The Ford Fiesta ST is arguably one of the best hot hatches of all time. Flick through most car publications and you’ll find plenty of glowing reviews on the topic of the ST – but what are these cars really like to live with and are they really all they are made out to be?
I bought one a few months ago and have now spent several thousand miles driving it. Here are the bits that I like the most and the least.
5 fantastic things about the Fiesta ST
The low-down grunt
These cars make a lot of torque relatively low down their rev range, particularly when you consider the low overall kerb weight of the car. Stick one on a rolling road and it’ll likely make a good chunk of extra torque over what Ford claimed it would too – as confirmed in this article.
This makes the little ST feel quick with a nice linear shove throughout a majority of the rev range. The healthy torque figures mean you needn’t stir the gearbox like – say a Civic Type R. It also makes driving the Fiesta slowly a pleasure, which leads nicely into the next point.
The surprising fuel economy
As I sit here writing this I’ve just returned back from a day of driving, the 260 mile+ route was a mixture of motorway cruising, B-road blasting and spirited acceleration, yet the little Fiesta refused to drink anywhere near as much as I thought it would. End results, including a fair bit of time stuck in near-stationary traffic on the M25: 46.7mpg.
I regularly return more than 350 miles to a tank and have had as much as 450 miles. That’s a true 45mpg.
The excellent Recaro seats
In the UK at least, the Fiesta came standard with an excellent set of Recaro seats. Sure, they’re not the nicest looking seats in the world but spend some time in them and you’ll quickly realise they’re really very supportive and comfortable. If you’re lucky enough to have seats with heaters then they’re amongst the fastest and most effective of their kind too.
Its tuning potential
Fast Fords have always been well supported when it comes to modifications and the Fiesta ST is no exception.
Collins Performance are a well worthy mention and can offer everything from fruitful ECU reflashes right the way through to a bolt-on package to turn the ST into a reliable everyday option with over 300hp.
Not only is this the fastest, most powerful Fiesta to date but Ford really went to town on what you could spec these cars with.
Folding mirrors, climate control, auto lights and wipers? No problem. An auto dimming rear view mirror, parking sensors and a reversing camera? Sure.
The Fiesta is an incredibly well equipped car in anything other than its cheapest form.
5 things that aren’t so good about the Fiesta ST
Its suspension’s compliance at lower speeds
Let’s add a bit of context here, because I’m not really the sort of person that usually moans about stiff suspension, but right now that’s exactly what I’m doing.
The truth is that the Fiesta ST’s superb handling does come at a price for those who regularly travel on poor roads.
To be fair I only really tend to get bothered by it when on longer journeys or on potholed roads where it sometimes has me weaving around like some sort of drunk.
The handles that move the front seats forward
As you’ve already heard, the Fiesta ST’s standard seats are excellent – well, apart from these.
Yes, the thin flexible plastic handles used to tilt the seats forward on 3dr STs are like something lifted from a budget vacuum cleaner.
They feel like they’re going to snap. Will they? Only time will tell.
The image and popularity
The Ford Fiesta is literally the most common car in the UK, so don’t expect anyone to be too excited when they see an ST.
Quite a lot of these cars spend their weekends outside of McDonalds and tons of badly modified examples are floating around.
The Fiesta ST got a good write up from all the right places to the point it was almost universally rated highly. Despite glowing reviews from Clarkson, Chris Harris and Evo Magazine, people tend to look past the ST or simply discard it as just another Fiesta.
This car does appeal amongst a certain side of society though, that’s discussed in the next point.
The fact it’s so damn easy to steal
My Fiesta is a 2017 model with keyless entry which seems to make it about the easiest car to steal on earth.
I’m exaggerating of course, but take a look across to the thriving Fiesta ST owners club page on Facebook and you’ll be alarmed at the almost daily occurrence of people having their Fiesta’s nicked, usually to never be seen again. It really is the modern-day Vauxhall Nova in this respect.
Like many modern cars, the Fiesta ST is vulnerable to criminal attack via its OBD diagnostics port. It seems that with minimal equipment and a little bit of knowledge almost any scumbag could be taught to steal one of these cars.
Many owners relocate their OBD ports thanks to this kit, while others pull a fuse from the glovebox which apparently prevents power from getting to the port. More extreme but still common approaches include expensive alarm systems and the use of 1994’s finest Disklok.
The dashboard button layout
Ford’s Mk7 dashboard layout, which seemed to be inspired by some sort of early Nokia smartphone made its way into the Fiesta ST.
Widely criticised due to its overcomplicated and peculiar design, it hasn’t aged well and is nothing short of an ergonomic disaster.
So there you have it, five good and five bad things about the car. If one thing’s for sure I definitely don’t regret the purchase.
Think I’ve missed anything crucial? Let me know through the comment box below