With 147bhp, the Fiesta ST is a hot hatch by traditional standards, but when compared to the Corsa VXR, Renaultsport Clios, Civic Type R or Mini Cooper S, the word ‘warm’ is perhaps more apt. Though while power may not be its strong point in standard form, that doesn’t make it a car that should be ignored.
What power there is gets delivered evenly through the gears, with a decent chassis to help guide you through corners with total confidence. The ST also looks the part, with a purposeful bodykit and 17in alloys as standard or, if you have the extra money, there’s the ST500 run-out model. This was a limited edition of 500 Fiestas made from 2008, which came in black with anthracite wheels and silver decals, including a U-shaped stripe on the bonnet, reminiscent of 1970s Escort RS2000s. The run-out model came with heated leather seats and carbon-effect dash detailing, although standard STs have decent interiors and equipment anyway.
The one gripe most drivers have with the interior is the seating position. No matter how hard you try to adjust the seat, it’s virtually impossible to feel like you’re not perching over the steering wheel. It might not bother everyone, but make sure you can actually get on with it before you buy one, as the remedy (most likely replacement seats) is going to add a fair amount onto the money you’ve just spent.
Considering the Fiesta ST came out in 2005, it’s still a relatively modern car, and can be picked up for just over £4K if high mileage doesn’t bother you, which makes it a great option for a daily driver. Ford claimed 38mpg fuel economy, which may be a little ambitious, but it’s not far off. With a reasonably low Group 13 insurance rating, the Fiesta ST makes plenty of sense if you’re watching your pennies. Being a Ford too, there are plenty of upgrades available, from the well-reviewed Mountune 185bhp conversion, to throttle bodies and big power supercharger conversions.
And there lies the problem. While they’re good cars in standard form and look like a nice option for daily driving, the temptation to tune them will be strong, so make sure you budget for that. You don’t want to miss out on the same upgraded thrills other ST owners are enjoying.
Ford Fiesta St 2005-2008
0-62mph: 7.9 sec
Top speed: 129mph
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A lot of early cars had issues with erratic idling, which dealers should have sorted with an ECU upgrade. Similarly, heated rear screens were known to be problematic, but again Ford had a fix for it. According to many owners, the clutches can be a weak point, and many have reported stiffness in gear changes, especially when it’s warm. This is often down to nylon bushes on the shirt arms that dry out or expand, causing them to tighten on the pivot shaft. There are easy-to-understand online guides on how to remedy this problem, although your local garage should have an idea if you explain what’s wrong. Aside from these issues, check for uneven tyre wear and that the power steering is working properly, making sure there isn’t a loud whining noise from the power steering in particular. Some owners have suffered split PAS pipe problems too, but overall this is a strong and reliable car.
TUNING A FIESTA ST
As with Mountune’s ST165 kit, a full exhaust, induction kit and remap are the first ports of call. Mountune can then bump that to 185bhp with specially developed camshafts and stronger valve springs. Pumaspeed also offer a 190bhp NA tuned package, with 210bhp available with their throttle body conversion. Both they and Jam Sport can offer supercharger conversions with around 300bhp possible. Properly set up coilovers will also make a big difference to your enjoyment of the ST.