RE: Ford Fiesta ST

Thursday 27th December 2007

Ford Fiesta ST

Hot Fiestas have always been about providing cheap thrills to the masses. Ollie Stallwood finds out if the latest ST carries on the tradition...



Since the brisk but brash Fiesta XR2i disappeared over ten years it is almost as if Ford lost interest with the whole small hot hatch thing, instead coming across all mature. There were a few warm Fiestas knocking about but while Ford managed to turn the bread and butter Mondeo and Focus models into great drivers cars the hot Fiesta bloodline that began with the XR2 in 1981 appeared to be fading away. That all changed in 2004 with the Fiesta ST, the ‘ST’ moniker presumably now being used by Ford to stop insurance salesmen slamming the phone down when you muttered the letters ‘XR’. Not only did the Fiesta ST promise to be a proper fast small Ford, by this point the company had developed something of a Midas touch when it came to chassis design. If even the cooking Fords could handle sweetly then then Ford fans expected the 2.0 litre Fiesta ST to be a gem.


At first glance the blue ST that we drove looked understated but smart, with the spoiler and side skirts giving it a subtle aggression rather than an all-out racer look. This can be easily rectified by going for the ‘Exterior Styling Pack’ which adds ‘over-the-top stripes’ (Ford’s words, not ours), side stripes, or a combination of both. Personally I would just stick to the side stripes. The ST has 17” alloys, a mesh grille and a lowered stance but overall it is difficult to hide the fact the design is starting to look slightly dated and it lacks the visual appeal of the Mini Cooper, Renault Clio Sport 197 and the Vauxhall Corsa VXR.

Inside it is everything you would expect from a Ford – the controls are well laid out, simple and everything works well. This car had supportive full leather seats (part-leather come as standard) which were easy to get comfortable in. Unfortunately I couldn’t help thinking it could feel a little more special considering this is the ultimate Fiesta. The worst part for me was the blue dashboard that looked like it had been inspired by an early Eighties Datsun.


Although the cabin is not an unpleasant place to be it could have been sportier.You quickly forget the cabin’s shortcomings however when you are on the move. The suspension is not as hard as a Corsa VXR and although this may not work to its advantage on a track on bumpy, urban roads it is easier to make progress and perhaps more fun. The Fiesta quickly brings a smile to your face and the chassis feels composed and lively. The steering has been made 10% quicker and has decent feel, making you want to push the ST harder and harder. The close-ratio gearbox has a short-shift and feels precise, allowing you to snick through the gears as you hustle the little Fiesta along.

There is no shortage of grip from the Pirelli P Zero tyres and the Fiesta feels like it wants cock a rear wheel as you pile it into a corner. The front springs have been considerably stiffened and a revised design for the front suspension knuckle provides more negative


camber to the front suspension to generate more front end grip. The rear springs have also been stiffened and the dampers modified to suit the ST. The Fiesta feels agile, and at the same time is bags of fun, making you look forward to getting back in it every morning.

Surprisingly the ST is the first Fiesta with rear disc brakes and 258mm x 22mm front ventilated discs have been fitted with larger calipers and pads from the Focus ST170, giving the car impressive stopping power. The 1999cc Duratec engine has 148 bhp but the downside doesn’t feel as quick as perhaps it should, sounding slightly course when revved hard. It has a low inertia fly-wheel and there is better throttle response than the Corsa VXR, but the Vauxhall is much quicker. The £13,622 Fiesta should do 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 129mph, but the car feels brisk rather than red hot. This, however, doesn’t matter a great deal. The beauty of the Fiesta ST is that it is not too hard core, with with ultimate speed in place of any kind of refinement.


Somehow despite the power deficit of say the Corsa VXR or the Clio 197, but it is a lot of fun going from A to B. The whole package has a simplicity that is strangely endearing, and reminds you of the early Fiestas that may never have been the most sophisticated cars on the road but were often the biggest laugh.

