RE: Ford Fiesta ST: PH Fleet

RE: Ford Fiesta ST: PH Fleet

Friday 12th October

Ford Fiesta ST: PH Fleet

Will an autumn and winter on three wheels in the ST reveal any cracks in its already stellar reputation?



Where better to collect the latest addition to PistonHeads' than at a World Rally Championship round? On the eve of the recent Wales Rally GB weekend, where M-Sport fielded its Fiesta WRC cars, we grabbed the keys to our new ST-3 in the Deeside service park. Then it was time for a chat with a few team personnel to gauge their thoughts on the only road-tyre wearing Fiesta in the paddock.

"I really like the day running lights," said one. "Looks great in this colour," another added. "Wonder how it'd do out on the stage," a third jested, and we laughed, unaware that we'd actually have a pretty good idea by lunchtime tomorrow, following an unexpected venture onto the mud usually reserved for WRC cars only.

But first let's introduce the car. It's a top-spec ST-3 in three-door form. We could have gone for the more practical five-door, but opted against it because team PH wanted the ST-est ST experience. Adding two weighty doors and reducing the body shell's solid area was therefore out of the question. Plus, the three-door just looks better, doesn't it?


Standard on the ST-3 are 18-inch five-spoke wheels wrapped in Michelin Super Sport tyres (it still feels slightly mad that a car of this size can wear such serious rubber), Recaro part leather seats with snug bolstering, as well as other mod cons including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay/Android Auto, a rear-view camera and keyless entry. It's borderline plush.

We know the ST well, what with having driven it in both normal and Performance Pack forms. We're in no doubt that the latter is the version to have simply because of that Quaife limited-slip differential, so it's the specification we have here. Although not even that effective LSD can extract much traction from the muddy slopes that surround Hiraethog, the location for the shakedown stage of Rally GB.

Let me explain. We were hoping to get the car as close as possible to the action for an explosive opening shot, and, well, we got significantly closer than planned. Somehow, after driving about three miles on damp tarmac and then sodden mud past the last marshal happy to let us through, we were at the stage start line. Not with spectators, no, it was PH in our new Fiesta ST and the WRC drivers, co-drivers and their cars.


We weren't sure if we were actually allowed here, but not wanting to waste an opportunity, we got the shot as the drivers blasted past, throwing mud into the air in an attempt to warm the cars before the start line. Or perhaps they knew PH wanted the shot and they were simply humouring us. Either way, it meant that the opening day of our latest long-termer's tenure was enhanced by much motorsport pedigree.

Not that all ST buyers are keen WRC fans, only interested in heading to a Ford dealer because Sebastien Ogier won in his M-Sport Fiesta later that weekend. The ST is a longstanding popular choice for motorists because it's such an effective all-rounder, one that offers laugh-out-loud front-drive dynamics as well as excellent economy and practicality. Rest assured we'll be exploring its full potential to see if it can maintain that image over the next few months.


Car: Ford Fiesta ST-3
On fleet since: October 2018
Run by: Sam Sheehan
List price new: £21,494 (As tested: £24,515 comprising £745 for Performance Blue paint, £600 for full LED headlights, £475 for blind spot information system, £850 for ST Performance Pack and for £350 B&O premium audio system).
Last month at a glance: The ST gets its hands dirty at Wales Rally GB.





Author
Discussion

Turbobanana

Original Poster:

1,185 posts

137 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Genuine question: how much cleaning kit does a photographer carry around? I mean, I've been to a few rallies (used to live in North Wales, in fact), and I know how quickly a car gets covered in thick, glutinous mud. Yet pics in the motoring press (online and in print) always feature pristine cars which, presumably, you journos get the snappers to clean. In the middle of a forest. With no jet wash.

J4CKO

25,758 posts

136 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
They are very tempting, I keep borrowing my sons 2015 one and to be honest I much prefer it to my M135i as a drivers car, less so as a daily proposition but the confidence these things inspire is fantastic, dont think there is a more fun and engaging proposition, wrapped in a fairly economical, practical package out there.

