Sometimes it’s possible to take a car for a spin and know within seconds that you’re driving something special. The Ford Fiesta ST200 is a prime example.
With the seventh generation Fiesta arriving in showrooms later in 2017, the ST200 is the last hurrah for the Mk6 – Britain’s bestselling car for the past eight years.
Ford has saved the best till last with the ST200 – a near perfect hot hatch. Priced from £23,145, it’s a car that doesn’t break any records for power, acceleration or top speed, but it is honest, affordable fun in an intoxicating little package.
Under the bonnet sits a 1.6-litre 197bhp turbocharged petrol engine (up from the standard ST’s 180bhp). And just to show how things have moved on, that’s twice the power offered by its Fiesta XR2 predecessor 20 years ago.
But here’s the thing, when the ‘overboost’ kicks in, it gives you an extra 15bhp for up to 20 seconds on full throttle.
The powerful ‘EcoBoost’ engine is paired to a slick 6-speed manual gearbox and is capable of propelling the car to 62mph from standstill in 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. It doesn’t run out of puff either – acceleration from 31-82mph takes just 5.2 seconds in fourth gear.
Officially it’s capable of returning 46.3mpg, but the ST200 is one of those cars that are almost impossible to drive economically, so expect closer to 30mpg or less.
It looks the part too. My test car came in a seriously moody Storm Grey and featured reasonably subtle ‘ST200’ badging, a unique ST design body kit including a rear spoiler, privacy glass, twin chrome exhaust pipes, matt black 17-inch alloy wheels and red brake callipers.
Inside there are splendidly supportive part-leather front Recaro sports seats, plus an ST leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob.
Looks matter, but so does the sound a car makes, and here Ford has nailed it again. Not many hot superminis growl like this little beauty… and who cares if it is digitally enhanced?
Driving the ST200 puts a smile on your face too because it not only feels fast, the traction is phenomenal for a car sending so much power through its front wheels.
With precise steering and go-kart like handling, the ST200 is one of the most dynamic small cars you’ll ever drive, and unlike some hot hatches, the ride suspension is set up for comfort and performance, so it won’t shake out your fillings.
Of course, no car is perfect and there’s one glaring issue with the ST200 and that’s the dated centre console which features a forest of buttons and a tiny 4-inch screen that’s a stretch to reach. Small though it is, the infotainment is perfectly functional after a while. Also, rear seat space is limited thanks to the sports seats up front.
Ultimately, its strengths cancel out those gripes many times over and all is forgiven. In fact, in years to come, the ST200 will be one of the most collectible Fords.
Verdict: Fun and fabulous to look at, the pocket rocket that is the ST200 is the perfect swansong for the Mk6 Fiesta.
Review in association with www.automotiveblog.co.uk