WHEN I think back to my teenage years, something I try not to do very often, there were a few cars that seem to define what every young lad dreams about when picturing their ideal car.
I was never a great one for hot hatches but the 20-somethings at the time were all lavishing their hard-earned on models such as the Peugeot 205 GTI, the Golf GTI and the Renault 5 GT Turbo.
Fabulous as they each were in their own way, they weren’t the most sought after or the easiest to come by. For most lads all they wanted was a Ford Fiesta XR2.
What started life as a humble shopping car their grand mother would drive had been transformed, by way of some black plastic trim, some bigger seats, pepperpot wheels and a mildly powerful engine and that made it cool. Most of the people I knew either had one or wanted one at some point in their adolescence.
Skip forward a few decades and the magic of the hot hatch was lost along the way. It’s only recently that the sparkle has been put back into some of these pint-sized icons.
One of the most notable absentees, however, has been a decent fast ford. For a good while we’ve not had a properly sporty model bearing the blue oval at this end of the market.
But there is now. The ST moniker, given to some of Ford’s high-performance models, has been slapped on the already rather good new shape Fiesta.
The new car features a 1.6 Ecoboost engine with a big turbo that helps it spit out a rather splendid 180bhp, along with plenty of torque.
It makes for a much more drivable car than its predecessor and you don’t have to work the gearbox anywhere near as much to get the most from it. This frees up time and effort to get involved in its absolutely wonderful chassis.
A spicy exhaust note and slick gear change all added into the mix makes for a beautifully sporty drive and, although the suspension is firm, felt through the ST’s wonderful steering, it makes for a beautiful package.I’ve only had a brief drive in the new ST but it’s been more than enough to become thoroughly addicted to it.
Throwing it into a corner is a delight - everything weights up and responds exactly as it should and it gives you a sense of fun and thrills that has been missing from small hatches for decades.
Its grip handles all that power and the surge of torque very well and the comfortable sports seats hold you in place as you hoof it out of the bends, grabbing for another gear as the revs freely rise.
It’s an absolute hoot and very easy to drive on the limit. which is just how every well-sorted car should be.
If you can look past that hideous, over-sized, Aston-Martin-esque grille, buying an ST will put you in one of the best-handling cars on the market.
More than anything though, the ST puts a huge grin on your face. A bigger grin than any other car I’ve driven in a while.
Its simple, fun approach to putting the joy back in to driving has been sorely missed in this sector and it’s only when you drive one that you realise how long we’ve all have to wait.