DT Garage: Our Fiesta ST is going away and I've somehow kept my licence
200hp isn't what will get you in trouble…
Power corrupts, as the saying goes. And when it comes to driving on the road, it's becoming ever more dangerous to give in to the temptation to floor it everywhere. Hell, even a warm diesel seven-seater family SUV like our Skoda Kodiaq vRS will break the 70mph limit quicker than you can say, "Bohemian crystal styling details".
Ford's engineers have seemingly realised this. Because although the Fiesta ST 'only' has 200hp (which is still a ludicrous use of quote marks), it's easily the most fun car I've driven in 2019. It's had me slapping my hand on the top of its slightly too-thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel and laughing aloud. Those engineers deserve an almighty round of applause.
I realised it was a bit of a special car when I found myself talking to it like a slightly naughty but hilarious dog, telling it to calm down. You know, the sort of hound that wees in your uncle's shoes, but it's funny because he always gets you Lynx deodorant gift sets for Christmas.
The reason why the ST is so amusing to drive is also the reason it's the vehicle I've driven this year that's probably come closest to shredding my driving licence. And I've ridden a 230hp motorcycle.
You see, the Fiesta ST's inherently designed to make you drive like a bit like a t**t, even if you're not breaking the speed limit – which, by the way, is very easy to do – the 1.5-litre three-cylinder makes it a much faster car than you'd think. But the rear suspension's to blame. The springs that bounce the rear wheels up and down aren't straight – they're shaped like bananas. This is to help counter cornering forces and aid nimbleness, but it feels as if the side effect of this is that it'll cock a rear wheel ludicrously easily, putting you onto three wheels.
It won't stop there either. It's the modern king of lift-off oversteer. You can almost feel the back end wanting to step out just on a gently curving motorway slip road. It doesn't feel at all dangerous, but you just always sense that it wants to burst out of its family-hatchback cage and hump your leg.
Back off the accelerator sharply when you turn into any corner or roundabout and it'll do the three-wheel thing before skidding sideways in a beautiful, gentle, totally in-control bout of lift-off oversteer. Trust me, I'm no driving god and it feels absolutely wonderful. Your passengers will not agree.
I guarantee you that you a fast, solo drive in a Fiesta ST is all you need to rekindle your love of driving on the road. It's a wonderful, practical and reasonably priced tonic for feeling frustrated on our congested network of Tarmac. Because as soon as you find yourself near an empty roundabout or well-sighted corner, it'll tempt you into its silly world of sideways.
And eventually, someone in a high-visibility tabard will see you and flash their blue lights your way. And it won't be because you were going too fast. It'll be because you're being a yobbo.
I'm extremely sad that Ford has asked for its Fiesta ST back. My driving licence, however, is not.