By Declan Glynn
The previous-generation Ford Fiesta ST was always a brilliant car to drive, but it suffered from a challenging ride quality when faced with an uneven road surface.
The new Fiesta ST has been designed, and engineered, for even greater mass-market appeal than ever before, with a pioneering three-cylinder engine ready to combine performance and efficiency in rare proportions, and a suspension tuned for a more balanced, comfortable ride.
Ford’s all-new, all-aluminium, 1497cc three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine takes pride of place in the new Fiesta ST. Producing 197bhp (200PS) and a healthy 290Nm of torque, this new engine replaces the old car’s 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder unit.
Advantages of the new engine in the new Fiesta ST are many, including the fact that it creates a broader band of peak torque than the old four-cylinder unit, it’s lighter too, and it is also the world’s first three-cylinder automotive engine that can switch to two-cylinder operation under low load conditions.
By marginally downsizing the new ST’s engine, Ford have made advances in fuel economy, while also enabling the new car to be cheaper to run than its predecessor.
Selectable Driving Modes
The all-new Fiesta ST is available with 3 selectable driving modes – Normal, Sport, and Track. Each setting fine tunes the cars performance by modifying engine mapping, throttle positioning, brake pedal and steering response. With a combination of Enhanced Torque Vectoring, Electronic Stability Control, and a performance tuned chassis, optimum handling is guaranteed.
My review car was a new Ford Fiesta ST3 (200PS) 5-Door, and was finished in ‘Silver Fox’ metallic paint. Standard ST3 specification includes 18” machined alloy wheels, powerfold mirrors, large rear spoiler, partial-leather Recaro Performance Seats, satellite navigation, keyless entry, rear view camera, rear parking sensors, auto highbeam assist, driver alert, road sign recognition, auto wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, and a leather steering wheel with red stitching.
As we have come to expect from Ford of late, the car is also laden with an impressive array of standard comfort features, along with the very latest safety technology – allowing the new Fiesta to achieve a full 5-star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash test rating.
Quality materials are used throughout the cabin of the new Fiesta ST, while good levels of interior space are matched by an equally generous 311-litre boot, with the prospect of dropping the rear seat backs to dramatically increase the space on offer.
The new Fiesta ST’s engine is fantastic, as it pulls enthusiastically from low revs, and is accompanied by a muscular, growling soundtrack that is enhanced tastefully by a “Sound Symposer” which pipes engine noise through to the interior, with proper pops and cracks from the sports exhaust.
This is a car that can be happily driven with the radio volume down to zero, as the glorious noises from the car’s exhaust will be music to many keen motorists ears.
The pure enjoyment of the new Fiesta ST’s engine is enhanced by the car’s standard six-speed manual gearbox, which has a slick, short lever, and well-stacked gear ratios. Cruising at a relaxed pace allows cylinder deactivation to occur (where the car can run on just two cylinders to save fuel), but it is extremely difficult to tell this is happening.
There’s nothing on the dash to indicate any switchover, and no perceivable change in sound or smoothness inside. With the Fiesta ST capable of completing a 0-100km sprint in just 6.0-seconds, and with a top speed of 232km achieveable, this is certainly one seriously entertaining performance car, and is modern-day engineering at its very best.
Outstanding Fuel Economy
The major advantage of the cylinder deactivation system in the new Fiesta ST is that the car is capable of consuming as little 7.0-litres of petrol for every 100km’s driven on a WLTP (real-world driving) extra-urban cycle.
Pricing & Verdict
The new Ford Fiesta ST range starts at just €29,394 (ex-works) in 3-door guise, while a 5-door bodystyle costs an additional €575.