They have plenty enough power to be fun and feel like you are making good progress as well, you can extract all of the performance and feel like you are getting the best out of it, natural habitat is B roads.

If you need a bigger hot hatch, the I30N has a similar vibe.








C7 JFW

953 posts

155 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
This



Does not make me think "I must buy this"



Unless the ST Fiesta is being sold with 4 Wheel drive.

gazza5

431 posts

41 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
I don't like the alloys personally.

Interior has grown on me, so has the shape of the car. I haven't driven a st fiesta for a while, but could possibly be a car I would consider - but would have to test drive as heard the suspension can be hard and bouncy (got a golf r currently). Maybe something like the I30 N will be a better option for me but that's more £££

Mackofthejungle

780 posts

131 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Don't like the spec of tyres.. Surely a car like this should be on decent dry weather tyres, but be just about the most confidence inspiring, chuckable bundle of hilarity on the road in the wet?! It's not a serious car!

But more importantly, why is the rally car not sitting on ford forecourts? The lack of genuine homologation for sale is baffling. Everything is false. It's weird.
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geeks

3,729 posts

75 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Who selected these images? JJ Abrams? #lensflair!

Anyway, had a choice between this and the Abarth 595 Comp and I am still happy with my choice. The Fiesta just looks so boring, and those wheels are terrible. Even the colour is properly drab too, and you actually have to pay more for it to look that drab! They drive just fine but lack ultimate character, its all a bit... well like a Ford really, which I guess isn't a bad thing (wife has the new Focus and it's a good car) if a little soulless!

sgtbash

406 posts

72 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
geeks said:
Who selected these images? JJ Abrams? #lensflair!

Anyway, had a choice between this and the Abarth 595 Comp and I am still happy with my choice. The Fiesta just looks so boring, and those wheels are terrible. Even the colour is properly drab too, and you actually have to pay more for it to look that drab! They drive just fine but lack ultimate character, its all a bit... well like a Ford really, which I guess isn't a bad thing (wife has the new Focus and it's a good car) if a little soulless!
Haha yes, you do indeed seem to be very happy with your decision. No regrets at all!

geeks

3,729 posts

75 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
sgtbash said:
geeks said:
Who selected these images? JJ Abrams? #lensflair!

Anyway, had a choice between this and the Abarth 595 Comp and I am still happy with my choice. The Fiesta just looks so boring, and those wheels are terrible. Even the colour is properly drab too, and you actually have to pay more for it to look that drab! They drive just fine but lack ultimate character, its all a bit... well like a Ford really, which I guess isn't a bad thing (wife has the new Focus and it's a good car) if a little soulless!
Haha yes, you do indeed seem to be very happy with your decision. No regrets at all!
Well yes, I went for the 595 smile


kuiper

100 posts

63 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
C7 JFW said:
This



Does not make me think "I must buy this"



Unless the ST Fiesta is being sold with 4 Wheel drive.
Agreed. WRC has lost the plot. It's gone steadily downhill since all the myriad of works manufacturer teams pulled the plug in the mid naughties and has been in the duldrums for some while - introducing the space ship aero doesn't help the cause and certainly won't temp them back.

I had a good look round the McRae Focus and Impreza at carfest this year and what was most remarkable is that other than the interior and stickers the shells were pretty much identical to the road going versions.

LuS1fer

34,536 posts

181 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
I had a brief look at the new ST which even the Ford salesmen thought looked a bit dull. There is no flair to the styling and time has not and will not change ?my view.

This ST looks plain and, while the diff may make the difference, I replaced my Mk 7 ST with another Mk 7 ST with the Mountune upgrade and still think it looks way better and it's a far nicer blue.

Limpet

3,137 posts

97 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
They are very tempting, I keep borrowing my sons 2015 one and to be honest I much prefer it to my M135i as a drivers car, less so as a daily proposition but the confidence these things inspire is fantastic, dont think there is a more fun and engaging proposition, wrapped in a fairly economical, practical package out there.