Author
Discussion

NiallOswald

Original Poster:

326 posts

147 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
The power defecit is easy enough to rectify - http://www.pumaspeed.co.uk/showdetails.php?id=239

bob1179

13,975 posts

150 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
I think it's a cracking little car, I also like the fact Ford seem not to be playing the mega power hot hatch game and have concentrated on making a car thats fun to drive.

smile

RichyBoy

3,519 posts

158 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Think I would have a new panda 100hp for half the money, similar performance and more fun.

Welshbeef

36,257 posts

139 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
RichyBoy said:
Think I would have a new panda 100hp for half the money, similar performance and more fun.
And where do you buy a brand new Pansda 100HP for £6.5k?? Drive the deals best ever was £9k and thats £2k odd off list price - me thinks you have having a giraffe.

Gizmo535

18,150 posts

150 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Sounds like good fun. I can't quite get my head around the concept of 200bhp in a small FWD runabout... of course, the current Fiesta, Clio, etc aren't exactly small any more (probably bigger than a Mk1 Escort I'd guess, certainly bigger than a 205, maybe almost 306 size?) so that might make a difference. Still, in a hot hatch I'd rather have something you can drive the doors off everywhere (the old James Hunt plan) rather than having to keep it reined in.

Notwithstanding that, can't help thinking that perhaps this is the 'warm' version, and there will at some point (perhaps make that 'should') be a truly hot 'RS' version, like the Audi S/RS idea...

Oh, and shoot the proofreader wink
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pbirkett

12,386 posts

213 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
I looked at one of these before I ended up with a Clio 182.

The latter was cheaper, handled better, looked better, was lighter, had a better engine, was more powerful and considerably faster.

A no-brainer. The Fiesta has a wheezy 2.0 litre from a Mondeo, and looks a van.

Sorry, I'm not a fan. Plus only 148 bhp in something not far shy of 1200 kg is not exactly exciting.

patchst

185 posts

141 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
The blue dashboard does grow on you after a while. I really hated it when I first got mine but now just ignore it.

Welshbeef

36,257 posts

139 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
pbirkett said:
I looked at one of these before I ended up with a Clio 182.

The latter was cheaper, handled better, looked better, was lighter, had a better engine, was more powerful and considerably faster.

A no-brainer. The Fiesta has a wheezy 2.0 litre from a Mondeo, and looks a van.

Sorry, I'm not a fan. Plus only 148 bhp in something not far shy of 1200 kg is not exactly exciting.
Does the steering wheel adj for helight as well as reach in the 182? Im 6'2" tall and the Mk1 172 steering wheel was fixed for height which meant my legs were jammed tight by it so I didnt buy it.

pbirkett

12,386 posts

213 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Welshbeef, I'm pretty sure mine did as I used to have it on the lowest setting.

dinkel

24,893 posts

199 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
I'm 1.86 m and I don't fit!

Welshbeef

36,257 posts

139 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
pbirkett said:
Welshbeef, I'm pretty sure mine did as I used to have it on the lowest setting.
Was the vRS a better car than the 182?/any regreats changing it?

texasjohn

3,685 posts

172 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
I am assuming you are talking about the Fabia here...Put it this way, the VRS wins on fuel economy, ride comfort and boot space biggrin I've owned both, although the 182 only a few days so far.

The vRS is a good car for what it is, as is the 182. Both 'hot' hatches of course but at different ends of the scale; vRS is warm and the clio is hot. The clio is raw, quick, handles much much better. The vRS on the other hand is the better all round car. When I say all round I am taking into account things other than performance, such as running costs, comfort etc.

I'd pick the Fabia as an only car and remap it, or take the Clio as a second / weekend car.




Dimski

2,057 posts

140 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Me Ma has one, and they are great little things. I have been in the car with her pushing it, and it is capable of rapid progress on twisty, bumpy roads.

Quick enough, and great to drive. Yes not ultimately as quick as a Clio, but a damn good all rounder. Personally, I dont like Clio's interiors (great seats though) and the fiesta, although dull is well laid out.

