The Goodwood Test: Ford Fiesta ST-line

05th February 2018
erin_baker_headshot.jpg Erin Baker

Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces.



This is not Ford’s new Fiesta ST, for which launch the excitement is building like it did for Billy Joel’s 75th appearance at Madison Square Garden (no? Just me, then). This is the ST-line, which means some subtle schporty touches to the design and performance of the Fiesta, without going the full radio rental on it. The Fiesta, in bog-standard form, remains one of the UK’s best-selling models of all time, ever since it launched in 1976. In fact, since 2008, it has been the UK’s top seller and with good reason, combining impressive dynamics for a small car, with solid build quality, decent interiors and competitive pricing.

Ever since Ford launched its 1.0-litre EcoBoost engines, there hasn’t been a reason to look elsewhere, despite VW, Vauxhall and Seat champing at the bit with their Polo, Corsa and Ibiza respectively. 

The ST-line then, could be seen as a cynical marketing derivative designed to catch people who want the ST but can’t afford the hike in insurance or fuel bills, but does it actually have its own argument for buying one?



The new Fiesta is a sharper version of the predecessor, with creased lines at the rear, and a cleaner body style. Our test car was cheery pillbox red, which is the colour for this characterful hatch. The structure is a claimed 15 per cent stiffer and 71mm longer, which doesn’t sound much, but makes the car look sleeker and less of a bubble.

ST-line trim means a subtle body kit, with a different grille, 17in alloys, side skirts and a dinky rear spoiler. Inside, there are fitting splashes of red everywhere, from the seat pattern to the flat-bottomed steering-wheel stitching, to matt red plastic accents round the vents and above the glove box.

There’s a tablet-style infotainment screen above the centre stack, which is well connected, if not with the prettiest graphics in town.



Fantastic. If the last time you drove a 1.0-litre engine was circa 1984, try it now. Ford’s three-pot EcoBoost is the pick of the industry, with, in our case, 140PS (138bhp), which is the top-of-the-tree version. Mated to the six-speed manual, it really makes you wonder if the Fiesta ST, due soon with 197bhp from a new 1.5-litre triple, could ever be worth it unless money isn’t a concern. Why you’d buy the 1.5-litre diesel is anyone's guess. 

Nought to 62mph is covered in nine seconds but it feels quicker, which is a testament to the pure driving pleasure the Fiesta invokes, with fine steering and a stiff, responsive chassis.



Yes, and in spades.The ST-line just shows up what a perfect little package the Fiesta is. The ST will be different, of course – it’s designed to show off you, the driver, with its angry, hot, charging horses. This car shows off itself; it’s the cerebral sister of the ST if you like, the more refined, less brash, clever choice. It’s the England rugby player with the First from Oxford in PPE; it’s the DJ who plays chess in his spare time. It’s George Clooney with glasses, and you wouldn’t say no to that, would you? (Just me again, then). 

Price as tested: £17,595 

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