Ford has a very diverse range of vehicles that have been tinkered by the Ford Performance department to make them all a bit more exciting. Taking cars built for the average consumers and then offering a bonkers, fun-to-drive variant for those who want to have fun in a quick car without breaking the bank or losing all practicality. The Fiesta ST has been a widely acclaimed hot hatch hero since the first one and we’ve never even got it in hatch form in India till date. Instead, we used to get a three-box version of the Fiesta but still never the ST. Now, we don’t even get that.
But the Ford Fiesta ST is a car worth talking about even if you’ve never seen one in the metal let alone driven one. Using the power of the internet and from what others make of it, here are the 9 things you need need to know about the 2018 Ford Fiesta ST:
1) The aero works
Often lower-end hatchbacks feature certain ‘aerodynamic’ elements that add to the sporty look without having any connection with the performance of the car. But that’s not the case here. The front spoiler, rear spoiler and rear diffuser actually help reduce lift, even if it’s not to the point where they’d create any downforce.
2) Don’t lose sleep over the wheel options
The standard wheels on a 2018 Fiesta ST are 17s, with the option of 18s. But the head of Ford Performance in Europe, Leo Roeks, says they drove so similarly that most people won’t be able to tell the difference. Both tyre options come dressed with the same Michelin Pilot Supersport tyre type.
3) But make sure you get that Performance Pack!
It seems odd that there is an optional Performance Pack for something that is already sold as Ford Performance variant, but that’s just how things go. On the new Fiesta ST, this optional pack brings you the limited-slip differential which has been made by motorsports people Quaife. Plus shift-up lights and even launch control. The additional amount is not a lot overall making it quite a bargain because LSDs are expensive pieces of mechanical engineering. The one in the new Fiesta ST is calibrated beautifully so the car hurls itself out of tight corners on full power with just a small trace of understeer, as reported by some who have been lucky enough to test drive it.
4) The new suspension springs are quite surpri-spring!
Ford has invented a new kind of spring for the rear suspension on the 2018 Fiesta ST using what they call force-vectoring springs. It’s slightly bent or angled at both ends, so when it’s compressed it exerts a sideways force. Not being familiar with how this stuff actually works, we turned to some help from the internet and understood this: Normal torsion-beam suspension, the back end of the car steers in an inconsistent way when force is applied sideways on the outer tyre. To counter that problem, sporty suspension setup gets stiff bushes but that is bad for overall ride comfort on most bumpy roads. Ford’s new setup allows the ST to have sharper turn-in and improved response to steering inputs and sudden directional changes, and improved lateral stiffness without compromising on comfort or ride quality.
5) Steering is a +
Going by some of the popular reviews here, but the steering ratio of the new Fiesta ST is very direct – the smallest of hand movements summoning vigorous direction change. In some cases that’s a bad idea, because without precise steering, the car can feel twitchy and inconsistent and you lose confidence. But with the ST’s steering, you get used to it quite alright and begin to enjoy the responsiveness of it and the extra grip thanks to better tyres and a wider front track.
6) Everything comes together nicely
All that attention to detail while tweaking with the chassis, the steering and the suspension pays off as all the bits work together harmoniously to make the new ST what many agree as a fantastic little hot hatch. The force-vectoring springs in the rear suspension allow the car to draw better steering precision without needing high-frequency damping. Relatively soft springs and bushes and short-amplitude damping make it more pliant too and thus allowing for better road noise suppression reduces the harshness of the ride. A true fun-to-drive affordable daily hatchback.
7) Clever engine-eering under the hood
The new Fiesta ST is powered by a three-cylinder 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine that has an impressive trick up its sleeve – the cylinder cutoff system. When you’re driving with a light right foot, it runs on just two of the three cylinders. You’d never feel the dip difference in normal driving situations, say reports, but the economy improvement is noticeable. However, it’s a performance engine too and it’s got an oil cooler for hard work, with both port and direct injection to pump in the fuel when you need powerrrr.
8) Sounds pretty good too
There’s less of the usual puttering that you’d expect from a little three-cylinder engine. It sounds more purposeful and it has the character of a hot hatch. There is a bit of sound enhancement through the speakers like a modern BMW, but unlike a Beemer, it’s ‘live’ sound played through filters – not false synthesis. There’s also a flap in the exhaust which is opened when you put it into Sport mode that turns up the enhancement too. And it brings over-run pops and crackles, but not to an embarrassing degree like a juvenile with a fist-sized exhaust on a car that doesn’t move any faster.
9) It’s not the most powerful Fiesta ST, but it’s faster than the last one
The stated power output of a 2018 Fiesta ST is the same as an old Fiesta ST200 at around 197bhp and 290Nm of torque. But the ST200 had access to overboost so it made approximately 212bhp and was about 20kg lighter. Even so, the new Fiesta ST with its stronger body shell, tricked out suspension, a clever diff and stickier tyres is one that accelerates faster because it gets the power down to the road better.
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