The Ford Fiesta ST wasn’t just the best car in its class when new, it also ranks among the very best small hot hatches of all time in our book. Combining the Mk7 Fiesta’s sparkling chassis with a lively, brawny turbocharged ecoboost engine and slick manual gearshift. The cabin might be a little too fussy in its details for some, but the aggressive exterior styling hits all the right notes for a small hot hatch.
The limited edition Fiesta ST200 was more powerful than the standard car too. Of the 1000 units built 400 were brought to the UK. The Storm Grey paint is unique to the ST200 and there are some minor tweaks inside the cabin, including bespoke seat trim and grey stripes on the seat belts. As it improves on the already fantastic standard car, you can consider the ST200 a full evo five-star car.
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The relatively short lifespan of the mk7 Fiesta ST was due to its late arrival, arriving nearly five years after the basic Fiesta was launched. Thankfully the wait for the next ST won’t be nearly as long, as the new ST was announced almost immediately after the all-new Mk8 Fiesta’s reveal last year.
The 2017 Fiesta ST will drop a cylinder compared the previous model, powered by a new 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. Despite lacking that fourth cylinder, the new ST will produce some 197bhp, accelerating from 0-62mph in 6.7sec, 0.2sec quicker.
As well as the improved performance the new car will be a more configurable car. Different modes will allow the driver to change the weight of the steering, increase the engine noise in the cabin and select between three different traction control settings (on, track and full off).
Ford Fiesta ST in detail
> Performance and 0-60 time - The Fiesta ST clocks a 6.9 second 0-62mph time and tops out at 139mph. Not the quickest in its class but it has the pace to keep up with its rivals. The ST200 is a touch quicker.
> Engine and gearbox - The engine is a real strong point for the ST. It has character, revving all the way to the redline with real strength.
> Ride and Handling – The Fiesta ST’s chassis is incredibly well balanced and hugely engaging, making the car one of the most enjoyable in the class.
> MPG and running costs - Ford claims 47.9mpg, and even real-world figures are decent - evo's long-term ST averaged over 38mpg. The ST's engine is among the more fuel efficient in this category.
> Interior and tech - Despite it's relative age, cabin definitely shows its age, with a fussy design and a poor infotainment system. Great seats, though.
> Design - Fiesta's styling subtly enlivened with ST-specific body kit and wheels. The ST200 is barely altered, but still looks sharp.
Prices, specs and rivals
The seventh generation Ford Fiesta ST is no longer in production, but a new model is due in early 2018. The runout ST200 edition carried a small premium over the ST-3 model which hovered around £18k. In any case, the Ford Fiesta ST was cheaper than its contemporaries no matter the trim-level, but values have remained strong on the second hand market.
The ST reigned supreme in the junior hot hatch segment, not only offering a quality driving experience but generous kit levels: cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers as well as Ford SYNC with satellite navigation are standard on the ST200 and ST3 models. Useful too was the choice between the three-door and more practical five-door bodystyle.That said, the interior is on the tacky side compared to rivals so the new model’s interior, based on the standard mk7 Fiesta, will bring a much needed refresh.
To drive though the Ford Fiesta ST is second to none. The Renault Clio R.S 200 lacks the polish of its revered predecessors (the 220 Trophy was a step back in the right direction), while the Corsa VXR exceeded expectation, but it still it couldn't match the ST’s composed chassis. Peugeot's 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport proved the greatest adversary, showing more capable on track, but ultimately losing out on the road.
Competing on size rather than price the Audi S1 and Mini Cooper S both merit consideration as plausible rivals. Their interior quality reflects their premium price, relative to the segment, but both offer individual and enjoyable driving experiences, too. The S1 may lack the tactility of the ST but inspires confidence with its four-wheel drive system that also permits impressive performance. The Cooper S handles with agility of previous models, although it fails to involve you as much, perhaps a product of pandering to the pricer end of the market.