2013 Ford Fiesta ST – The return of a proper Ford hot-hatch?

The long awaited addition to the latest Fiesta range is over. Designed and developed by Ford’s ‘Team RS’ the new Fiesta ST does more than look the part! The turbocharged 1.6-litre power plant propels the car from 0-62 in 6.9 seconds, then onwards to a 137 mph top speed. This is achieved through its impressive 182PS Ecoboost engine coupled to the 6-sp DuraShift (B6) manual gearbox delivering 240Nm of torque, effective from 1500 to approx 5000 rpm. Which is highly useful in real terms, i.e. 4th gear acceleration between 31-62 mph takes 6.4 seconds.

As indicated above this Fiesta owes its design, performance and handling attributes to the RS team at Ford who carried out a 3000 mile pre-production test programme at the Nordschleife circuit near Nürburg in Germany. Amongst an array of other benefits and changes to its highly acclaimed Fiesta stable mates this particular variant has a specially tuned chassis, 15mm lower than the standard car. That and the ‘Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control’ system were designed with the above turbocharged Ecoboost engine in mind to maximise handling and performance.

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What’s it like to drive?
TalkFord recently tested the new Fiesta ST, putting it through its paces at the Millbrook Proving Ground near Bedford which has routes emulating a variety of different roads and driving conditions; from handling checks through a network of steep climbs with camber changes and hard braking zones, to a 5-lane 2-mile long banked circuit (high speed bowl) for 100+ mph for additional performance testing.

The TalkFord test at Millbrook initially took the car through its paces through the undulating turns of the infamous “Hill Route”. Being mindful that the engine was turbocharged the expectation was to experience torque-steer and/or turbo-lag during a ‘spirited drive’; how wrong we were. Power and torque through the well-ratioed gearbox was both smooth and predictable adding balance to what was a surefooted performance throughout the route. Whilst handling appeared flawless for a car of this size; akin to the proverbial roller-skate, it was on the cusp of being traded off for ride comfort as this became a little harsh when encountering the deliberately placed bumps and other typical ‘road features’ on this Millbrook route. That said, it was far from a distressing drive and the trade-off could be considered very acceptable in terms of real world of ownership regards long/medium/short-distance driving.

Adding to this handling test was an exercise to ensure that the braking system could arrest speed in proportion to the cars power and handling performance. Therefore on the third run of the Hill Route the brakes were applied to emulate different road scenarios whilst pacing the car through the fast, steep downhill sections. In all cases the brakes pulled the car to a sharp yet controlled stop without any drama or hint of brake fade. Torque delivery during the Hill Route runs provided an effortless and gusty pace, often making it unnecessary to shift to a lower gear to keep the engine ‘on the boil’.

With part-1 complete we ventured onto the high speed bowl to complete the road test. Unfortunately a 100 mph limit was imposed on the day; however this was adequate when you consider typical motorway speeds used by UK motorists. Coming onto the ‘loop’ from the ramp gave equally surefooted acceleration to that of the Hill Route tests; executed slickly through the gearbox to our maximum speed of the day. A few laps were carried out to check speed pickup (in top gear) and slow-down using engine braking whilst noting changes to ascertain cabin noise levels, and other driver fatigue factors. During this process we were perfectly able to hold a conversation in the cabin or listen to the radio without the need to increase volume. Wind and tyre noise was noted, albeit acceptable as the noise intrusion was probably amplified because of the relatively quiet engine when on the cruise.

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Styling/ Refinement / Interior / Specifications
build quality inside and out appears to be of a high standard with the exterior following the latest Ford corporate styling; especially the imposing front-end which sports a large black ‘honeycomb trapezoidal’ grille which is not unlike the signature look of Aston Martin. A suitably-sized roof spoiler, twin air-vents and twin-exit exhaust complete the ST look at the rear.

Currently there are two trim levels available and a style-pack:

  • Standard ‘ST’ specification includes; 17” alloys, Tinted glass, Halogen projector headlights, ST front fog lamps, Recaro cloth seats, Thatcham Cat-1 alarm system, Ford DAB radio, SYNC connectivity, Ford MyKey, and air-conditioning.
  • The ST2 adds to the above trim level with; LED daytime running lights (DRLs), Privacy glass, leather-trimmed heated Recaro seats, Sony DAB radio, and Ford keyless start.
  • To enhance the ‘sporty’ appearance further a ‘Style Pack’ is available for either of the above trim levels. This pack includes Rado-grey 5-spoke alloys, red-painted brake callipers and illuminated scuff plates. NOTE: at the time of writing TalkFord were informed that the Style-Pack was available FREE of charge but may become optional extra in the future.

The exterior of our Fiesta was finished in the ‘Molten Orange’ colour with the ST2 trim level and ‘Style Pack’ fitted. This combination was certainly striking with the Rado-grey wheels providing a refined contemporary appearance yet hinting at the Ford cloverleaf design which harks back to the days when it manufactured the XR marque. The interior follows suit to the outside by also having a high-contrast theme in a similar colour scheme. For a small car the equipment level is remarkably high, the Recaro seats enhance the driving experience and the general fixtures and fittings appear to be quite robust to withstand years of use.

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Running Costs
Compared to its 2.0-litre predecessor this Fiesta has a more frugal and environmentally friendly side with a claimed 58.9 mpg (extra urban) and 138g/km Co2 emissions which equates to a reduction of approx 20%. Engine size and improved emissions yields a reasonable VED cost, adding to a relatively low cost of ownership and with prices starting at just £16,995 “on the road” the picture becomes evidently clear as to why the Ecoboost engine is the future for petrol engined vehicles.

TalkFord.com Rating
This car deserves 4.8 stars. It can hold its own, almost rising above the rest of the ‘hot hatch’ pack currently available yet has a very good practical side to it for general use. This is notwithstanding the adjustable boot-load floor in addition to the usual expansion of load capacity dependant on what split-rear seat combination is folded down. It has very good all-round performance, yet feels very well mannered and under driver control regardless of conditions set and, it is cheap to run in relative terms. If you are considering a ‘hot hatch’ then the Fiesta ST is worth a test drive!

 

Full Specs:

Fiesta ST (1.6T Ecoboost)
Available body styles: 3-door hatch only
OTR Price: ‘ST’ £16995, ‘ST2’ £17995
VED: £125 pa (May 2013)
CO2: 138g/km
Engine: 4-Cyl turbo EcoBoost
Fuel: Petrol (tank capacity = 42-litres)
Capacity: 1596cc
Max Power: 182PS, at 5700 rpm
Max Torque: 240Nm, effective from 1500 to 5000 rpm
Gears: 6-speed manual DuraShift (B6)
Urban: 35.8 mpg
Extra Urban: 58.9 mpg
Combined: 47.9 mpg
Max Speed: 137 mph
0-62: 6.9 seconds
31-62: 6.4 seconds (4th gear)
Length: 3975mm
Width: 1978mm (with mirrors extended), 1787mm (with mirrors folded back)
Height: 1456mm
Suspension/ Control systems: MacPherson strut (front), Torsion beam (rear) / 3-mode Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and enhanced Torque Vectoring System (eTVC)
Steering: Electronic Power-Assisted steering System (EPAS); 11.2m turning circle
Wheels/ Tyres: 7.5J x 17 light alloy, 5-spoke / 205/40/R17 Bridgestone Potenza
Braking: Vented brake discs 278x23mm (front) and 253x10mm (rear). Hydraulically operated dual circuit ABS system with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

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