They have plenty enough power to be fun and feel like you are making good progress as well, you can extract all of the performance and feel like you are getting the best out of it, natural habitat is B roads.

If you need a bigger hot hatch, the I30N has a similar vibe.
I'm not surprised, to be honest. I haven't driven an ST, but I have driven an ST Line (140PS 1.0) and a cooking 100PS 1.0, and they really do feel good, with great balance, and agility. It reminds me of Peugeots of a certain era, in that the base materials are fundamentally right, so the hot versions have a really good platform to build on.

When you get out of a shopping spec version of a car thinking "that drives really well", it always bodes well for the fast models.

Rawwr

21,074 posts

170 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
I had one for a day. It's a fantastic little thing but the steering irritated me to distraction. The initial lurch off-center is too much and the self-centering made me want to eat my own face off in frustration.

MK1RS Bruce

145 posts

74 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
Don't like the spec of tyres.. Surely a car like this should be on decent dry weather tyres, but be just about the most confidence inspiring, chuckable bundle of hilarity on the road in the wet?! It's not a serious car!

But more importantly, why is the rally car not sitting on ford forecourts? The lack of genuine homologation for sale is baffling. Everything is false. It's weird.
This is rubbish, you can walk up to M-sport any day of the week and buy anything from an R1 fiesta to a full on WRC car whether you can afford to or would want to drive around in a rally car is the question. If there was a rally version with 4wd and sequential box etc but in road trim do you think anyone would buy it? The issue is that all this technology is expensive and no one in their right mind is going to buy a fiesta that costs north of 50K (that is the max ford could expect to charge for such an item, not what i expect a 4wd road rally car to cost before the trolls appear). That then leaves the option of creating a fiesta similar to the likes of an S1 200ish BHP and haldex type 4wd and would that be as fun as the new ST is, unlikely!

mooseracer

388 posts

106 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
gazza5 said:
I don't like the alloys personally.

Interior has grown on me, so has the shape of the car. I haven't driven a st fiesta for a while, but could possibly be a car I would consider - but would have to test drive as heard the suspension can be hard and bouncy (got a golf r currently). Maybe something like the I30 N will be a better option for me but that's more £££
If you're concerned about harsh suspension then I'd say no, an I30n isn't for you.

J4CKO

25,758 posts

136 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Limpet said:
J4CKO said:
They are very tempting, I keep borrowing my sons 2015 one and to be honest I much prefer it to my M135i as a drivers car, less so as a daily proposition but the confidence these things inspire is fantastic, dont think there is a more fun and engaging proposition, wrapped in a fairly economical, practical package out there.

They have plenty enough power to be fun and feel like you are making good progress as well, you can extract all of the performance and feel like you are getting the best out of it, natural habitat is B roads.

If you need a bigger hot hatch, the I30N has a similar vibe.
I'm not surprised, to be honest. I haven't driven an ST, but I have driven an ST Line (140PS 1.0) and a cooking 100PS 1.0, and they really do feel good, with great balance, and agility. It reminds me of Peugeots of a certain era, in that the base materials are fundamentally right, so the hot versions have a really good platform to build on.

When you get out of a shopping spec version of a car thinking "that drives really well", it always bodes well for the fast models.
We have a Zetec aswell, ecoboost triple ad the sporting intent is nowhere near ST levels, but show it a B road and its very good, nowhere near as planted and direct, but, lean on it and take the initial slop out of the suspension and the talent is there, the ST is another level though.

I was going to mention certain Peugeot hatches, but decided not as people can get weird about anyone comparing anything that which has been cannonized and ascded to the Petrolheads hall of fame.

I drove 205 GTI's 'a few times and there is a certain echo with the ST, I used to enjoy driving XR2's back then but the 205 was on another planet, the XR2 did the go kart thing quite well but ran out of ideas in comparison, the ST feels more like a spiritual successor to the 205 than an XR2.

