Throughout its history, the Fiesta has won many awards and topped the sales charts on many occasions, so it followed that Ford would produce variants for the fast lane and the new ST, I recently discovered ,is the most responsive, engaging and fun-to-drive yet.
The latest model features a range of innovative sports technologies that enhance power and performance; cornering and agility; and versatility. To the heart of the ST, and providing the power, is the company’s all new 1.5 litre EcoBoost petrol engine which is the first three-cylinder engine ever to power a Ford Performance model with a very useful 200PS and 290 Nm of torque with rest to 100kph (0-62mph) in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 232kph (144mph). The engine’s three-cylinder architecture delivers naturally high torque at low rpm and performance is boosted by a new turbocharger that uses an optimised turbine design to build boost pressure faster and minimise lag for a more responsive and fun driving experience. While a new combination of port fuel injection and direct fuel injection technology helps deliver high power and responsiveness alongside reduced CO2 emissions with a particular increase in fuel efficiency under light engine loads. The EcoBoost engine features Ford’s industry-first cylinder deactivation system for a three-cylinder engine which was first introduced on the one litre version to further improve fuel efficiency without affecting performance.
Selectable Drive Modes feature for the first time, enabling engine, steering and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track settings, and shifting the vehicle’s character from flexible everyday runabout to track-focused sports model at the push of a button. Choose optional Launch Control which also aids to achieve consistently fast standing starts on track, supported by a dedicated graphical display in the instrument cluster. The ST’s first optional mechanical limited-slip differential optimises cornering grip, and segment-first, Ford-patented force vectoring springs deliver sharper turn-in, better rear-end responsiveness and a more connected feel. I observed this on fast country roads. Body style choice available, three-door and five-door, very often a sports model comes only as a three door.
It’s no surprise to discover a generous number of comfort and convenience features including SYNC 3 connectivity, B&O PLAY premium audio and sophisticated driver assistance technologies such as Lane Keeping Aid and Traffic Sign Recognition. I spent a week with the ST and as the brochure says, thanks to the efforts of Ford Performance, the Fiesta ST provides for everyday usability and fuel efficiency with an exceptional driving experience that can flatter the novice driver while rewarding the expert.
Often, manufacturers claim that their offering is a hot hatch when it is more a warm hatch. Well no mistake when it comes to the Fiesta ST, is definitely is a hot hatch. I received a very pleasant surprise regarding economy. Having expected this member of the Fiesta family to have quite a fuel appetite, no not all, I managed to achieve very acceptable levels. Close, in fact, to the official figures stated by the manufacturer, 6.0 l/100 km (47.1 mpg) fuel and relatively low 136 g/km CO2 emissions and also with this model gas particulate filter technology that reduces soot emissions.
There is a wide choice of colours including Frozen White, Magnetic, Moondust Silver, Performance Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black and Silver Fox. The interior, sporting of course, features as standard supportive Recaro seats, ST gear knob, and flat-bottomed steering wheel with stitching that is replicated on the leather handbrake lever and gear-lever gaiter. You can choose from a range of trim elements for the gear lever, steering wheel, door pulls and decorative dashboard spear, and select from distinctive styling packs and a fully operable panorama sunroof is available as an option. For entertainment on the go, a standard communications and entertainment system with a 6.5 inch screen or optional 8 inch screen enables control of audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple, conversational voice commands. I have had the pleasure of driving most if indeed not all of the performance Fiestas and the new ST gets my vote as the tops, simply because it is the complete package.