The Ford Fiesta Zetec S has been a long-time favourite for buyers wanting a sporty drive without the running costs associated with a top-spec ST hot hatch.
As part of a trim refresh, the Zetec S has been replaced by this – the all-new ST-Line.
Think of it as a Fiesta ST-lite and you won’t go far wrong. The styling, inside and out, is so close to the ST, only the most hardened Ford fans could tell them apart.
But it takes just a short drive to tell it’s a very different machine. What you’ll notice at all speeds is that while the ST- Line has sports suspension, it’s far more pliant than an ST. It’s firmer than Zetec or Titanium models, but could never be described as uncomfortable.
This also makes it more fun than those lesser Fiestas on a winding country road, where it displays good body control and agility. You don’t feel every bump and ripple in the tarmac as you would in a full-bore ST.
The ST-Line range comprises three l.0-litre EcoBoost models, producing 99bhp, 123bhp or 138bhp, as well as a 94bhp 1,5-litre TDCi diesel. We tested the most powerful EcoBoost engine which, like in other versions of the Fiesta, is a stellar performer.
You’re well isolated from the usual three-cylinder vibrations, and at low speeds, the engine is quiet. Wind it past 4,000rpm and it makes itself heard, although it’s more characterful than irritating. There’s also an overboost function that sends torque from 180Nm to 210Nm for short periods. With peak torque coming in at 6,000rpm, it’s easy to end up pushing the engine hard through the precise five-speed manual box. It misses out on the sixth ratio you’ll find in the ST and ST200, though, which can prove tiresome on longer motorway journeys.
Our test car was fitted with a range of options including heated front seats (£175) and Ford’s Navigation System (£400), but out of the box, it still comes well equipped. Standard kit includes sports seats, a Quickclear heated windscreen, air-con and a DAB radio with a 4.2-inch screen, SYNC and Bluetooth connectivity.
And so it should. The ST-Line range starts at more than £16,000, but choosing Five doors and the 138bhp EcoBoost engine as tested here pushes the price to £17,195. That’s just £700 less than an entry-level Ford Fiesta ST-1.
Standard kit includes a DAB radio and 4.2 inch screen; sat-nav and heated seats can be added as optional extras
Manual box is a ratio down on ST’s, which you notice when cruising. But ST-Line badging, alloy pedals and sports seats give cabin a racy boost
Boot has the same decent 290-litre space as other Fiestas, or 974 litres with seats folded down.
And with seats up, rear space is adequate
THE Ford Fiesta ST-Line is the new name for the Zetec S. That means you get the look of the full-fat Fiesta ST without the high running costs and the firm ride. As an everyday sporty hatchback, the Fiesta ST-Line is a superb companion, but it doesn’t come cheap. Still, the ST-Line provides plenty of appeal for young drivers seeking car park kudos.
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62 mph: 9.0 seconds
Top speed: 125mph
On sale: Now