2018 Ford Fiesta ST first drive: Still the best

It’s a two-fold concern, the new Fiesta ST. Firstly, because its predecessor was outrageously brilliant. It was proof, no less, that modern, turbocharged hot hatches could be affordable, easy to live with and wickedly brilliant to drive regardless of how mundane the conditions might be. It was on the sort of level that only older, naturally-aspirated hatches (think Renaultsport Clio) had achieved in recent decades.

Secondly, because this poor journo was (and still is, in fact) so convinced by the simple, infectious fun of the previous-gen Fiesta ST, that she declared it a modern Peugeot 205 GTi. And, frankly, where do you go from there if this all-new, three-cylinder, 198bhp, £19k Fiesta ST manages to better it? Well, dear reader, we’re about to find out… 

2018 Ford Fiesta ST

First impressions

Let’s start with the engine. The 1.5-litre, turbocharged three-pot manages 198bhp and an impressive 214lb ft all the way from 1600-4000rpm, which’ll see the Fiesta ST to 62mph in a scrappy 6.5sec. More than that, this engine will shut off one of the three cylinders when it deems it unnecessary to make it usefully efficient.

Other highlights include an £850 Performance Pack that adds a Quaife mechanical differential, launch control and even performance shift lights so that you can punch through the six-speed manual’s ratios at just the right moment.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST
2018 Ford Fiesta ST

On top of that, there are Normal, Sport and Track modes which tweak steering weight, throttle response and the exhaust synthesiser, all of which is impress...