Honest Joe hot hatch
Reuben van Niekerk
I started driving in the late 90’s and lusted after cars like Honda Civic V-tecs and Golf VR6s. These were fairly ‘simple’ hatches with – in those days – plenty of power under the bonnet, adequate styling and a soundtrack like few others.
I say simple because they were without all the frills that have seemed to creep into cars these days. It was just four seats, a punchy motor, comfortable interior and air conditioning. Those were the days when anything over 100 kW in a hatch was fireworks.
Driving the latest Fiesta ST around Joburg and Red Star Raceway gave me the same warm fuzzy feeling inside. This car is honest, what you see is what you get. Yes, there are creature comforts, but they are not overwhelming. The ST is a simple package, good engine, gearbox and chassis. What more could a young petrolhead want?
Under the bonnet is a 1,6-litre Ecoboost engine with 134 kW at 5 750 r/min and 240 Nm from 1 600. On overboost, which lasts for 20 seconds, the torque is up to 290 Nm and Ford claim a 0-100 km/h sprint of 6,9 seconds. Impressive stuff. And there should be no need to break the piggy bank to fill up the tank as it is said to use only 5,9 litres of the good stuff per 100 kilometres.
In terms of styling, I think there are enough hints to ensure that everyone knows this is not a regular Fiesta, but at the same time it leaves space for youngsters to do their own thing with the car. Up front there is a trapezoidal grille, and a bodykit, with bigger bumpers, side skirts and spoiler, give it a sportier look. At the rear is a diffuser flanked by twin exhausts. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels round off the package.
Inside the sporty theme is continued with nicely bolstered, yet comfortable Recaro seats, an ST steering wheel and gear shifter as well as aluminium pedals.
When developing the car, engineers listed key factors such as steering, handling, braking, sound quality and performance feel as important. I think for the most part they got everything pretty spot on. However, I do think that the full electric power steering could maybe do with a little bit more feel.
Fords sound sympose system delivers attractive engine noises to the cabin, through a tube in the firewall, and although it is probably fake, it does make the car sound good from the driver’s seat.
Where Ford are definitely winning with this car is in the pricing department. It is really nice to see that one can still get a practical performance car for an affordable price. At R254 000 the Fiesta ST is a great value proposition against its main rival the VW Polo GTi.
And if you need any other reason to buy the Ford, they are the only manufacturer currently competing on all three discipliness of national racing – production cars, rally and off-road. That’s racing heritage right there.