ST-2 1.6 EcoBoost
new 139mph Fiesta ST hot
hatch is out
with a 180bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre
EcoBoost petrol engine it was
proving pretty hard to keep in...
FORD IS EXPECTING TO SELL around 5,000 units of the Fiesta ST in the UK in
a full year that's more than half of the 9,000 total annual European
production output for the 'hot' three-door Fiesta with its Bridgend-built heart
in a Cologne-built body.
Its Welsh-built 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine has a healthy
180bhp output and 177lb ft of torque on tap from 1,600rpm. Better still, during
its 15-second 'overboost' acceleration mode these jump to 199bhp and 214lb ft.
The Fiesta ST is available in two trim and equipment specifications with prices
of £16,995 for the ST-1 and £17,995 for the ST-2; Ford say that 90% of over
1,000 advance orders have been for the ST-2. The ST-2 spec looks good value
with the added kit including an uprated sound system, Recaro sports seats with
partial leather trim, heated front seats, push-button start, privacy glass and
LED lights. Both versions come with electric windows and mirrors plus AirCon
and on-board driver's computer.
new ST has a top speed of 139mph whilst the zero to 62mph dash takes a sharp
6.9 seconds. With 20% more power and 20% fewer CO2 emissions, this ST officially
returns a Combined Cycle figure of 47.9mpg. Its 139g/km of CO2 keeps road tax
to £125 per year. And company car drivers will get away with only 18% in Benefit-in-Kind
With a need to hear the
speed, Ford has also included their Sound
Symposer system which
feeds the engine note
into the cabin to ensure
the distinctive engine
roar is an integral part of
Visually the Fiesta ST is marked out by a large trapezoidal honeycomb grille
that's based on the new 2013 Fiesta's Aston Martin-style 'open mouth' look.
On ST versions this is flanked by sleek sports-style headlights incorporating
LED daytime running lights. At the tail there's an under-bumper honeycomb diffuser
similar in design to that used for the Focus ST.
And, of course, there's ST badging in and around the three-door body, Recaro
front sports seats and sports pedals. Ford's SYNC communication and emergency
assist and MYKEY personal settings with owner pre-set safety parameter functions
are available on both specification levels.
With a need to 'hear the speed', Ford has also included their Sound Symposer
system which feeds the engine note into the cabin to ensure the distinctive
engine roar is an integral part of the go-faster driving experience.
The Fiesta ST is a product of Ford's Team RS who have tuned the powertrain,
suspension, steering and braking systems to deliver a performance specification
normally only found on larger and more powerful sports models. These 'tweaks'
include Ford's Torque Vectoring Control (which reduces torque steer), the latest
generation three-mode electronic stability control, a six-speed close-ratio
manual transmission and rear disc brakes to 'up' the stopping performance and
The suspension has also been lowered by 15mm to reduce the centre of gravity;
the Fiesta ST is also fitted with unique front and rear spring and damper settings
and, for good measure, the rear twist-beam axle has increased roll-stiffness.
On paper it all adds up to a thorough performance enhancement and very good
value version of the UK's best-selling supermini. The most obvious competitor
is the very new three-door Peugeot 208 GTi, also powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged
petrol engine the French hot hatch has a 200bhp power output and is a
little faster even though it officially returns the same Combined Cycle fuel
economy and the same CO2 figure as the ST. Although the 208 GTi is a little
less agile than the ST, it does offer a better level of ride comfort.
hot hatch option is the three-door 1.4 VW Polo GTi with 178bhp which costs £19,430
or, sticking with the Blue Oval, buyers could choose the three-door 1.0-litre
123bhp EcoBoost Titanium X Fiesta variant at £16,445, which makes the new 179bhp
ST look really good value for money.
The very first
impression on getting
under way is just how
firm the suspension is
really too firm and
The MINI Cooper S and Vauxhall Corsa 1.6 VXR are also competitor models, as
too is the soon-to-join the hot hatch segment, the latest RenaultSport Clio.
Once behind the wheel of the ST, I was able to put the new model through its
paces on the main roads and winding country lanes in South Wales, and also on
track at the compact Llandow racing circuit.
The very first impression on getting under way is just how firm the suspension
is really too firm and uncompromising for many. We know the Fiesta is
the best handling supermini on the market, combining as it does sharp responses
with an untiring level of ride comfort. And Yes, I expect sports models to give
a firmer ride but not to the very stiff and uncompromising level of the
I suspect young 'thrusters' will initially enjoy the surefootedness the newcomer
offers but after a while it loses its appeal as rippled road surfaces and broken
tarmac give an unsettled and plainly harsh level of ride comfort. Ford really
needs to look at the customer profile of those buying hot hatchbacks these days.
Due to the economic climate it isn't, in the main, the previous youthful generation
buying these fun cars but slightly older users with more money to spend and,
in some cases, currently downsizing from larger and faster sports models.
Another issue for me is the decision of only offering the Fiesta ST as a three-door.
Two thirds of supermini hatchbacks sold in the UK and Europe these days are
five-door models because they fit today's motoring requirements better; and
the ST is no different.
Today's hot hatch has to be a family car as well, so must offer a better combination
with room for the family or friends when needed, with better access to the rear
seats, while also remaining capable of serving up hardcore performance at other
hot hatches have been three-door cars; but today's market requirements have
changed and in the US Ford offer the new Fiesta ST in five-door configuration
so why not here?
In terms of traction,
agility and steering
sharpness, the Fiesta ST
is ahead of the field.
Its clever three-mode
vectoring control and
slightly quicker steering
flatter the driver...
We hear about the 'One Ford' latest global model policy on almost every occasion
at Ford's media events, so why doesn't this apply to the Fiesta ST?
terms of traction, agility and steering sharpness, the Fiesta ST is ahead of
the field. Its clever three-mode electronic stability control, torque vectoring
control and slightly quicker steering ratio combine to flatter the driver.
They make the ST brilliant on-track, even in the damp weather, and impressive
on the highway apart from the tiresome reaction from the overly firm suspension
on poor road surfaces.
Reasons to buy this ST (if you can live with the extremely harsh ride) include
the good looks, well-equipped spec, very competitive pricing, good fuel economy
potential, and a strong and responsive engine. It's also fast with terrific
performance from the electronically-controlled grip and handling systems.
Ford Fiesta ST-2 1.6 EcoBoost
Maximum speed: 139mph | 0-62mph: 6.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 38.9mpg
Power: 180bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2 138g/km