We're back again at Sandown Raceway for another CarAdvice weekend warrior track test. And while we’ve tested turbocharged hatchbacks before, none have been quite as affordable as this… the 2015 Ford Fiesta ST.
We’ve already track tested the Kia Pro_cee’d GT, Ford Focus ST and Renault Clio RS, but today we’ve brought along a car that’s been winning fans worldwide since launching in 2013 – the Ford Fiesta ST.
Before we hit the track though, let’s take a closer look at this little German-built pocket rocket.
Starting at $25,990, the Fiesta ST can be had for little more than a Suzuki Swift Sport and a decent whack less than the Renault Clio RS and the brand-new Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Strictly available in Australia with three doors and a six-speed manual transmission, under the bonnet sits a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder churning out 134kW and 240Nm. Both figures can be upped, however, thanks to an overboost function.
Standard, you get fog lights, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and ‘ST’ badges. Righto, tim to get out there.
The sportiest standard Fiesta money can buy, the ST claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h. And that's good. What's less good is as soon as you get in, you notice that it's got the same problem as the Focus ST, where the headrest is actually pushing the helmet forward. Without a lid on it's not really a problem, but if you've come to do a track day and you need to wear a helmet, it's definitely a bit of a nuisance.
On the plus side, these cloth Recaro bucket seats are fantastic. They are very supportive, very well bucketed… they are excellent.
Doing a very good job of getting all the power to the ground are these Bridgestone Potenza tyres. And so far on these early laps, these brakes too are doing an excellent job of just keeping the little guy composed and very controlled.
On the ST, wheel spin is managed with the help of a torque vectoring system. And basically it brakes the inside wheel to effectively reduce or limit understeer and wheel spin. So far, it's doing a pretty good job I'd say.
I have no doubt that you can hear the awesome noise the turbocharged motor is making. It sounds really good from the inside and it's a potent little unit.
It's got good pulling power from down low, revs out nice and smooth… It's a great little engine. The steering's excellent too on this car.
The beauty of the ST is, while a lot of people say that Sandown Raceyway and tracks like it are best suited for big-horsepower, high-speed cars, it's not actually the case.
The Fiesta ST weighs less than 1200kg and around here it's very nimble and very agile. And despite having a solid torsion beam rear axle, the rear end's actually very well behaved. Even on these high-speed corners, the car has really good balance.
This gearbox too is another part of the car that's right up there with some of the best of them. It goes into gear nicely, the clutch is light but there's a bit of feedback there as well… It's definitely another strong suit of the car.
Even with a little rain, this car is still fun. And when it comes to it, for under $26,000, it really is a fun and entertaining car and there's some serious value to be had here.
A barrel of laughs on the road and a dead-set smile machine out there on track, it’s not hard to see why Fiesta ST has become such a fan favourite.