Driven Review on the Ford Fiesta ST200
Ford celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Fiesta and what better way to send off the Mk7 Fiesta than with something really special? Say hello to the new Fiesta ST200. Only 160 units of these are coming to South Africa so it is going to be rare to see one. Nonetheless, Ford has already revealed the new ST overseas, so at least we know we won’t be waiting almost 5 years for the ST after the launch of the standard Fiesta, as we did with the Mk7 Fiesta ST.
Of course, this is a more powerful version of the outgoing Fiesta ST. In fact, this is the most powerful Fiesta Ford has ever built. The normal ST already has the ability to set excite, with its thrilling dynamics and cheeky performance figures. Things get even better as the ST200 produces 149 kW and 290 N.m in a car the size of a toddlers shoe. These numbers are impressive, considering the size of the car, so much so the top speed has been limited to 230 km/h,.
The result? An authentic hot hatch experience. Ford hasn’t strayed from the classic recipe of the ST, so it still gives you the thrills you want. The car feels more alive and in the bends, it doesn’t have any signs of a struggling front-end due to more power and torque. During brisk pull-offs, the overboost function comes in handy with an additional 11 kW and 30 N.m of torque on the last set of gears, so all-in-all, a whopping 160 kW and 320 N.m is produced. Ford also took the liberty of improving the final drive ratio from 3.82 to 4.06, so that the car can make the most out of the extra power. For those that don’t know what that means, this then shortens the gear changes and improves in-gear acceleration. It’s even quicker off the line, getting to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.
Ford has also worked on the damping of this new ST200, so it’s way more forgiving than the normal ST. It has relaxed dampers and an added new rear twist beam so it’s now even easier to live with, as the ride is not as harsh as it used to be. It is however still stiff enough for when you want to give it the “full beans”. The way the car puts its power down is great, the torque vectoring trickery that Ford uses is still brilliant. After exiting any corner the power is right behind you, to pull you out of any messy situation. The steering is also ever so sharp, the accuracy of it as well as the power delivery works hand well to give the an engaging experience that makes you smile. Overall the car provides accessible performance whilst maintaining the visceral elements you desire in a compact hot hatch.
Interior wise, nothing much has changed, but Ford has added a few leather patches on the Recaro heated seats. However, my precious mother battled to fit in the bucket seats and as a result sat on the seat and not in it. The fascia remains the same and the display screen is still quite small. This can be forgiven because this is not a new car, it’s the last hoorah of this generation, so we can only expect an updated cabin in the following ST. Exterior bits include a rather nice looking storm grey paint finish, black 17-inch alloy wheels added to the already standard Fiesta ST go-faster/boy racer looks, completed with an ST200 badge in the rear.
This ST is arguably one of the best cars in its segment and it has been outdone by this final iteration. This car also offers great value for money with a price tag of R339 900. The current Fiesta was the one we waited for in this segment, previous models models were never the best of the bunch but the mk7 proved sceptics wrong. The ST200 then is a brilliant way to bid farewell, may the next one keep it up.