Review: Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018)
Outstanding road handling. 1.6 EcoBoost engine has lots of torque. Practical and comfortable cabin. One of the best hot hatches money can buy.
Only available in three-door form. Rear seats can be a bit tight for large adults. Interior styling feels ordinary. High incidence of clutch and DMF failure.
Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018): At A Glance
Ford has always had a knack for creating hot hatches and few models can match the history and sheer performance of the diminutive Fiesta. Indeed, over the past 40 years, the little Ford has spawned a number of highly capable cars, with the XR2, RS Turbo and previous generation ST establishing themselves in the annuals of hot hatch history.
Now it’s the turn of the sixth generation Fiesta to get the high performance ST treatment. On the outside the Fiesta ST follows the styling of the Focus ST with a large gaping grille in the front bumper and a sports bodykit while at the back there's a body-coloured diffuser, twin exhausts and a roof spoiler.
As you’d expect it gets a number of upgrades over the standard model, with sports suspension, uprated brakes and a potent 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that produces 182PS – 20 per cent more power than the previous Fiesta ST. The hot Ford is also leaner and cleaner than its predecessor, with big improvements in economy and a 20 per cent drop in CO2 to 138g/km. Fuel consumption is also better, with a claimed 47.9mpg.
However, technically speaking, the Fiesta ST is one of the least powerful hot hatches on the market and its 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds is slower than the Peugeot 208 GTi and Renaultsport Clio. But don't be fooled into thinking the Fiesta ST is a slow car - it isn't. In fact, the latest ST is one of the fastest Fiestas ever to emerge from the ST stable.
On the road the Fiesta ST is extremely accomplished, with excellent acceleration and near perfect handling and grip. Unlike some of its rivals, the steering is razor sharp, with plenty of feedback, while 290Nm of torque ensures you’re never short of pace.
In fact, in our opinon, the Fiesta ST is the class leader in the small hot hatch market, due to its impressive performance and unparalleled flexibility. It's cheaper, more useable and better rounded than all of its rivals, while its improved economy means it isn't too expensive to run on a daily basis.
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Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
Like the standard Fiesta, the ST is a comfortable and spacious car to drive and travel in, with supportive seats and an abundance of head and leg room for those sitting in the front. Most of the trim and fixtures have been carried straight over from the standard Fiesta, but there are a few telling signs that this is no ordinary Ford, with ST badges, a racing gear stick and alloy pedals.
There are three trims to choose from – ST1, ST2 or ST3 – and base models are well kitted out, with air con, sport seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and Bluetooth. Spec up to ST2 and the interior improves with heated Recaro seats, Sony DAB audio and a four-inch colour display for the dashboard. The range topping ST3 adds sat nav, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and cruise control.
We wouldn’t describe any of the trim options as dramatic and some might struggle to tell the interiors apart from the standard Fiesta, but this is no bad thing. For us, the Fiesta is one of the best small cars money can buy and it’s understandable that Ford has sought to refine its formula, rather than rip it up and start over again.
The Fiesta ST is well suited to daily use, with a quiet and refined cabin that is well hushed on motorways and almost silent at low speeds. The dashboard has a wonderful simplicity that makes it a doddle to use, with simple controls for the air con, radio and infotainment system. The adjustable seats and steering wheel make it easy to find a good driving position. The driver also gets a clear sight of the road and a set of easy to read dials.
However, we are disappointed that Ford hasn't offered the Fiesta ST with five-doors and this can cause a bit of a problem when carrying adults in the back, because the Recaro seats are not the easiest things for passengers to climb over. Legroom is a bit limited for those over six foot in height.
The boot is a decent 290 litres in size, which drops to 276 litres if you specify an optional spare wheel. It might not sound like much, but there is enough space for a couple of small suitcases and the weekly shop. The cabin is also scattered with your usual mix of cup holders, cubby holes and pockets.
Standard equipment levels:
ST1 has 17-inch wheels, an ST bodykit, DAB audio with Sync, a leather trimmed steering wheel, ST floor mats, dual chrome exhaust, ST suspension, Quickclear windscreen and air con
ST2 adds halogen headlights with LED day running lights, Sony DAB audio with SYNC, privacy glass and the Ford power starter button.
ST3 comes with keyless entry, sat nav, cruise control, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-fold door mirrors with puddle lamps and electronic automatic temperature control.
Child seats that fit a Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018) like to drive?
The Fiesta ST is offered with just one engine - the 1.6-litre Ecoboost - which produces 182PS and 290Nm of torque. The four-cylinder engine is a huge step forward compared to the 2.0-litre Duratec found in the old Fiesta ST, with less road noise and better refinement. It also produces 20 per cent more power, while emitting 20 per cent less CO2, with 138g/km. Fuel consumption is better too, with a claimed 47.9mpg.
However, despite the gains in horsepower and torque, the Fiesta ST lags behind the competition on straight-line speed and its 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds is 0.1 slower than the Peugeot 208 GTi and 0.2 behind the Renault Clio Renaultsport. But the Ford does have a trump card with its torque - beating all of the competition with 290Nm.
Obviously, forcing all of that torque through the front-wheels presents its problems, but Ford keeps most of the torque steer gremlins at bay thanks to an electronic torque vectoring control system, which replicates a limited-slip differential.
On the road, the Fiesta ST's running gear does a brilliant job. In fact, the little Ford is almost without equal when it comes to outright performance. Indeed, with a slick six-speed gearbox providing the perfect gateway to its diminutive and punchy engine, the Fiesta ST sprints along with real gusto and is as nimble as a fox when it comes to changing direction.
The majority of power flows from 3000rpm, which means the Fiesta will gain traction in almost any gear. This makes the ST an incredibly rewarding car to drive, because you can overtake by simply dropping the throttle and not a gear.
Ford has also struck a great balance when it comes to handling. A lot of modern cars suffer from steering that's been overpowered, making the handling feel vague and detached from the road, yet Ford has spent a lot of time tinkering with the power steering system to get the balance just right.
At its zenith, the Fiesta ST is like a big go-kart, with instant acceleration and firm, responsive handling, which lets the driver throw the car into corners and power out of tight bends. The handling can also be tailored, thanks to an adjustable ESP system, which lets you switch off the computer aids.
The Fiesta ST is not a road hooligan though. In fact, if you ease up the throttle and leave the computer aids on, it can be transformed into an everyday run-around, with a practical cabin and large boot. For sure, the suspension is firm, but it never intrudes on the quality of the ride and at low speeds it feels like any other small hatch back. Things are also calm and serene on the motorway, with low road and engine noise, making the ST ideal for family transport or long runs.
If boy racing is your thing, then you can make the ST more raucous by fitting an optional power upgrade. For a fee, Ford’s in-house tuning experts Montune will provide an extra 33PS, which lowers the 0-62mph sprint to 6.7 seconds. For the majority of drivers, this will prove unnecessary, but we would recommend it to anyone who wants the ultimate hot hatch.
|1.6T 200||46 mpg||6.9 s||140 g/km|
|1.6T EcoBoost||46–48 mpg||6.9 s||138–141 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Ford Fiesta ST (2013 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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