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!
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.