The Ford Fiesta ST affirms the adage that dynamite comes in small packages. Its mean turbocharged engine and compact size allows it to knock the wind out of more expensive, more powerful cars. This is proof that size does not matter.
Ford dragged their feet in bringing this vehicle to market. But the wait is over and we think the mighty little Fiesta offers more thrill – and more value – than its nemeses in this entertaining small hot hatchback segment.
Not so Clockwork Orange
Exterior-wise it might not be as mad as some would like. There are only a few traits that set it apart from the equivalent Titanium-grade Fiesta. If standing out is your aim, opt for the Molten Orange paint choice.
It sports a trapezoidal grille, finished in glossy black paint. The rear gets two pipes. And it has a spoiler like the handle of a child’s pram. Rounding it all off is a sprinkling of ST badges. Go for a subdued shade and you’ll always have to point out to your mates that this is in fact the range-topping hot version.
If you fail to smile while driving this dainty dynamite stick, then you must be dead inside. Winter blues were instantly soothed after a stint behind the wheel.
The Fiesta ST is a happy car. It put us in mind of a lovable little terrier with a massive attitude. It growls as you accelerate in every gear, thanks to a soundbox system that amplifies the engine music and channels the soundtrack to the cabin. Plus you have the novelty of the whooshing turbocharger.
Even in standard guise, the Fiesta is one of the best-handling B-segment hatchbacks. The ST enhancements do justice to its nimble, agile and surefooted nature. Steering input is dispatched with crisp accuracy. And the gearbox – which was tweaked on the Nurburgring racetrack by the way – is as slick as your IT guy’s hair.
Junk in the trunk
Those with big rumps need not apply. The Recaro seats in the ST seem designed for narrow bottoms. It is snug enough and has ample lateral support for the sharp cornering you will inevitably be doing. Leather upholstery would have been nice though.
Quality in some areas could have been better too. We noted scratchy plastics and flimsy door seals on our test unit. Like with any new Ford, the button-festooned fascia is confusing and takes time to warm-up to.
Equipment levels are good – Ford always does well in the area of standard kit. You get the SYNC interface with voice control, seven airbags in case things turn awry and climate control.
A STeal at the price
It might not be the cheapest B-segment hot hatchback – that title goes to the Suzuki Swift Sport.
But it is the most balanced. While the Suzuki feels asthmatic at these altitudes, the turbocharged Fiesta is always effusive. This Ford is also much cheaper than the Volkswagen Polo GTI, more engaging too.
The feisty Fiesta is certainly going to make many young – and young-at-heart – motorists out there happy indeed. It is our pick of the bunch in the segment.
To watch our video review of the 2013 Ford Fiesta ST, click here.
The Technical Stuff:
Model: 2013 Ford Fiesta ST
Price: R254 500
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Power and Torque: 134kW and 240Nm
Fuel Consumption: 10l/100km
Test Mileage: 650 Kilometres