Good review guys thumbup

heisthegaffer

1,146 posts

139 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
I have a 182 and although the economy would be way off a Fabia VRS I feel it is very reasonable on long journeys for the performance, I regulary get between 35 and 42mpg on long motorway runs and can get 450 miles plus out of a tank if I'm careful.

I love the performance (I think it surprises people), looks and spec and touch wood, it has been reliable. I have however been in a re-mapped VRS and it was extremely punchy, if rather on and off.

Either way I feel the Fiesta is totally way of the mark for it's class or maybe it's because the 182/VRS/Corsa VXR/197 etc etc deliver more than people expect.

Dimski

2,057 posts

140 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
heisthegaffer said:
I have a 182 and although the economy would be way off a Fabia VRS I feel it is very reasonable on long journeys for the performance, I regulary get between 35 and 42mpg on long motorway runs and can get 450 miles plus out of a tank if I'm careful.

I love the performance (I think it surprises people), looks and spec and touch wood, it has been reliable. I have however been in a re-mapped VRS and it was extremely punchy, if rather on and off.

Either way I feel the Fiesta is totally way of the mark for it's class or maybe it's because the 182/VRS/Corsa VXR/197 etc etc deliver more than people expect.
I agree that it is off the outright pace of the Clio and Corsa, and not as sharp a handler as the Clio, but it is very tidy, and not far off. And without a shadow of doubt it is far quicker than the diesel VRS.

I like the VRS, but dont forget, TG compared it with a Cooper, not a Cooper S, and if memory serves the Fiesta ST managed to lap quicker (Autocar I think) than a Cooper S, which must say something about the chassis and grip of the fiesta that it lapped quicker than the more powerful Mini, itself a great handling car.

You make your own choices... and I like these little Fords.

biglepton

5,042 posts

142 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Welshbeef said:
RichyBoy said:
Think I would have a new panda 100hp for half the money, similar performance and more fun.
And where do you buy a brand new Pansda 100HP for £6.5k?? Drive the deals best ever was £9k and thats £2k odd off list price - me thinks you have having a giraffe.
Nowhere I would think. The best price I can find is £8395.

http://www.fiatsupasaver.com/ItemDetail.aspx?mID=2...

pbirkett

12,386 posts

213 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Welshbeef said:
pbirkett said:
Welshbeef, I'm pretty sure mine did as I used to have it on the lowest setting.
Was the vRS a better car than the 182?/any regreats changing it?
Wow I love the way this thread changed to the 182 versus the vRS.... hehe

To be honest, if I could only have either one, I'd have the 182. It was still relatively economical, the vRS was not as much so as you might think if driven in the intended spirit.

The 182 was faster and handled better. It was also better equipped.

The vRS was more refined, felt more like a "barge" in a small package IMO. Diesel engine not as much fun to thrash.

Even so, the thought of a 182 as a weekend only car is puzzling to me. One reason I got rid of it for the ITR is because the 182 was just too refined and not focused enough for me. I wanted something RAW, but didnt have the budget for an Elise, and wanted something with some practicality, yet much of the focus and fun, so the DC2 fits the bill for me.

Even so, I'd still take the 182 over a Fezzy ST any day of the week. I'd probably take a vRS over one as well, as I just dont like the way the Fezzy looks at all.

flattotheboards

6,668 posts

147 months

Thursday 27th December 2007
quotequote all
Getting back to the original subject i would take the clio 197 over the fiesta st anyday.

Zad

11,805 posts

177 months

Friday 28th December 2007
quotequote all
Blimey! A Fester that weighs as much as my XR4x4!


patmy

71 posts

154 months

Friday 28th December 2007
quotequote all
I've got a ST chose it over the clio 182 because for the same money as a used clio you get 3 year warrenty, the fiesta is alot better bult than a Renault, AND i have no terouble keeping up with my mates 182 on the twisty's!