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Quick twin test: Ford Fiesta ST200 vs Peugeot 208 GTI by PS

Only one of these two uprated pocket rockets is worth £22k...

  1. Aren't these little tykes getting old?

    The Fiesta’s ancient now and even the ST’s knocking on, but greatness isn’t diluted by age and the Ford’s still the benchmark small fast hatch. For an extra £2,350, 200 grey run-out editions bag you a shorter final drive and a tickle more poke, tweaked suspension and shouty badges.

    The 208’s four years younger than the Ford and was facelifted last year. Peugeot Sport seized the opportunity to a 30th Anniversary model dedicated to the 205 GTi. Its front diff, slammed suspension and power boost were a hit, so it’s now a permanent range fixture.

  2. Don't these both have naff cabins?

    Dated inside? The Fiesta’s practically retro. Materials are pretty grim and the infotainment’s a distant, button-festooned shocker, but Recaro buckets save the plaque-ridden ST200 from cockpit ignominy.

    The 208 steering wheel is tiny, but that suits it, and the Peugeot Sport seats, albeit with floppy bolsters, sit you purposefully low. So, you can see the dials, the touchscreen’s now faster, and quality’s high.

  3. Which one wants to play more?

    Oh, the Ford all day long. A dab of lift-off oversteer is its preferred cornering stance, it feels so up on its toes. Wayward? Never, just keen to slide but always on your side. A chassis for the ages.

    Peugeot Sport though, has made a more serious car in the vein of a bonsai Megane RS or Civic Type-R. It doesn’t sound as throaty, but the 208’s vice-like grip on the road and cocking-rear-wheel act are addictive.

  4. So, my £22k should go on...

    A regular Fiesta ST, a Mountune kit and some track-days. Sorry, but there’s no way the ST200 is worth it. Yes, we like the urgency it chomps through gears, but it’s barely quicker than the standard (bargain) ST, which now has the 200’s damper and anti-roll bar settings.

    Plus, for £22k, Peugeot Sport makes the best hot hatch, because you can spot where your money’s gone. It’s better damped than the firm Ford, has stronger brakes, a proper differential instead of power-sapping ESP, and a far plusher cabin. And it’ll still act the fool like its granddad.

  5. Verdict

    The Ford Fiesta ST200 is a modern hot hatch legend, no question, but so is the standard ST. And a clever uprating of the 208 GTi equals the best Peugeot for 30 years.

    Read Top Gear’s full Ford Fiesta ST200 car review here

    Read Top Gear’s full Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport car review here

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