The word often used to describe the 2013 Ford Fiesta ST was ‘brilliant.’ A zingy 1.6-litre engine, a fantastic six-speed manual and smile-inducing dynamics earned it a rightful place in both enthusiasts’ good books and hot hatch history.
This is all obviously very good, but it did pose one problem – its replacement. After the smash hit that was the 2013 model, Ford had to hit it out of the park with its successor. Could the manufacturer really pull it off? The answer came last year…
Initially, the car posed some worries, especially for diehard Fiesta ST fans. Firstly, the 180bhp (197bhp on overboost) 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder was replaced with a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder. Secondly, the styling appeared toned down this time around, so the assumption was that the new ST was going to turn out far more tame and docile than the previous car.
However, that assumption soon changed upon the Mk8 Fiesta ST’s release. That 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder turned out to be an impressive powerplant. With 197bhp, it allows the Fiesta to sprint from 0-60mph in just six and a half seconds. What’s more, Ford even threw in some crackles to the exhaust, making for a proper juvenile hot hatch soundtrack when you give it the beans.
And don’t go thinking handling has been forgotten about, either. No, by specifying the optional Performance Pack, you get a LSD (Limited-Slip Differential), an ST shift change light for the instrument cluster, and even launch control – on a Fiesta!
Do all these things make it a better car than the 2013 one? Not necessarily. Sure, they help the Mk8’s case in terms of being a great handling hot hatch, but the Mk7 isn’t exactly terrible. The 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder provides plenty of punch, the chassis is well sorted, and in general it’s a very playful little car.
Everything also depends on your budget of course. With the Mk7 ST, you can pick one up for well under £10,000, but you’ll be looking at around £20,000 for a Mk8. As they’re both pure driving machines, it’s best to test drive both and then make your mind up. The good thing is that there’s no wrong choice with these two!