The Numbers

1596cc turbocharged four cylinder, FWD, 134kW, 240Nm (or 147kW/290Nm with overboost function), 6.2L/100km, 0-100km/h 6.9 sec, 1197kg, 145 g/km CO2.

The Topgear Verdict

A compact hatch range that you can’t really go wrong with - a monstrous performance model. Be afraid, rivals. Be very afraid.

2013 Ford Fiesta ST

Do I need the ST, or are the lesser models enough?

The five-door Ambiente and Trend models, starting from $15,825 and topping out at $19,825, are a practical and stylish city car with a front-grille that apes Aston Martin front-ends. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.8l/100km and the 1.5-litre engine that produces 82kw/140Nm offers adequate poke for inner-city jaunts, but won’t set your duds on fire for spirited driving. This is where the ST comes in. And you want the ST. Trust us.

Is it really that good?

Yes. To use a wanky term, this is a pure driver’s car. Everything about the driving experience is almost faultless, from the smooth and torquey power delivery of the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine that offers 134kW/240Nm (or 147kW/290Nm with the 20-second max overboost function that is incorporated without any noticeable interruption), to the pinpoint steering and super-responsive throttle. There’s also no hint of torque steer (a gripe found on its Focus ST big brother) and the exhaust note, assisted by a mechanical sound symposer, is a proper sporty growl that gains an extra bit of roar after 5000rpm.

So it’s good to fang around, say, Victorian mountain roads?

Funny you should ask, because that’s exactly where we drove it. The ST definitely impressed through all manner of tight turns and sweeping corners, with the excellent steering and revvy engine making it easy to find a pace and rhythm that never saw the smile leave your face, but didn’t terrify you into thinking you’d understeer into a tree, either. The six-speed manual gearbox rarely needed to leave third through corners thanks to the torque provision, and the ESP program was perfectly balanced to allow a little slip without being at all intrusive. Under hard driving the fuel consumption didn’t exceed 8.5L/100km, either, with the claimed figure for sensible motoring being 6.2L/100km.

What’s not to like then?

A few things, actually. The plastic-fantastic interior is about as welcoming as a deadbeat stepdad and the punishing ride will beat your body around with the enthusiasm of one, too. There’s also quite a bit of road and tyre noise once you exceed suburban speeds.

What’s this MyKey business? Isn’t that how I use the tram in Melbourne?

No that’s myki, fool. Mykey is a first for Ford Australia and makes its debut in the Fiesta ST. It’s a spare key designed for parents to give to younger drivers that can have certain parameters coded to it, such as top speed limits, maximum audio volume and not allowing traction control to be switched off. The safety emphasis continues with an Emergency Assistance system that will call 000 if you put the car on its lid. This is the perfect car for a certain TopGear web editor, then.

So what kind of cash will I have to part with?

Just $25,990. Which is a very enticing prospect considering the Polo GTI is $27,990, the 208 GTi is $29,990 and the Clio RS is still to come early next year with pricing yet to be announced. Looks like the temperature of the hot hatch market is about to enter the next circle of hell.

Reviewed by: Tim Booth

Driven: August 29, 2013