Ford Fiesta ST-3 3dr
It’s fair to say that the Fiesta ST had plenty of airtime in TopGear last year, appearing as it did on four covers and across the same number of features. We did a lap of the UK in one, thrashed another around tracks in Belgium and France, and put one head-to-head against its opposition, but living with a car day-to-day rather than heading off on a daft challenge or driving around a circuit represents a very different challenge.
A month into our time with the ST, it’s already abundantly clear that we got it right when we gave it our Car of the Year award. The ST represents the kind of thinking we believe should be celebrated: delivering efficiency, but never at the cost of engagement or enjoyment.
And it all starts with the engine. On every journey, the 1.5-litre turboed triple works its little heart out, constantly accompanying proceedings with a sound so full of character and soul it’s utterly addictive. Quiet and efficient on the motorway cruise, but unburstably strong and desperate to charge to its red line when stretched on your favourite B-road, it’s a work of genius. Even my lead-footed antics deliver an mpg in the high 30s, and the characterful engine is punchy enough to keep supercars honest on a twisty road. Then add to the equation the fact that it’s light and compact – reducing weight over the front axle – and the result is a fundamental improvement in ride and handling over the old one.
Talking of which, the ST soaks up the worst of the varied road surface on my 120-mile roadtrip of a commute with subtle, if solid, poise. Fire it down your favourite road and the poise and balance, which has long been a central part of the ST’s DNA, comes to the fore. The clever suspension works its magic and makes the ST one of the most engaging and capable little pocket rockets in history. A genuine real-world hero.