difference. Andrew Wood was a great exponent of that art way back in his Samba, Astra and Audi 90 days (but that’s a different story) and the wee Fiesta reminded me of his magic.
Once the you get the engine singing and the turbo doing a bit of heavy breathing you can just keep throwing gears at it. It just keeps surging forward like a puppy desperately trying to get off the leash.
Of course the ride is firm, but at no time did it feel uncomfortable even though the Recaro front seats are not well padded. However they do offer support in all the right places, well nearly all. That’s because they were designed for the more slim-hipped and protein shake generation than the ever so slightly fuller figures of the pie-fed old timers. The back and side bolsters ensure a snug enough fit to allow winding roads to be tackled with glee.
The dampers are adjustable and although the settings on the test car were firm, they could be eased slightly for those who want a bit of comfort on the commute and leave the sports settings for weekend pleasure. As for fuel consumption, who gives a toss? Ford reckon around 40mpg is a good everyday average but find yourself a twisty road, switch into Sport mode and to hell with it.
There are so many good cars around these days that proper driving enthusiasts should try and sample as many as they can. Get the need for speed out of your system now by driving the more enjoyable sports cars and sporting saloons before the arrival of artificial intelligence, electric motors and the next generation of autonomous self driving machinery take all the fun out of it.
The Fiesta ST is one such car and the fun starts at just over £21,000, although best aim for the ST3 version at least with its 1.5T engine, Recaro seats, limited slip diff and Performance Pack at £24,575 ST3. It’s got more Fizz than a bottle of ‘all shook-up’ Irn Bru!
Ford Fiesta ST Edition
Review Date: 17 April 2021
Price: £28,770 (as tested)
Engine: 1497cc, 3 cylinder petrol with 198 bhp
Performance: 0-62 mph in 6.5 secs, flat out at 144 mph
Economy: 40.4 mpg (combined)