Boy racer of Fi­esta fam­ily roars into a third gen­er­a­tion

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - MOTORING NEWS - STEVE TEALE

FI­ESTA HAS al­ways had a split per­son­al­ity: hum­drum city car meets af­ford­able sports hatch beloved by boy rac­ers.

So while the re­spectable re­cently-launched model is gar­ner­ing rave re­views which ac­claim it to be pos­si­bly the best all-round hatch on the road, it is its rowdy sib­ling we fo­cus on here.

ST200 is short­hand for a su­perquick car which is the fastest Fi­esta ever and a world apart from its bru­tal an­ces­tor, the rapid but ba­sic XR2s of the 1980s.

The ST200 is quick but re­fined. Bet­ter in-gear per­for­mance than its pre­de­ces­sor, 10 per cent more power, 17in al­loys, Re­caro seats, torque vec­tor­ing which keeps the car un­der con­trol and bet­ter brak­ing. There is lit­tle not to like.

ROWDY SIDE:

It is happy to poo­tle but it’s more than de­lighted to growl to 60mph in 6.7 sec­onds. It bur­bles beau­ti­fully and at £23,145, it might sound ex­pen­sive but you try find­ing a faster new car for the money.

But wait. This model was only un­leashed a few months ago but Ford has al­ready an­nounced a ma­jor up­grade. At the re­cent Geneva mo­tor show it showed the new third­gen­er­a­tion ST200 with a few marked im­prove­ments.

Most no­tably, it has a three­cylin­der 1.5 litre en­gine. Many man­u­fac­tur­ers turn out three­cylin­der cars but they are usu­ally city cars. Will it clat­ter like three-cylin­der en­gines of old? I don’t ex­pect so.

It also of­fers drive modes – nor­mal, sport and track – and an un­usual de­vice to set the tone of the ex­haust.

Young guns may love it; more sen­si­ble types will dis­miss it as a silly fri­vol­ity. Me? I’m in the fri­vol­ity camp, but it will sound good.

New ST200 also has big­ger 18in al­loys and comes in three and five-door form.

If you can’t wait un­til early 2018, the cur­rent ST200 is full of vim and vigour.

Per­for­mance fig­ures are good with a top speed of 143mph. For such a swift car, it feels like a tra­di­tional hatch­back.

Only the sexy al­loy wheels, su­per seats and mod­est body trim give hints of the power at your dis­posal.

The new ST200 lets Fi­esta shake off its ev­ery­day im­age with some im­pres­sive per­for­mance and plenty of power.

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