2018 Fiesta ST review
The previous generation Fiesta ST was a tremendous car. Can this new face lift live up to the hype?
The Fiesta ST is really the starting point for a proper performance car. Its cheap, engaging to drive and packs in all the things you'd want in a car. This is the Mk8 Fiesta ST and we had a go to see if it was any good.
This model is the ST3 which is the highest trim level. With that you get these smart looking 18" alloy wheels (17" wheels are standard) and the red brake calipers. Now to make spec more confusing you can get the red calipers with the optional performance pack without having the ST3, but we'll get to that later. You also get the LED circle around the headlights which dont really make a difference. As for the colour of this car, its called "Silver Fox". Its like Porsche Crayon and isn't too in your face but light enough to still see the lines of the car.
18" Alloys contrast well with the red calipers.
This new generation of Fiesta, to me, looks brilliant. However it looks physically bigger than the last generation car but is still small. Other features to note are the ST is 15mm lower than standard Fiestas, it has twin exhaust pipes at the back of the car, some "ST" badging and some slightly more aggressive bumpers.
Twin exit exhausts and a new rear diffuser.
The interior for this car is actually a very pleasant place to be. Doesn't feel cheap and plastic like my Suzuki Swift Sport. The new Fiesta’s cabin is vastly more intuitive than the old car’s, and the ST’s inherited the lot. Clear dials, a comprehensive screen between the clockfaces, and a fast-reacting touchscreen which comes with nav and applecar play. (Nav is an extra unfortunately.) The ST also get a new steering wheel with a 'race' inspired flat bottom a clean alloy gear knob and delicious Recaro bucket seats. I also noticed that the pedals are in a good position for heel'n'toe.
Inside the Fiesta ST.
Turning the key and hearing the engine fire for the first time is an good feeling. Hearing the new 3 cylinder engine is odd. The exhaust note is loud especially in the back seat. It sounds good once you get going too, almost like a V6. But lets dive into what this engine is all about because for a small engine it packs a lot inside.
Under the bonnet.
First of all lets talk numbers. This is a 1.5L 3 cylinder turbo engine that produces 200ps, (Thats 197 hp to you and I.) It also produces 214lb ft of torque so it makes it quite easy drive. The lose of a cylinder should save quite a bit of weight over the front end, but once you add the balancing shaft in it doesn't save a whole lot more over the old 4 pot engine. Just adds some character. This little engine also features cylinder de-activation so on motorways it locks the valves and you have a two cylinder engine. which gives it a brilliant fuel economy figure of 38mpg average (versus a claim of 57.4mpg). The exhasut note from this engine is full of character. revs beautfully to the redline and even has a certain ECU map in sport mode so you get lots of pops and bangs of the overrun all of which makes the driving experience feel more special. But above all else it makes it fun and puts a smile on your face.
Our car unfortunately didn't come with the optional £850 performance pack so we didn't get to experience the diff or launch control. But the tyres on the car are the Michelin Pilot Super Sports which are a super sticky tyres. Thankfully its not over tyred and you can have fun with it. Because of the tires the car retains its very darty nose and solid turn in. This is helping by a quick steering rack which is just two turns lock to lock. However, you have to be cautious getting on the power coming out of turns without the LSD as you just spin the wheels. This car doesn't suffer from torque steer anywhere near as badly as the previous generation car did. Which makes it more enjoyable to drive.
The delicious Recaro seats.
The car has different driving modes which adds a little too much for me and in sport mode it makes the steering a little too heavy and feel a touch synthetic but there is still good feedback. On smooth roads the car is fast and poised but it falls apart on rough surfaces. This is because, as with the last car, the suspension is stiff meaning that the wheels can struggle for traction out of corners on the bumpy stuff. But with new revised dampers the worst impacts are ironed out which is nice. It also means there is less cabin noise so you can hear more of that nippy little 1.5L engine
Mode selector, ESP and start stop buttons.
Price and Rivals:
The ST1 starts at just £18,995 which is exceptional value seeing as the Clio Sport, Polo GTI and 208 GTI and starting at around £22,000. However this comes with next to no options and once you start specing it up it makes more sense to get at ST2/3 which are closer in price to the other cars in its class. What ever starting point you choose one option everyone needs to spec is the Performance pack as it completely transforms the driving experience.
The new Ford Fiesta ST is a fun and very capable little car and is staggering value for money. It delivers a performance per pound ratio that rivals can’t match.
Brilliant handling, strong performance and more refined than the car it replaces. But the ride is busy on bumpy roads.