Dont get me wrong, the M135i does a great job but if I had to choose which to take down a winding B road, it wouldnt be the BMW, its a "Junior Supercar" biggrin whereas the ST is is every inch the dictionary definition of Hot Hatch, brought up to date, sort of makes the big power 4wd ones feel like overkill really, if you just want a fun car.

Need to scrounge a go in my brothers Focus ST for comparison.

I was tempted but three Fiestas on the drive would just be weird, 2 is bad enough.


MK1RS Bruce

145 posts

74 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
kuiper said:
WRC has lost the plot. It's gone steadily downhill since all the myriad of works manufacturer teams pulled the plug in the mid naughties and has been in the duldrums for some while - introducing the space ship aero doesn't help the cause and certainly won't temp them back.

I had a good look round the McRae Focus and Impreza at carfest this year and what was most remarkable is that other than the interior and stickers the shells were pretty much identical to the road going versions.
Firstly WRC has plenty of manufacturers in it at the moment, hyundai, toyota, citreon as full works teams then ford as a semi works team and skoda in WRC2.

The speed and performance of the current WRC cars is incredible and they are far more spectacular than a few years ago, they are as close to the likes of the group B machines as they have ever been which everyone seems to think was the pinnacle of rallying. The problem is that the coverage of WRC is rubbish so it doesn't appeal to the mass market.

Finally if you think McRae focus is anything like a road going version you are very much mistaken, yes the outline might be similar but the shell and running gear are completely different, I have a mk1 RS which is probably as extreme a focus road car as there ever was and its nothing like the WRC machines of 98-02.

LuS1fer

34,536 posts

181 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
I was going to mention certain Peugeot hatches .. I drove 205 GTIs a few times and there is a certain echo with the ST, I used to enjoy driving XR2's back then but the 205 was on another planet, the XR2 did the go kart thing quite well but ran out of ideas in comparison, the ST feels more like a spiritual successor to the 205 than an XR2.
I never understood the hype with the 205 GTi save it looked good and was a an iconically "right" design, not seem since the original Mini, which meant it sold in bucketloads to petrolheads and people who knew sweet FA beyond it being cute (see also "Fiat 500")
.
I bought the main rival, at the time, the R5 GT Turbo, with a boost upgrade to an alleged 150PS and by god, that was fun and far more the spiritual ancestor to the current turbo hatches and with it's own retro R5 look which possibly appealed less in the cute department. The iconic advert of the time showed it doing 0-60 then the rest of the ad was a picture of kittens (not PC any more, oh no, encouraging speeding on a drag strip!!!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi2dYkgbYpY

The XR2 of the time was nowhere, dynamically. The XR3i was at least competitive with the Golf GTI but the Fiesta never really came good again (not even as an RS Turbo or RS 1800) until the Mk 7 ST (the Mk 6 I loved but 150hp was never enough).

Additionally, it is pretty much Renault that we have to thank for the Mk 7 Fiesta ST, after Ford's refusal to address the Clio's superiority for so many years (Peugeot had long since dropped the baton). When they finally stepped up, they finally did it right, in terms of styling and performance. If only this ST had looked good instead of that "sucked in cheeks" look they seem to have gone for.

blade7

8,242 posts

152 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
I never rated the 205 GTI on the twisty stuff either, I recall someone putting one on it's roof chasing me in an mildly modified Escort RS2000, and leaving another one behind in a series one Escort RS turbo. Back on topic, nearly £25k for a Fiesta yikes

LuS1fer

34,536 posts

181 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
blade7 said:
I never rated the 205 GTI on the twisty stuff either, I recall someone putting one on it's roof chasing me in an mildly modified Escort RS2000, and leaving another one behind in a series one Escort RS turbo. Back on topic, nearly £25k for a Fiesta yikes
Carwow and their ilk will get you an ST2 for well under £20k.

WCZ

6,023 posts

130 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
waiting to see what tuning options are available before buying as the standard car is a bit underpowered