Our Hot Hatch of the Year award, perhaps the most coveted of all the shiny TopGear trophies, goes to the Ford Fiesta ST. Of course, it does all of the things a hot hatch must do. But so do many other hot hatches. The difference with the Ford is that it does them for £16,995. Often this would mean it lacks something the others all have. But no. It has 180bhp. It looks cracking. The chassis is as lovingly engineered as a McLaren’s. It grips and goes better than the others and - as far as we can see - there is no catch. The dealers could charge a few grand more, and it’d still feel like a good deal. But they don’t, and good on them. Power to the People? It’s borderline socialist.
Fast Fiestas have been this way for 30-odd years. Cast your minds back to the 1983 XR2, of which 150,000 were sold. It cost £5,957 when new, which - when adjusted for inflation - is £17,023. Almost equal to what the ST costs today. It wasn’t the first Fiesta to wear the XR badge - there was a MkI in the late Seventies - but it’s the one that we all remember, with its rally-style fog lamps, pepperpot alloys and special ‘buzzbox’ exhaust section to help tickle your nethers (if these things don’t make you happy, may we suggest you swap this magazine for a copy of Shrubbery Digest?).
Pictures: James Lipman
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine