Party time in Fi­esta ST

Ford’s lat­est hot­tie should carry an even tastier price than its ri­vals

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­

CHEAP, fast, fun . . . the hothatch party peo­ple keep com­ing. Now Ford is send­ing out the in­vites as the small­est Blue Oval model on Aus­tralian roads gets the ST badge.

The Fi­esta joins the fast-but-friendly Fo­cus ST on Ford Aus­tralia’s pricelist from Septem­ber, copy­ing its larger sib­ling’s hon­ey­comb grille, Re­caro rac­ing buck­ets, rear dif­fuser and bodykit.

Ford is coy on the ex­act pric­ing of the Euro­pean-built hot-hatch, avail­able only as a three-door man­ual.

Ex­pect it to be the $25,000 cat among the pi­geons priced closer to $30,000.

Ford’s RS arm in Europe fet­tled the 1.6-litre EcoBoost di­rect-in­jec­tion turbo four to pro­duce 134kW and 240Nm— on over­boost, it hits 147kW and 290Nm for 20-sec­ond squirts.

Ford Aus­tralia gen­eral mar­ket­ing man­ager David Katic says per­for­mance buy­ers are look­ing for a car like the Fi­esta ST. Ford last had a con­tender with the Fi­esta XR4, not seen since late 2008.

Katic says the ST is a very re­fined car that will ap­peal to a broad spread of cus­tomers ... It is al­ready a smash hit in Europe with a bank of cus­tomer or­ders. This car can put a smile on your face, cor­ner af­ter cor­ner, and de­liv­ers ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion in power de­liv­ery and han­dling.’’

The maker claims 6.2L/100km— ob­vi­ously not when ex­ploit­ing over­boost.

Al­ready adept, the Fi­esta has had the RS magic wand waved over the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing sys­tems, with unique spring and dam­per set­tings front and rear, and 15mm lower cen­tre of grav­ity. The RS crew has also beefed up the brakes (adding rear discs) and fit­ted 17-inch al­loys and switch­able three-mode sta­bil­ity con­trol.

The ST adds a sports ex­haust and engine note en­hancer— Ford calls it a Sound Sym­poser. Its torque vec­tor­ing set-up ap­plies a small amount of brak­ing force to the in­side front wheel when cor­ner­ing to coun­ter­act un­der­steer.

Other fea­tures in­clude the hands-free voice-con­trolled Ford Sync sys­tem for phone and au­dio sys­tems. The ST’s Emer­gency As­sis­tance uses the driver’s mo­bile phone (once paired with Blue­tooth) to con­tact emer­gency ser­vices in an ac­ci­dent, pro­vided there’s net­work cov­er­age.

The hot-hatch seg­ment al­ready has some pop­u­lar and ca­pa­ble com­bat­ants: Volk­swa­gen Polo GTI, Citroen DS3 (as with the Fi­esta, sixspeed man­ual only), Opel Corsa OPC (age­ing but still quick) and the im­mi­nent Peu­geot 208 GTI.

Katic says: We’ve worked re­lent­lessly to bring the Fi­esta ST to Aus­tralia. It’s a car our hot-hatch cus­tomers have been crying out for and we’re happy to say the wait is al­most over.’’

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