Ford Fiesta ST-3 review

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Pocket-Rocket… end of review!

The pint sized Fiesta is a well respected supermini but the hot ‘ST’ is the diamond in the range, why? Because it is simply phenomenal fun. We jumped at the chance to test the current generation. ST-3 pricing starts at a hefty €29,898 – which used to be a far cry from the Fiesta entry point but not anymore. I had to double check the price list to confirm the cheapest Fiesta (1.1L/75hp) costs €19,007!

3-door ST

The ST-3 comes in three or five door body styles. The only other three door in the Fiesta range is available with the ST Line grade. Three door superminis always look good but are not bought in great numbers and often get dropped in favour of practicality. Outside out ST’s styling is subtle with our test car resplendent in ‘Silver Fox’ paint, 18 inch 5-spoke alloys with red brake callipers, twin exhausts, subtle ST badging and tailgate spoiler.

Inside there are all the toys like and nods to the ST’s sporty nature: Recaro leather sports front seats with grey and silver detailing are very supportive, Ford SYNC 3 connectivity (it is slowly getting better), navigation with 8” touchscreen and ‘FordPass Connect’ embedded modem (live traffic etc.), traffic sign recognition, B&O premium sound system, auto high beam headlights, auto air conditioning, driver alert, keyless entry/exit and stop/start and a flat bottomed steering wheel. Options on our test car included: BLIS (blind spot indicator), door edge cars (handy in tight car parks), LED dipped lights and DLRs, electric rear windows and its Silver Fox exterior paint colour. All in our car cost €32,449.

Our five door test car is fitted with the optional ‘performance pack’ this week that adds a brilliant ‘Quaife’ limited slip differential, launch control and performance shift indicators. An LSD makes a world of difference in a front wheel drive car when cornering. A limited slip diff reduces traction loss caused by wheel spin and can slingshot you through bends with real confidence.

Power to the front wheels comes form a potent 1.5 litre three cylinder EcoBoost engine. The turbocharged petrol engine pushes out 200hp and 290nm through a six-speed manual gearbox. 0-100km/h takes 6.5 seconds and the ST’s top speed is 232km/h. The ST weighs less than 1.3t and is remarkably nimble. The car can dart along and is eager to change direction with only the slightest turn of the sports wheel.

There are selectable drive modes that allow you either forget the car has buckets of performance potential (‘normal’) or if you select ‘sport’ or ‘track’ – the car will reward the driver with a very dynamic experience and the odd exhaust ‘parp’ or ‘burble’ too thanks to the ST’s electronic sound enhancement (ESE) technology and active exhaust noise control valve. This trickery helps deliver a very satisfying soundtrack to go with the driving experience.

The Fiesta ST-3 is giggle inducing and loves to act like a 9 month old puppy – it is that full of fun and energy – and worth every cent!

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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