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This is a great little hot-hatch at a surprising low price. Built in Germany, the Ford Fiesta ST was developed by Ford Team RS, the European arm of Ford's Global Performance Vehicle group. Based on the standard Fiesta, but with significant upgrades to powertrain, suspension, steering and brakes, the Fiesta ST is priced at just $25,990 plus on-road costs. That's a lot of car for a very reasonable price.
Ford Fiesta ST is a three-door in a market segment which tends to lean to the convenience of five doors these days. It's good to see Ford stick with the sportier look of a three-door, it adds to the nature of this little beastie.
The ST has a large trapezoidal honeycomb grille, deep front bumper, projector headlights with LED daytime running lamps, foglamps, a sports lower body kit, rear roof spoiler and a rear diffuser with twin chromed exhausts. Fiesta ST rolls on 17x7 alloy wheels.
Inside the cabin are cloth Recaro sports seats, a leather bound steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake. The pedals have a drilled alloy finish. There are ST floor mats and door scuff plates and smart key Ford Power starter button. All this is bathed in ambient LED lighting at night.
When driven normally the Fiesta ST outputs are 134 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque. With up to 147 kW (200 bhp) of power and 290 Nm of torque when you use the overboost function the 1.6-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine is the most powerful Fiesta ever.
As befits a true hot-hatch, the Fiesta ST only runs a six-speed manual gearbox. Yippee! I know double-clutch gearboxes are faster and more efficient so are used in Ferraris and the like, but there's nothing quite like using your own skill and driving experience to get the best out of a car.
The Fiesta ST showcases some of Ford's latest technology including Sync voice activation to play music, make and receive hands-free phone calls and call contacts simply by saying their name.
It almost goes without saying that Ford Fiesta ST received a five-star rating in Australasian crash testing. Crash prevention devices include Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control and three-mode Dynamic Stability Control, features only previously found in more expensive cars.
Emergency Assist is hooked up to Ford's Sync system via your mobile phone. If the airbags are deployed or fuel pump shut-off activated, SYNC will dial emergency services, giving them the affected vehicle's exact GPS co-ordinates. Potentially a major life saver it has, again, only been previously seen in big-price cars.
Ford's global MyKey technology, launched in the new Fiesta ST, is an industry first that allows parents to electronically limit an 'adult happy' top speed to 140 km/h. It also offers programmable speed alerts between 70km/h and 140km/h that can't be deactivated by the MyKey user; reduces maximum radio volume to maintain driver concentration; disables the radio until the seatbelts are fastened and prevents deactivation of driver assistance and safety technologies.
The Recaro sports seats are firm and supportive, but you wouldn't want to have a backside that's too much wider than average. Using cloth instead of leather makes sense in Australia where the stickiness and heat of leather upholstery can be a pain in summer.
The engine is beautifully responsive, all the more so when you remember it's turbocharged. There's good torque on tap from low revs and it's happy to spin to the rev limiter. There's even a touch of torque steer if you really floor it in the lower gears - great fun.
A clever link between engine and cabin by way of a 'Sound Symposer' channels the engine note to the cabin. The engine roar when you get stuck into it really adds to Fiesta's driving experience.
The six-speed gearshift is on the notchy side if you want to make fast changes, but is good if you let it change at its own speed. Steering is weighted by just the right amount and gives excellent feedback from the road. Road grip is tenacious and until you're cornering harder than makes sense on public roads the Fiesta is nicely neutral. If you're really pushing the Fiesta ST it's simple to steer in on the throttle as well.
Comfort isn't too bad, but there's no doubt the ST leans in the direction of performance rather than softness in the suspension equation. Which is exactly as it should be. Rear seat legroom is pretty good and getting in and out through the folded forward fronts seats isn't too difficult.
Ford's all-new Fiesta ST is a delight to drive and is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who loves to drive. Yet is very reasonably priced for the amount of fun it provides.
|Ambiente||1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$6,990 – 11,950||2014 Ford Fiesta 2014 Ambiente Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||1.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$8,998 – 11,990||2014 Ford Fiesta 2014 Sport Pricing and Specs|
|ST||1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$12,999 – 17,888||2014 Ford Fiesta 2014 ST Pricing and Specs|
|Trend||1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$9,490 – 13,000||2014 Ford Fiesta 2014 Trend Pricing and Specs|