Driven: Ford Fiesta ST200 Review
I had the chance to test out the ST200, one of the hottest Fiestas yet, and here are my thoughts on it.
What is the Ford Fiesta ST200 all About?
Ford is rather good at retaining a single name, as is shown by the Mustang, a name that stayed the same for over half a century. The Fiesta is the same case, as it’s on a 40-year stride already. While the Fiesta might not enjoy a legacy akin to the Mustang’s, I’m sure this little rascal still holds a rather significant value in our heart.
Fast forward through 7 generations of Fiesta, and here we arrive at the latest one. That’s not our main concern today, however. What we’re really interested in is the ST models, the performance variant of the Fiesta.
The ST models were something of a success. It offered the masses a very contentious hot supermini that could scorch the tails of some well known hot hatchbacks.
The ST200 is a car that can punch way above its segment. People loved how it drove, how it felt, how fun it was while maintaining superior practicality above all else.
So, if you were someone that thinks to yourself, ‘hmm, I don’t think the ST has quite enough for me,’ then you’d be in for a treat, as Ford announces a special edition ST, the ST200, a Fiesta with blazing ambitions.
Right off the bat, you will notice the quite distinctive colour that separates the ST200 from any other normal ST. They call it ‘Storm Grey’. This is a ST200 exclusive paintjob, while it’s dull and uninteresting to some, I feel that there’s something about this colour. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just seems right on the ST200.
Otherwise, there really is very little to visually differentiate the ST200 from all the other normal STs. You might notice that the wheels are in a different colour though: they’re matte black on this one. Also, it comes as a two-door only, so not quite as convenient as a normal ST.
Despite the rather lackluster change in exterior design, it’s a much different story for the engine in the ST200. While it’s the same engine as the normal ST – a 1.6 litre inline-4 EcoBoost engine – it’s been fiddled with to output 200 hp (hence the name), and 212 hp on Overboost, up from the 180 hp previously.
It also puts out 290 Nm of torque, and 320 Nm of torque on Overboost. That’s plenty for a car as small as the Fiesta ST. The engine spins a 6-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of just 6.7 seconds, to a top speed of 142 mph. It achieves a 46.3 mpg combined, and puts out 140 g of CO2 per km. Not bad.
How Does it Drive?
To begin with, the normal, bone-stock ST was already a very respectable car in terms of driving characteristics. It was, and is still the go-to small hot hatchback that everyone recommends to anyone looking for one. So, with a bit more power, how does the chassis fare?
The short answer is good. To be more specific, it’s spades of fun in a small package. When driving the ST200, it’s clear that Ford hasn’t upset the balance of the car in the pursuit of power. The suspension has been tweaked in the ST200, and the centre of gravity moved lower to support the additional power, go figure.
With plenty of torque on tap, the ST200 will surge pass pretty much anything you can find on a road. It is very well behaved at high speed as well, with interior noise being supervised to an acceptable level.
However, what you really should do is get off the motorway and choose the longer routes intentionally, because boy does the ST200 shine in the B-roads.
I can’t describe just how well-engineered and sought out the ST200’s chassis is. It’s just that good. Everything related to driving in the ST200 is at the optimal level, not too much, not too little. The ST200 doesn’t have a huge turbo so if you drive spiritedly, you’re pretty much in boost 24/7.
The steering in the ST200 is precise with plenty of road feedback when driving. That, paired with a good underpinning lets the ST200 change directions very well. Inputs are registered almost instantaneously, and the car constantly communicates with the driver.
The gear shifts are precise, and it has a relatively short throw. Paired with a good set of brakes, and very little weight to stop, it’s no wonder that the ST200 is a force to be reckoned with. Also it is worth noting there is no torque steer to speak of.
There’s a noticeable jab of torque at around 2,500 rpm, and that’s really where you want the ST200 to be. Fly into a corner, turn the wheel, hit the apex, exit the corner, punch the throttle and just watch the ST200 catapult itself out of a corner.
The ST200 also has torque vectoring, which will no doubt keep you on the road. On a spirited drive, the ST200’s cornering characteristics really show. It’s as if the car is saying :”Come on, floor it!”. All in all, the ST200 is a wonderfully dynamic car that rewards the driver for pushing it.
What is it Like Inside?
Before you even sit in the ST200, take a few moments and appreciate the Recaro buckets installed in the ST. You’re going to need these to hold you in when you are driving the ST200 properly.
Plastic is used majorly for the dashboard, however, the steering is trimmed of leather. Where it really matters though are the seats, the Recaros really hug you tight, gluing you in place well. Along with plenty of cheeky red ‘ST’ logos, the interior of the ST200 feels sporty.
The centre console houses a premium Sony DAB head unit, with a 5 inch TFT screen on top for all your navigation needs. It’s a relatively clean centre console, with a ‘ST200’ badge embossed on the bottom of the air-conditioner switches.
The steering is a 3-spoke unit that feels great to hold in the hands. The gear lever feels just right. The ST200 still has all the amenities you really need in a car, nothing more, nothing less.
Worth noting are the ‘ST’ scuff plates that you’ll see when you open the doors. Otherwise, there really is not much to talk about in the ST200’s interior. It’s comfortable to sit in, it feels solid, pretty decent.
Because the ST200 is still a hatchback at heart, despite being a compact, it still offers 290 litres of boot capacity. Very impressive.
The ST200 is the car that reminded me of the olden days, where hot hatchbacks were honest and offered not much other than pure driving fun. It’s a car that feels great and rewarding to drive, and it sounds feisty for a 4 cylinder too. You can hear the turbo whistle a bit before the ST200 really flies.
It’s a sleeper. The exterior is unassuming, as it really looks like an angry puppy that might attempt to bite you. However, drive it, and it feels like an angry pit bull that might take your head off.
I couldn’t find any major flaws in the ST200. The more you think about it, it has everything you need wrapped up in a tidy little package. It is stylish, fast, well equipped and its a limited edition. I think it is worth every penny.
- Price: £22,745
- Engine: 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbocharged inline-4
- Power: 197 (212) hp (Overboost)
- Torque: 290 (320) Nm (Overboost)
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph: 6.7 seconds
- Top speed: 143 mph
- Weight: 1,163 kg
- Economy combined: 46.3 mpg
Author: Paul Hadley