What is it?
This story is less of a review and more an obituary, with Ford Australia first announcing it would drop the Fiesta ST in August and Ford of Europe confirming just this week that the entire Fiesta model range would be axed at the end of 2023 – ending a 47 year run for the blue oval’s city car.
Which is a shame because the Fiesta ST has always been one of the brand’s brightest stars. It’s arguably the most under-rated hot hatch on sale today, offering driving thrills far larger than its diminutive size.
Unusually, Ford Australia announced its decision to drop the Fiesta ST at roughly the same time this updated 2022 version arrived in local showrooms. Fortunately though, that gave us one last opportunity to enjoy this pint-sized pocket rocket.
Does it have any racing pedigree?
It may be the smallest member of the Ford line-up but the Fiesta is steeped in motorsport heritage. It was the basis for the blue oval’s World Rally Championship campaign for years (until the Puma SUV ousted in this season) and was also used for the brand’s R5 and R2 rally cars.
This really helped cement the Fiesta ST’s status as a cult hero model for die-hard rally fans and true hot hatch supporters.
What’s under the bonnet?
The updated Fiesta ST gets the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine as before, but it has been upgraded for 2022. It still makes the same 147kW of power but torque has been bumped up from 290Nm to 320Nm – impressive grunt from such a tiny engine.
It’s a cracking little engine, providing plenty of performance and doing so with a loveable three-cylinder growl.
Paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the Fiesta ST is a throwback to a time before hot hatches were packing 200kW and dual-clutch transmissions. It’s an ‘analogue’ hot hatch that puts the driver at the centre of the experience, rather than relying on technology to provide a helping hand.
How does it handle?
The previous-generation Fiesta ST three-door model raised the bar for what we expected from a modern hot hatch – it’s responsive, linear and engaging. This current (and final) five-door model elevated that experience, with the longer wheelbase bringing more stability when cornering but without losing the excitement and urgency that its compact dimensions provide.
All Australian models get a Quaife mechanical limited slip differential to help tame all the power through the front wheels, and it comes fitted with Michael Pilot Sport 4S rubber too, so you can really push it to the limits with confidence.
There are three drive modes too – Normal, Sport and Racetrack – with the second choice giving it a more responsive character and the latter removing the safety net of stability control so you can really enjoy its predictable, well-sorted chassis.
Where would you most like to drive it?
Over the years I’ve driven the Fiesta ST in a wide variety of locations, both great roads and on various racetracks, and it honestly shines in any situation. But a tight, technical racetrack like Winton or Wakefield Park really does put it into its element.
What’s the interior like?
The interior was one of the areas of focus for this 2022 update, with Ford adding more technology and comfort to make sure the Fiesta ST has a premium feel despite its size.
Ford added a new 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that provides more adjustability between various displays. There’s also new ‘Performance’ seats that not only look the part but are comfortable and supportive.
Of course, the switch to a five-door body for this final iteration makes it a more user-friendly hot hatch, and while it’s smaller than the likes of the Focus ST, Hyundai i30 N and Volkswagen Golf GTI, it’s spacious enough for its size and price.
How much does the Ford Fiesta ST cost?
Speaking of price, the Fiesta ST has crept up in cost over the years as it has grown in size and performance. This final version now costs $33,490 (plus on-road costs), which is $1200 more than the pre-updated model and nearly $10k more than it was a generation ago.
Still, with the small car-based hot hatches starting well above $40k (and sometimes $50k) the Fiesta ST still offers great bang for your buck.
Would I buy one?
The Fiesta ST has always been a personal favourite and this final version has done nothing but strengthen my fondness for this compact performance machine. It’s a shame that it will no longer be available as cars like this were long the only way for younger performance car fans to afford their way into this scene.
Sadly though the rise and rise of SUVs has seemingly claimed another victim and left hot hatch fans with another fast Ford to mourn over.
2022 Ford Fiesta ST price and specifications
|Price:||From $33,490 plus on-road costs|
|Engine:||1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power:||147kW at 6000rpm|
|Torque:||320Nm at 1600-4000rpm|
|Transmission:||Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive|
|0-100km/h:||6.5 seconds (claimed)|