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Ford Fiesta ST vs ST-2 and ST-3: which should you buy?

Ford’s venerable Fiesta took on a whole new personality when they launched the hot Fiesta ST in 2013. Clamping a whacking great turbo on its 1.6-litre engine upped the power to 180hp, which was more than enough for a front-wheel drive supermini. But it wasn’t just the power that has made it such a hit with reviewers and buyers alike; it was the way it feels to drive. Our own Fiesta ST test drive confirmed every critic’s report.

Ford worked really hard on making the Fiesta ST handle better than any rivals, and it paid off. It’s sharp, crisp, easy-to-drive and rorty – but most of all it’s just a huge amount of fun. Best of all, it is a good few thousand pounds cheaper than any rivals, making it just about the best value hot hatch of the last decade. But which trim level should you shell out for, and why?

The photos in this guide don’t represent specific ST trims. All appear similar from the outside, although the basic ST doesn’t have daytime running lights or tinted glass.

More power?

The fast Fiesta is available in three simple trim levels: ST, ST-2 and ST-3. There is also a Mountune performance package available on any ST, which includes induction upgrades and an engine remap. This boosts the already pretty strong 180hp up to 212hp, and increases torque. improving the engine’s drivability in every way. Best of all? It costs £599 and doesn’t invalidate the warranty. So don’t hesitate to spec that.


The ‘basic’ model starts at £17,250, and is hardly stripped-out. It comes with 17-inch alloys, a DAB digital radio, air conditioning, Recaro front seats, heated front windscreen, an alarm, unique ST interior trim, and unique front projector lights and foglights.

It also comes with Ford’s Sync system, which is a voice-activated Bluetooth system that allows you full control of mobile phones and other media devices using your voice. It also comes with emergency assistance, a system that automatically rings the emergency services if it detects you’ve had a serious accident. You need to pair your phone with the car using Bluetooth to enable this, and it’ll tell you before you drive off if you’ve accidentally left your handset’s Bluetooth off.

Then you also get Ford’s MyKey system, which allows you to set up profiles for different drivers that they have to log into. Each profile can be set with different speed limit settings, or evcn a limit on the stereo volume. It’s designed to keep younger drivers safe.

All in all, the ST trim has a fairly helpful amount of kit for the cheapest model. However, most owners seem to be opting for the next trim up, which offers even more useful kit.

ST-2 (+£1,000 over ST)

The mid-spec model offers some nice little upgrades that make it apparent why it is the most popular of the range. It adds heater elements to the Recaro front seats, which now have partial leather. Owners report these make the ST feel more upmarket inside, which is good because the Fiesta’s interior looks a little basic compared to the new Renaultsport Clio’s.

It also adds a new Sony multimedia system, which has a smarter piano black trim and a larger 4.2-inch screen. Although it offers better sound quality according to owners, it is still as fiddly to use as the standard system. However, it is still a worthwhile upgrade.

As well as this, the ST-2 adds LED daytime running lights (which many owners report are must-have items), keyless start, and tinted windows. For a £1,000 price premium over the base ST, this kit looks like a good investment. Chances are the residual values will help you get some of that extra dosh back when you come to sell your ST-2.

ST-3 (+£2,000 over ST)

Although the ST-2 satisfies most customers, Ford found a large number were still complaining some essential items were relegated to the options list. So it decided to release a top-spec, kit-crammed ST-3 to satisfy the most demanding buyers.

The gadget-packed ST-3 adds keyless entry to the keyless start system, which is useful for those who often carry the key in a handbag or tight pocket. It also adds sat-nav, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, power-folding mirrors and proper climate control. To add all these things as options would cost you an extra £300, so the ST-3 makes sense as opposed to just optioning up a lower-spec ST.

Many owners say these features are the cherry on the Fiesta’s already excellent cake, although the sat-nav is still a bit fiddly to use. Items such as cruise control also help to improve the Fiesta’s motorway cruising ability.

Overall, buyers recommend ignoring the base ST because what you save intially, you will probably lose on the used market. The ST-2 and ST-3 offer useful upgrades for most owners. Tthe ST-3 offers everything you could possibly need, but still comes in at under £20,000, so it’s cheaper than less well-equipped rivals. Therefore it’s our choice for the hot Fiesta.

Read more about the Fiesta ST

Check out our full Fiesta ST review section, which includes more photos, summaries of critics’ reviews, statistics and more.

Ford Fiesta

A good value small car that’s brilliant to drive
£15,670 - £21,590
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