Fiesta ST: then and now

Ford has announced this morning that production has commenced on the new Fiesta ST. We brought you news last month of its promised low price, 180hp 1.6-litre engine and six-speed manual box, and while there was a generous amount of appreciation for the new model on the comments thread, we noticed there was also plenty of love for the previous-generation car. So we went for a root through the classifieds to see what's about.

ST was a real giggle to drive fast
ST was a real giggle to drive fast
You can see why people fell for Ford's last fast Fiesta. A series of well-judged body addenda deftly turned the standard Mk6's slightly frumpy shape into something a whole lot more appealing. Power came from a torquey 2.0-litre Duratec engine that felt quicker than its 150hp headline figure would suggest, but the real hook was the ST's handling. It was a laugh riot; supremely chuckable, light on its feet, and effortlessly nimble, with meaty steering that provided vast amounts of feel and feedback.

There was more, though. Ford's approved aftermarket supplier Mountune developed a series of upgrades that have proven extremely popular with ST buyers. 185hp could be had while still retaining Ford's warranty (or 200hp without) by means of a set of cams and a handful of other upgrades, giving the Fiesta the sort of grunt it needed to become a credible rival to the Clio 182.

Can we have this one please?
Can we have this one please?
Of course, those upgrades can be applied retrospectively, which is rather good news when ST prices have dropped off as much as they have now. As little as £2,550 gets you intoone, if you're willing to live with a slightly daggy Cat D. Spend a little more, though, and you can end up in a super-clean pre-facelift or even a post-facelift example that looks straight and relatively unmolested, albeit seemingly without a service record. We'd plump for the former, bearing in mind the facelift amounted to new lights and a smattering of detail cosmetics around the car. Or we'd spend £500 more and end up with a good, clean example that comes with history. Of course, if you've money to burn, this low-mileage facelift with Mountune's full-fat 200hp kit and a plethora of other upgrades should be a hoot.

In other words, if you fancy a slice of Fiesta ST but haven't quite got the folding to fritter away on the new model, don't fret - the old one still has plenty to recommend it, and at these prices it seems a cracking deal.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (64) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DFB 12 Feb 2013

    LuS1fer said:
    A complete derail, my apologies - but this word is new to me and sounds/reads so awesome.

    Can't wait to find a reason to use it in a conversation.

  • ezi 11 Feb 2013

    Jam0r said:
    ST should of come with the MT185 kit as standard really. So much better to drive although the cams do make it a bit awkward around town when the engine is cold.

    I've had mine since June 09 and it's not put a foot wrong. It's was supercharged too which was interesting to say the least, a real head turner!
    Are the Piper cams really THAT bad? I'm still umming and arring over which ones to go for on mine and am leaning toward Newman as they are a bit more mild which should be easier to live with every day.

  • Jam0r 11 Feb 2013

    ST should of come with the MT185 kit as standard really. So much better to drive although the cams do make it a bit awkward around town when the engine is cold.

    I've had mine since June 09 and it's not put a foot wrong. It's was supercharged too which was interesting to say the least, a real head turner!

  • LuS1fer 11 Feb 2013

    The durability of the gearbox is not within my knowledge. It is good to use though and can be chucked round the gate fairly swiftly. Not in the same league as a CTR but good to use.

  • Froomee 11 Feb 2013

    ezi said:
    LuS1fer said:
    I bought a facelift (better looking IMHO) 2007 model with 34k on the clock at the end of last year. Performance Blue is a great colour.

    I love the chunky styling which has a touch of timeless/classlessness about it which I think the new "waspy" version lacks. It has that reserved tasteful appearance that doesn't go overboard "boy-racer". I like that.

    I began looking at Clio 172/182s but couldn't live with their flimsiness and they seemed dated inside.

    Contemporaneous road tests suggested the Zetec S was the better handler but I haven't driven one and have nothing particularly negative to say about the ST's steering. It is firm, weighty, sharp and while it may lack feedback, the car is so chunky that you can't fail to feel what it's up to.

    It has GREAT visibility, unlike modern cars. It is short, compact and has THREE rear seat belts, a massive bonus for 3 child families.

    It is not perfect. The build quality is not great and it squeaks a bit. The grey instruments look a bit naff. The dash layout isn't great. The Ford heated windscreen is the last gen version so works "in parts" but it's better than nothing (our 2009 Mondeo is vastly better). the key is the old Ford "stick" (Mondeo is the traditional flat blade).

    The stereo is not great. It took a while to realise it was a 6CD changer but they have a propensity to not eject (piece of card required)so I stick to one CD (no issues).

    The main bugbear is that it is fairly low-geared so it is not a motorway car and some might consider it noisy (it is a hot hatch).

    Mine is averaging around 32mpg which is not much better than the 09 Mondeo which uses the same engine but certainly seems to have a beefier clutch and gearbox. HOWEVER, the fuel tank is small and requires filling a lot because of that.

    The other issue can be the brakes which had cheap pads in when I got mine as they felt like glass but a set of EBC Green Stuff pads (£107) restored confidence though they are still not as good as the Mondeo's.

    Only other "complaints" is the seat belts are a long way back if you're short and the single note horn is extremely embarassing (often replaced by a Focus item but you have to take the headlight out to access it). Taking headlights out to change bulbs is reqired too but it's DIY-able.

    So after several months ownership, am I delighted or disappointed? Well, I confess I love the car, it has character in spades, it's a hoot to drive and chuck about and park, has a nice gearbox, it looks great and 150hp is really more than enough to ensure enjoyability - you don't get much in the way of unruly torque steer (not that I think the clutch would stand a huge amount of abuse) and I like the handling even though, being short, the rear end will happily let go (easily caught with the reasobaly quick rack).

    I think it suffers next to higher powered hatches but I did find that makes them harder to sell so you can get a bargain if you haggle hard enough.

    I did have a front spring break and that lathed off an inch of tread and I have had a rear wheel bearing replaced (sqeaking like a stamped rat).

    Edited by LuS1fer on Friday 8th February 12:36
    A nice gearbox? It's one of the cars worst features! Clunky, 5 speed when it should be 6 and I don't recall hearing of any other model of car smashing as many gearboxes up. The IB5 box is an absolute piece of st.
    I have to agree with this comment depite liking the car the gearbox was woeful, on my ST500 it went after 13,000 miles although that may have been down to my lack of sympathy biggrin

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