Hatchbacks are all the rage these days, especially to the younger or young-at-heart crowd. They are small, fun to drive, and all packed in a compact body which is practical for its size. No surprise then, that hatchbacks outsell conventional sedans in many countries, and hatchbacks like the Fiesta and Polo are leading the pack. Our focus today is the Fiesta and Ford’s compact hatchback is already well-known for its fun handling, but now there’s a spicier variant which caters to the enthusiast crowd with added power and the need to change gears yourself manually. I’m talking none other than the Fiesta ST.
ST, which disappointingly stands for Sport Technology and not something over-the-top like Super Turbo gets you plenty of subtle but noticeable aesthetic changes such as the more aggressive bumpers with larger air intakes and honeycomb grille, rear spoiler, Rado Grey painted 17-inch alloy wheels, and of course the mandatory red brake calipers which houses the bigger brakes. Needless to say, there’s ST badges located everywhere, both inside and out just to make the driver feel that little bit more special. Overall, the Fiesta ST stayed very true to the Fiesta ST concept car shown at the Frankfurt show back in 2011 which is great news. Just wished it had those cool concept headlights.
Inside is pretty much standard Fiesta fare. The dated handphone-inspired centre console remains along with the tiny screen. The ST gets Recaro semi-bucket seats which holds you in place very well and are pretty comfortable. Cheap plastics still surrounds you no matter how you spice up a Fiesta, but look down to the lovely 6-speed manual shifter and the three pedals below your feet, and you can’t help but to smile…or panic depending on the driver.
Powering this warm hatch is Ford’s 1.6 EcoBoost inline four turbo engine which squeezes out a substantial 182hp and 240Nm of torque. Pair that engine with Ford’s excellent 6-speed manual transmission and you get an extremely fun vehicle to chuck around corners. The gears are short and precise which makes it a very engaging and satisfying car to drive. The 6th gear will rarely be touched unless you’re cruising on the highway, but it’s a welcome addition for fuel efficiency. The brakes are surprisingly good too, with responsive brake feel and not overwhelmed by the power despite being relatively small.
If you didn’t know already, the Fiesta ST handles superbly. It also features Ford’s Torque Vectoring Control which reduces understeer when cornering and it works pretty well. The steering is precise and have lots of feel, plus you could also switch between Standard, Sport and ESC Off settings to suit each driving condition.
If you think about it, the Fiesta ST is just like a hatchback version of the GT86/BRZ. They are all great-handling, non-overpowered, driver focused cars with a much affordable price tag compared to rivals and of course, cheap interiors. Again similar to the Toybaru twins, the Fiesta ST has a great manual transmission, great engine, and great steering which aims to provide the maximum driving pleasure for the least amount of dough. Only main difference is that the Fiesta ST could carry three more friends along for the ride.
So there you have it, one very positive Fiesta ST review to add to the hundreds more out there to remind us that fun and affordable drivers’ cars like the Fiesta ST still exists and we should appreciate them before lightning speed dual-clutch gearboxes and electronically-controlled, automatic everything inevitably takes over, for better or worse.
Big thanks to Alvin Liew and the crew for the review and especially the stunning photos you see here!