The ST-Line has been added to the Fiesta range and is inspired by the ST. We drove Ford’s latest to see what’s what
What do we have here?
Ford’s latest Fiesta has been on sale since 2008, that’s a lifetime run of eight years, which in any modern car, let alone a supermini, is almost unheard of.
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the first ever Fiesta and eight-generations later, it’s as popular as ever. Throughout the eight years of this model's life, it has remained the top-selling car in the UK, each and every year.
An announcement on an all-new Fiesta is due by the end of the year but for now, we have been treated to a new ST-Line trim level. It replaces the Zetec-S trim and is inspired by the popular ST version.
Available in either three or five-door body styles, the Fiesta ST-Line gets sports suspension, unique bodykit, 17in grey alloy wheels, deep side skirts, front bumper spoiler, rear diffuser and a large rear roof mounted spoiler.
Inside, you’ll find a set of front sports seats with red stitching, perforated leather steering wheel with contrasting grey stitching, ST-Line scuff plates and an ST-style gear knob.
There are four engines to pick from, three of which are from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol with outputs of 99bhp, 123bhp or 138bhp. The final engine is a 1.5-litre diesel with 94bhp. All of which come with a manual five-speed gearbox.
We’re testing the most powerful 1.0 Ecoboost 138bhp engine in five-door form.
How does it drive?
The task of replacing the current Fiesta is a nightmare for Ford. That’s because it’s such a brilliant car to drive.
It handles with finesse and poise, but despite its small size it never feels lightweight. There’s little to no body roll, yet it still manages to soak up the road's lumps and bumps to give you a comfortable ride.
The steering is brilliantly weighted and it turns in with gusto. You’ll rarely want for more grip as the Fiesta and tarmac feel inseparable.
Under the bonnet, the engine sings a happy tune. It’s willing to be pummelled and thrashed, offering a rorty and gutsy soundtrack to accompany your endeavours.
It’ll rev hard to the limiter, providing a smooth and consistent power surge. It feels quick enough, in an “I have everything you’ll ever need” way. There’s also a refreshing lack of torque steer.
The five-speed gearbox is sweet, with a short accurate throw which makes flicking between cogs an absolute joy.
If there is a downside, then the Fiesta does have a little too much tyre and suspension noise.
What's it like inside?
Feeling it’s age. It’s still neatly designed but the once modern dash that was modelled on the look of a mobile phone, so had loads of buttons, is now obsolete. Ford can’t even squeeze a proper sat-nav screen in.
Generally, the plastics are hard to touch but feel robust. Storage is limited to a small central storage bin, small glove box, however the small door bins offer some salvation for your belongings.
There’s enough room up front and the seats are comfortable and supportive, while visibility out is good.
In the rear, knee and leg room is tight but headroom is decent.
The boot is small with some side storage compartments but nothing under the floor. It should take the weekly grocery shop, though.
With a small 1.0-litre engine, the Fiesta is clean and economical. On a combined cycle, it’ll return 62.8mpg and emit just 104g/km of CO2.
That mean that a year road tax costs £20 while company car drivers face a 17% BIK tax banding.
A set of Pirelli P Zero Nero tyres would set you back around £330.
The ST-Line gets a 15E-T1 insurance grouping.
Ford Protect Classic Plan Warranty covers the car for three years/60,000 miles, whichever comes first and you get one-year roadside assistance which covers the UK and throughout Europe.
You can pay to extend the warranty to four years/80,000 miles or five years/100,000 miles for £150 and £260, respectively.
Service plans are also available covering either two or three years and cost £340 and £550, respectively.
The Fiesta ST-Line is so perfectly judged, it’s a shame it won’t be with us for longer before the current model gets replaced.
It’s brilliant and entertaining to drive, quick, comfortable to be in and reasonably cheap to run.
It provides 90% of the thrills of the ST but without the running costs. The ST-Line sits in an insurance bracket that is half that of the ST, ekes out an extra 14mpg, emits less CO2 and is £800 cheaper to buy.
There’s little else that’s more fun per pound than the Fiesta ST-Line.
Driver's Seat Rating:
4 out of 5
It's worth considering:
2016 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost ST-Line manual five-door Stats: