Every month Ford romps home with thousands of registrations of its Fiesta supermini. It is currently the UK’s most popular new car, outselling its nearest rival, the Vauxhall Corsa, by almost 40%.
Now the Fiesta range has its new halo model, the ST.
This hot hatchback will account for just 5% of the Fiesta’s 100,000 annual UK registrations, but crucially offers a real profit opportunity to the Ford network as almost all sales will be to retail customers.
A thousand orders had already been taken by the network ahead of the car’s arrival in showrooms this month.
Most of those were for the £17,995 ST2 which adds partial leather upholstery, starter button, privacy glass and LED daytime running lamps to the standard £16,995 ST’s equipment list of Recaro sports seats, 17-inch alloys, digital radio, SYNC connectivity and front foglamps.
Also standard for the ST is Ford’s clever MyKey system, which allows a parent to programme electronic restrictions into the car for when it’s in use by the young drivers in the family.
It can mean they can’t exceed a set speed or switch off the electronic stability control and must fasten their seatbelts before the stereo will switch on.
Should a Fiesta ST insurer ever allow the owner’s inexperienced offspring behind the wheel such controls will certainly be necessary.
This car’s 1.6-litre turbocharged engine produces 180bhp, 20% more power than its predecessor, and can propel it to 62mph from standstill in 6.9 seconds – that’s only half-a-second off a Lotus Elise.
It is nimble, involving and awesome fun on twisting roads too, with enhanced torque vectoring control that helps the car tuck into corners and a sports mode to the electronic stability control which enables the driver to slide the car around in safety.
A ‘sound symposer’ ensures throaty engine noises add to the exhilaration inside the cabin.
Dealers may want to point out the practicality of Fiesta ST. Its CO2 emissions are 20% lower than the previous model’s, putting it into Band D for VED.
It seats up to five with a squeeze, with the Recaro front seats being particularly figure-hugging, and its 47.9mpg official combined fuel economy is well ahead of a Vauxhall Corsa VXR.
It also undercuts the Corsa’s list price, and that of other key rival the Clio Renaultsport, by £2,000.
All in all, the technology, driving performance and sheer value of this car will make it a compelling proposition for customers.