Ford Fiesta ST Review

The new Ford Fiesta ST is loads of fun to drive, faster than the old model and comes with more high-tech kit but alternatives are easier to live with every day

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Superb fun on a twisty road
  • Good standard equipment
  • Reasonably cheap to run

What's not so good

  • Alternatives are more practical
  • Large alloy wheels highlight bumps
  • Doesn’t look distinctive enough
Ford Fiesta ST
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Ford Fiesta ST: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

Watch our Ford Fiesta ST video review

If you want maximum fun for minimum funds, you could do much worse than the Ford Fiesta ST. It’s the feistiest version of the ubiquitous Ford Fiesta, packing a punchy petrol engine and stiffer suspension for a more focused driving experience. Ford hopes it’s good enough to tempt you away from other small hot hatches such as the Suzuki Swift Sport and the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Lower yourself into the driver’s seat and the Fiesta gets off to a good start. Every Ford Fiesta ST comes with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and an 8-inch touchscreen with smartphone-mirroring as standard. Sadly, the cabin trim doesn’t look quite as funky as the tartan you get in a Polo GTI and the Fiesta’s sports seats grip your thighs a little too tightly to be comfortable – particularly if you don’t have the build of a beanpole.

Sports seats notwithstanding, the new Ford Fiesta ST is more comfortable than the old model. Whether you pick a sporty three-door or a more practical five-door, there’s just about enough space in the back for two adults to sit side by side – though not quite as much as you get in the VW Polo GTI. The ST’s boot is also slightly bigger than in the car it replaces (although you’d struggle to notice) and it’ll happily swallow a week’s worth of shopping.

The Fiesta ST looks like a regular Fiesta that’s put on a tracksuit and hit the gym – it’s beefier in all the right places and much more athletic

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You’ll have no such trouble spotting the changes made under the bonnet – out goes the old model’s 182hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, and in comes a 1.5-litre three-cylinder with 200hp. And if you’re worried about losing that cylinder, you needn’t. The new model gets from 0-60mph more quickly than the old model (just 6.5 seconds) and its accompanying pops and bangs from the exhaust confirm the Fiesta as one of the most joyous ways you can spend around £20K. The new engine will also appeal to your head as well as your heart: it can deactivate one cylinder when you’re cruising along to help you save fuel.

More exciting are the new selectable driving modes in the Ford Fiesta ST that let you choose between relaxing and sporty settings for the steering, accelerator and exhaust. Stick it in Track mode and the steering feels heavier, the accelerator more responsive and the exhaust louder. You also get a torque-vectoring system that brakes one of the front wheels automatically to help the Ford Fiesta ST perform tighter turns at speed without sliding – just like in a McLaren supercar.

Even better, however, is the optional Performance Pack (standard on Performance Edition models). This comes with launch control to cut a few milliseconds off the ST’s sprint time and a limited-slip differential to fire you out of tight corners as quickly as possible.

Even without this pack fitted, the Ford Fiesta ST is a tremendous weekend toy that represents great bang-for-your-buck performance. Only its rather bumpy suspension and sensitive steering might put you off driving it to work every day in a way the VW Polo GTI will not.

Ford Fiesta ST
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What's it like inside?

The Ford Fiesta ST’s interior is sporty looking and logically laid out, but there are small hot hatches that feel like they’re better quality inside.

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

The Ford Fiesta ST’s boot and back seats might be much roomier than the old model’s but it’s still not quite as spacious as some similarly sized alternatives.

Boot (seats up)
292 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,093 litres

All Ford Fiesta STs have a height-adjustable driver’s seat and the steering wheel also moves for rake and reach, so getting comfy isn’t a problem. Sadly, only Vignale Fiestas come with a height-adjustable passenger seat and lumbar adjustment for both front seats – they’re an option on ST models.

Beware, though – the glass roof eats into rear headroom, which isn’t super generous to begin with. Space in the back isn’t terrible – a six-foot-tall passenger can fit, but they won’t want to be crammed in there for too long. Really, you’re better off looking at the more spacious VW Polo GTI if you’re planning to carry adults in the back.

If you’re going to be using the back seats regularly then go for a five-door Ford Fiesta ST. They cost extra, but make back-seat access much easier. The Ford’s Isofix points are marked clearly, but getting the top of the seat through to the rear door opening is a little bit awkward.

The Ford Fiesta ST has a number of smaller storage areas for hiding away your day-to-day clutter.

The glovebox is big enough for a bottle of water and the door pockets will take a bottle, too. All cars get two cupholders, a place for your sunglasses in the headlining and have a centre armrest with a small storage area underneath it.

The Ford Fiesta ST’s 292-litre boot is bigger than the old model’s, but it’s still a good bit shy of the 305-litre load bay you get in a VW Polo GTI. 

It’s practical though, particularly if you go for the cheap-to-add adjustable boot floor, which eliminates any load lip and thus makes it much easier to slide heavy items into the boot.

It’s also handy when you’ve got the rear seats folded down, giving you a completely flat floor, so it’s much easier to make full use of the increased space. All Ford Fiesta cars get rear seats that fold down in a 60:40 split, meaning that you can have a passenger in the back as well as a long load poking through from the boot.

What's it like to drive?

Hot hatches are supposed to make you smile and the Ford Fiesta ST will do that easily. You’ll need to put up with its slightly stiff suspension, mind. 

The Ford Fiesta ST is powered by a 200hp three-cylinder petrol engine that pulls much harder than its figures suggest and makes all manner of addictive pops and bangs at the same time.

And if you’re worried about the old ST having a larger engine than this new one, you needn’t. The new model gets from 0-62mph more quickly than the old model (just 6.5 seconds) and its accompanying sounds from the exhaust confirm the Fiesta as one of the most joyous ways you can spend around £20K.

The new engine will also appeal to your head as well as your heart, it can deactivate one cylinder when you’re cruising along to help you save fuel. In fact, you can expect almost 40mpg if you drive the Fiesta ST sensibly. 

The Ford Fiesta ST has driving modes that let you choose between relaxing and sportier settings for the steering, accelerator and exhaust. Stick it in Track mode and the steering feels heavier, the accelerator more responsive and the exhaust louder.

You also get a torque-vectoring system that brakes one of the front wheels automatically to help the Ford Fiesta ST perform tighter turns at speed without sliding – just like in a McLaren supercar.

Even better, however, is the optional Performance Pack (standard on Performance Edition cars). This comes with launch control to cut a few milliseconds off the ST’s sprint time and a limited-slip differential to fire you out of tight corners as quickly as possible.

Even without this pack fitted, the Ford Fiesta ST is a tremendous weekend toy that represents great bang-for-your-buck performance. Only its rather bumpy suspension and sensitive steering might put you off driving it to work every day in a way the VW Polo GTI will not.

Read about prices & specifications
Ford Fiesta ST
RRP £20,700 Avg. carwow saving £2,191 Discover your best deals upfront
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