Ford Fiesta ST car review
Thursday 28 February 2008
First UK Drive
When given a chance to drive the world’s hottest Ford Fiesta ST, we jumped into the bucket seat and pointed its wheels at the closest winding road.
Andy Goodwin thinks the Ford Fiesta ST Mountune is one of the most fun cars on sale, for any price.
I should make a confession – I have owned a standard Ford Fiesta ST for two years, covering over 25,000 miles behind its taut wheel.
I bought it for the reasons most of my fellow 14,000 UK owners did – it is tremendous fun and great value for money.
Some critics say its 150bhp is meagre considering it has a 2-litre engine – but they are missing the point.
This is a car aimed at younger drivers, and its 150bhp means it has a relatively low group 13 insurance level, making it accessible for petrol heads in their 20s, like me.
Does my ownership make my review of the new tweaked Fiesta ST biased? As a level headed motoring writer, I am hoping it doesn’t.
I will be the first to admit the Fiesta ST I own isn’t perfect – it’s not the most relaxing motorway cruiser for a start.
Ford Fiesta ST185 Mountune
The Fiesta ST185 Mountune isn’t a great motorway cruiser either.
But, it takes the best elements of the Fiesta ST, its handling and cheeky sense of fun and gives them a serious upgrade.
Owners who are growing with their car, and can afford a little extra as they mature should be very tempted by Ford’s Mountune tuning kits.
They can be fitted to any Fiesta ST at selected Ford dealers, they don’t void the car’s warranty and the shiny new bits come with a year’s warranty of their own.
The performance stage one kit is £1,435 plus fitting, bringing engine power up to 165bhp.
The full-fat stage two kit is £1,838 plus fitting and liberates a full 185bhp from the Fiesta ST’s engine.
Optional extras also include sensational, but expensive, Recaro bucket seats for £1,950 and suspension designed by expert manufacturers KW and optimised at the Nurburgring for £605.
Rally good fun
We don’t see the Fiesta ST Mountune pull into view, we hear it. It is loud, and its rally-inspired exhaust might put some customers off.
And then there are those who will find themselves smiling, as it burbles and pops its way into view. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
The car’s looks are familiarly chunky and subtle, with only a 30mm drop in ride height and a large exhaust tip hinting at something special.
But a quick burst of acceleration lets you know where the money has been spent. The extra power makes itself felt right from the off and puts in a growing presence all the way to its 7000 plus rev limiter.
We were worried the new, lowered KW suspension would make the ride too uncomfortable, but it’s supple, giving the sensation of a direct connection to the road without smashing up your bags of shopping.
As you trust the steering and amazing grip through hairpin corners, you will feel like a budding rally star and wonder if you would be having anymore fun in a sports car worth twice as much.
The great thing about cars like the Fiesta ST185 Mountune is the accessibility of their performance.
Driving quickly and really having fun doesn’t require speed limit busting velocities or hiring out a private track. Its handling is just as rewarding at 30 or 40mph.
The Fiesta ST185 Mountune is a great parting shot for the current Fiesta and the perfect tonic for owners of the current Fiesta ST looking for new thrills – like me.
Model tested: Ford Fiesta 2.0 ST185 Mountune
Date tested: February 2008