2017 Ford Fiesta ST review Remember that sports car you always wanted when you were a kid. You dreamed of how fast it would be, how well it would handle, maybe even how much power it would have.
Sadly, and like most people, you had to grow up, so you bought a sensible family hatchback instead. But what if you could still have sports car performance, but in a car that also had five
seats, a useable boot and which didn’t cost the earth to buy or run. Welcome then to the world of the hot hatchback.
2017 Ford Fiesta ST review
In the past these cars have had something of a bad press. They were seen as a staple choice of rebellious young drivers, and more often than not ended up in the hedges of countryside roads.
In more recent times though they’ve been a great way for drivers to get sports car thrills, without the sports car budget.
This is the Fiesta ST, it’s one of our favorite examples of the breed and, as it’s name suggests, it’s based on the Ford Fiesta, a car, which lets not forget, is currently the best selling new model in the UK.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6 litre, turbocharged petrol engine which gets you 179 brake horsepower, but you also get a rear spoiler, a different front grill, lowered suspension and these ST alloy wheels to complete the look.
The Fiesta ST’s 1.6 litre petrol engine is willing to be revved harder than the other turbocharged motors youll find out there. it’s power delivery is progressive and its willing to respond from low down in the revrange.
Now as standard you get this 6-speed manual gear box, it’s a real gem, providing slick and smooth changes. In short, it makes it easy to get the most out of this engine.
Now sound is a big selling point for hot hatchbacks, because even if these cars don’t look too different from the standard on which there based, they have to sound sporty.
The Fiesta ST certainly does, but, a word of warning, it’s booming exhaust nodes might be a bit too much for some buyers if you’re using this car every day.
The ride is pretty firm and the Fiesta ST can feel unsettled either on the motorway or urban roads. That said, as a basis for great handling, the standard ford Fiesta is already pretty
good, when that combined with the ST’s extra grip, well weighted steering and feedback, this is the best handling small hot hatchback by a country mile.
What really impresses though is that the ST does all this, while remaining a perfectly usable family car, with one caveat, you haveto put up with its firm ride.
If you want even more performance consider the ST 200 special edition. You get a bit more power, up to 197 brake horsepower in fact, and the 0-62mph sprint
time drops from 6.9 seconds to 6.7. You also get extra badges and a few bespoke interior treatments. Be warned though, it’s an expensive upgrade, and in our opinion it’s, ultimately, not worth the money.
Inside the Fiesta ST the most obvious difference between this car and it’s Ford Fiesta siblingis the addition of these comfortable Recaro sports seats.
they’re bolstered across the shoulders to give you extra support and they do a goo job of keeping you in place through the bends if you are having a spirited.
With the Fiesta ST being a sporty car you’re going to want sit set up just how you like it, and thats easy when it comes to the steering wheel because it adjusts for reach as well as height.
The same cant be said of the seats because there is only manual adjustment. That said, two of the controls are easy to find, there’s a bar here to move you forwards
and backwards, and a crank next to the door to lift you up and down, although if you want to adjust the angle of the seat, the dial is rather awkwardly located. forward visibility is very good.
looking out of the rear screen id a bit more restricted, but rear parking sensors are an affordable option on all trim levels. Now if you go for the entry level ST model,this dashboard is covered in hard grey plastic,
but if you go for the ST2 or ST3 versions, and it’s the ST3 we’ve got here, then you get this Sony infotainment system as well. It looks rather smart, but there are still far too many buttons on the dashboard, and the system can actually be quite fiddly to use.
Every Fiesta ST gets air conditioning, Bluetooth and a single USB port down here in the front.G for ST 2 over that and you also get heated front seats and part leather upholstery and
the option to add various things like cruise control too This ST3 trim gets you even more luxury, including sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, dual
zone climate control, keyless entry-and -go and power folding door mirrors. The ST200 on top of that, gets a bespoke exterior look, including special badges.
For our money though, the ST2 represents the best balance between affordability and kit. This Sony infotainment screen is really quite small by moder standards, and because it’s
not a touch screen everything is controlled by these buttons. The result is a system that is fiddly to use and its not really up to scratch in terms of extra features or graphics either.
You’ll certainly finder easier, more intuitive in both the Volkswagen Polo GTI and renault sport clio. So lets go through some of the features in this sony infotainment system.
First up, lets set a destination in the nav. You press the nav button, get a little warning message, and then it’s on to a destination input.
Now as I said, this isn’t a touch screen so everything has to be entered manually using these buttons, and although everything is clearly layed out on the screen, we’d much
prefer either a touch screen, or even better,a rotary dial. That said, you can just about navigate your way around, and if I input the destination
into here, which does take a little bit longer because you’re using buttons. There we go, we can get a postcode and we can start.
I’ve already connected my phone via Bluetooth and navigating to it is fairly easy, we select back on the system and navigate to sync phone. Now sync is the name of Ford’s infotainment system, and if I select that I can dial a
number or have a look at my call history or phone book. Thers also a voice activated system on here, but as with most systems of this type, its sketchy to us at best.
If practicality is high on your list of priorities then it’s good news if you’re only going to be carrying two people, because there is plenty of space up here in the front, even for taller drivers.
If you plan on carrying any more than that though things get a bit different, because this rear bench is only really suitable for children.
The ST’s sloping roof line limits headroom, and these Recaro sports seats dont do anything for leg room either. theres now a five door version of theFiesta ST is currently available too, but most of
the current cars come with three doors, and that means theres plenty of ducking and twisting needed to get seated on this rear bench. The gap you have to get through is very small,and you have to reset these front seats to
your liking once you’re in. The Fiesta’s boot is fine for everyday use, and there’s enough space in here for up to
either a weekly shop or for a couple of overnight bags, and you can drop the rear seats if you need to load bulkier items. Be warned though because the space they create isn’t flat, though you can opt for a variable height boot floor.
Next to its closest rivals, cars like the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Renault sport clio, the Fiesta ST represents good value. It’s list price is fairly low, and if you’re willing to look around, or haggle at the dealership, there are plenty of good finance deals too.
The biggest problem with cars of this type though is insurance, especially for young drivers, and if that turns out to be an issue, you might want to look at warmer hatchbacks,
cars like the Suzuki Swift sport, which is still entertaining to drive, but a lot more affordable to run.Despite it’s grin enducing performance, the ST is also fairly economical and you should
expect to see around 40 miles per gallon under real world conditions. Its lst price and CO2 emitions make it competitive for anyone considering one on a company car scheme as well.
Wed stick with our recommended ST2 trim level, which gets you most of the kit youre going to want but you will have to pay extra to add a spare tyre on any version of the ST.
As standard you get a tyre inflation kit and a thatchem improved alarm. Make no mistake, this is one of the best hot hatchbacks around right now.