It’s almost time for us to say goodbye to our Ford Fiesta ST, and I for one will miss it dearly.
My first drive in the Fiesta ST was at the ST’s UK launch in 2018, at, as it happens, Goodwood. Joining a number of other UK journalists, this was our first opportunity to get behind the wheel of the ST in the UK and, as you can imagine, we were all rather excited. Would it be as good as the previous ST? Would the three-cylinder engine feel week compared to the old four-pot? As we all quickly discovered, it was the best ST yet.
Ford had provided us with us a road route to follow in the morning, one that took in some of the more scenic and interesting roads between Goodwood and Winchester. In hindsight, now having lived with the ST for several months, it seems silly to say that the ST surprised us all. It felt nimble, balanced, more than quick enough and, ultimately, very good fun.
In the afternoon we headed to the Motor Circuit. The ST is not a track car, something that became apparent quite quickly. Five cars were allowed on track at a time, running for 15 minutes solid before returning to the pits for a driver change. This happened constantly for three hours, and had already happened for another group of journalists that morning. Goodwood’s circuit is fast, and so, as I rolled gently onto the brakes at the end of the pit straight for the first time, I realised the brake pads were well past their best.
Did it matter, though? Not really. Anything short of a purpose-built track car would have struggled to survive the number of laps the STs were subjected to, particularly when the ambient temperature was hovering around 30 degrees centigrade.
After comments of ‘the brakes are tired’ had subsided, the wider consensus was, once again, that the ST was balanced, more than quick enough and, ultimately, very good fun. I left the launch wondering how Ford could have got it so right when so much had changed and there was a real risk it wouldn’t be as involving or fun to drive as the old car. I was desperate to get back behind the wheel of one as soon as possible.